Review: Medieval Defenders (PSV)

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Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible No
Title: Medieval Defenders
Format: PlayStation Network Download (79.5 MB)
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: 8Floor ltd
Developer: 8Floor ltd
Original MSRP: $5.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
Medieval Defenders is also available on PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Android.
The PlayStation Vita download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Tower defense games hold a special place in my gaming heart because I have dumped a ton of hours in various tower defense games from PixelJunk Monsters and Comet Crash on the PlayStation 3 to Plants Vs. Zombies on Mobile, each game with a completely different look and feel from the next. So when the chance to review the newest tower defense game on the PlayStation Vita arrived I jumped on it without looking into the game.

Medieval Defenders is a tower defense game with a medieval art style. The base you are defending is a castle and your enemies are waves of various knights, wizards, and old timey contraptions. The game does not do a lot of unique things to make it completely stand out from other games in the genre, but what it does manage to do is be a competent game and a good starting entry to the genre.

Variety is the key to a tower defense game’s replayability and Medieval Defenders does an average job at that. The game does not have a lot of base towers because after you unlock all of them you are limited to four different types that have their own specific strengths for taking down specific enemies. The towers can be fully upgraded and then branched off into two different types. The enemies vary from run of the mill easy knights to slower harder to kill knights. The airborne enemies share the same characteristics as the ground enemies.

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The way Medieval Defenders helps find its own identity is with its special spell attacks. These spell attacks are special weapons at your disposal like raining rocks from the sky down on your enemies or surrounding them by a cloud of poison. This element is important to the strategy of the game since the towers lack differences between them and these spells help in battle the harder the game gets. It took a while to get used to using them because most tower defense games rely on their towers for defeating foes, but here, learning which spells to call to help your tower setup becomes vital.

… microtransactions make the game feel a little gross …
Waves of enemies travel on set paths and move at a various speeds. The maps are designed with a decent amount of variety. The path designs change up at a nice rate to keep things fresh, with a portion of the levels having multiple entry points for enemies. A nice feature is a pause and fast forward ability. Pausing helps you strategize when things become overwhelming and fast forwarding helps when the enemies are moving sluggish or you have complete confidence in your defense setup. Both are much appreciated features and are very useful.

To build towers you need gold which is found by killing the waves of foes attacking you. The gold drops come at reasonable rates, but gold levels are reset with each level so you are always starting from scratch. Enemies drop enough though so lack of gold never really became an issue for me.

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What does carry from level to level is the “Elixir” currency which is earned by completing levels. Elixir is used to upgrade a tower’s efficiency, a spell’s efficiency and your castle’s HP level. Elixir earned per level is pretty low if you plan to upgrade everything to the max level because everything becomes more expensive the more you upgrade it. And to add some cheapness to the experience is the game blocking off tower building points unless you spend some Elixir. A couple levels can have one or two points blocked off meaning you are going to spend whatever you may earn for completing the level.

This would then bring us to the game’s microtransactions. The game sells Elixir in packs that range from a couple dollars to twenty dollars for what equates to more Elixir than one would ever need to complete the game a couple times. The game will also allow you to buy your way out of failure when your castle is destroyed for a dollar. The microtransactions make the game feel a little gross when you look at them, but if you are willing to do a little grinding their impact on the game does not seem vital especially for the first three quarters of the game.

… a good introduction to newcomers of the genre …
Visuals:
Medieval Defenders is a bright and colorful game. The character designs are in the cutesy realm and the the world follows suit. It’s a light-hearted affair and the artwork reflects that. One negative I will say is the camera’s viewpoint of the action due to it being set a little too far back.

The map designs are sort of big and the game fits everything into the Vita’s screen so it can be difficult to make out the tower upgrades because they are shown in tiny bubbles that you have to tap with your finger. A problem that arises sometimes is that the bubbles can be hard to make out in the environment. This is an unfortunate problem and can on occasion be downright annoying when trying to build towers.

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Audio:
There is not much happening in the soundtrack of the game but the music fits the visual design. It’s light and cheerful and it never sounded repetitive. The audio complements the action nicely but does not stand on its own. Sometimes the best soundtrack is the one that you do not notice.

Online/Multiplayer:
This is a single player game only with no online component.

Conclusion:
If you are a tower defense veteran then first three quarters of the game will be a breeze before there is some form of challenge so Medieval Defenders may be meant as a good introduction to newcomers of the genre. The microtransactions will be a temptation for newcomers though which is unfortunate due to the game always offering you the ability to buy a way out of a failure.

Microtransactions are not a requirement to get through the game but if someone finds themselves hitting a wall they will become annoying. There is not much in terms of variety which hurts the game. Once the game is complete there will not be much reason to replay it trying different strategies because of the lack of variety. Medieval Defenders is an entertaining game, but it lacks the depth of other tower defense games.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature.

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