Don’t worry about all those other worlds
Prime World Defenders is basically a tower defense game. While we were flooded with them a couple of years ago, that’s died down and only the real gems have survived. Defense Grid, Plants Vs Zombies, Anomaly; they’re the games that have stood out whether due to their quality or originality, while hundreds of others have drifted into obscurity. Prime World Defenders goes after the Defense Grid path of making a really solid game, without too many gimmicks or twists.
Set in a fantasy vaguely medieval/steampunk style world, there is a story to the game and as you play through levels you occasionally come up against named enemies or specific rules linked to what’s happening in the story. It’s typical fantasy fair but it does move you nicely on from level to level, and even opens up a bit like an RPG to offer sidequests with their bonuses so you can prepare for the main story. There’s even some cheesy but entertaining cut-scenes to tell the tale.
As you play you gain a number of resources and cards which enable you to build towers. Once you unlock a tower by receiving the card you can then put this into your deck to use in the level. Of course on repeated playthroughs in levels you know exactly what to put in your deck but it’s an interesting choice as you end up with four or five really useful towers and when you have to face a mix of enemies choosing which ones to leave behind can be daunting.
Not only do you unlock cards but you can use the aforementioned resources and the cards themselves to level up each tower. You can sacrifice cards to make towers more powerful or even create new towers, and then you can unlock the higher levels of each card, that you can then spend resources on in-game. It sounds fairly complicated and truth be told it is at firs,t but you quickly get accustomed to it and relish the chance to make each tower more powerful.
The only downside with this mechanic is that you can fairly quickly get overpowered with towers, particularly if you spend any time on the repeatable side-missions. I ended up with one tower that could attack targets on land or in the air that was so strong I rarely needed to use anything else.If you don’t go down the path of grinding to improve your towers you’ll find the game quite challenging and the temptations of bonus rewards for completing each mission under certain conditions (such as only using one of the most useful tower) can lead to real difficulties.
The monster design is fairly uninspired and it’s clear that developers are running out of ideas when it comes to the tower defense genre. It’s easy to compare each enemy type to one you’ve seen before, and you’ll quickly realise which towers you need to combat that attack. Similarly, tactics that worked well in other games are bound to work well here, and you’ll find yourself hunting for specific tower types (and you’ll find them) then you can put those plans into action.
If you’re new to the genre, this is a great game to start with. The card collecting is compelling, there’s enough missions and towers to last you hours and hours, the UI is streamlined and allows you to speed things up and the graphics are nice enough to to keep you happy. If you’re a veteran of the genre though there’s not much on offer here. If you’re a completionist you’ll get kicks out of the cards and if you’re really into fantasy it’s nice to play a tower defense in that setting, but Defense Grid has done much of the core gameplay in a much more engaging and visually impressive way.
At £11.99 currently, it’s not a huge amount of money, and you’ll easily get your money’s worth, but do be aware there are some better options for less.