Have you ever played a game where you are so indifferent to its existence that you forget you ever played it or that you even own it? It’s a little like this with Orcs Must Die. Not a bad game by any means, just not at all memorable either.
Following the recent trend of third-person tower defense games, Orcs Must Die brings lots of colour, traps and orcs to an otherwise fairly mundane genre in my opinion. There’s no writing awards here as the game follows a standard storyline of a solo-surviving apprentice who must protect all the rifts from the wretched orcs.
The apprentice is humorous for about the first hour with the one-liners that he quips, but after that it just gets tiresome and irritating.
An outstanding part of the game, which is lucky because it is arguably the most important, are the abundance of choice in traps. There are lots, and they are all a lot of fun to experiment with. You have a spell book in which you can only choose a certain amount of traps (or weapons) per dungeon.
Speaking of dungeons they have done a good job of making the surrounding environment important. For example, when a bunch of orcs swarm, you can herd them towards a pit of lava and use a magic belt to push them into said lava. Conversely, there will be times when you make the rookie error of having them corner you into into the same fatal lava.
It’s disappointing that there was no multiplayer mode as it would have been ten times more enjoyable if I had friends to strategize, plot and play with. The leaderboards seemed like the second best thing; you were able to see how your friends were doing. This did add a lot more replayability to it as I wanted to go back and try improve on my times.
There is a reward too for the Orc-killing enthusiasts who manage to beat all 23 levels in normal mode – the unlocking of Nightmare mode. This gives the player no time to prepare for waves before a dungeon begins.
Speaking of difficulty however, I found this game increased in difficulty, dramatically putting me off the game entirely after only three or four dungeons. Your weapons and traps simply don’t have the upgrades to match the Orcs at this stage and does require a large amount of patience to get past this point. I would imagine it would be even more frustrating for a player unfamiliar with third-person tower defence games as it would be a huge learning curve.
I may seem a little harsh towards this game but in essence, if it wasn’t for this review I probably would not have played it as much as I did. While the range of traps is nice, it’s not enough to lure me in for hours on end. It’s no fun coming up with awesome strategies alone and in the end I wish I could play as an Orc because at least they were always surrounded by friends.