Making its way from IOS to XBLA Defenders of Ardania combines the tower defense genre with RTS elements to make you play both offensively and defensibly at the same time. You must defend your castle (I mean castles always have princesses in them right?) while trying to take down the enemies castle in the process.
Visuals: The game has some gorgeous visuals that go great with the fantasy world of Majesty that it is set within. The colors are crisp and it is rather enjoyable to use the zoomed in view so that you can really see all the details of the environments.
Audio: While the music itself isn’t anything new but it works well with the fantasy setting. It brought the feeling of being in a different time and distant land to life. Your guide through the game will be the main voice that you hear and some might find it annoying but I enjoyed it. The voice actor for this character seems like he went in and was trying to pull off his best Sean Connery impression and it made me smile many times while he was telling me what to do.
RTS Elements: Like many RTS games you can select what race you would like to play as and battle other players in multiplayer. The multiplayer has you going head to head with up to three other players while working to manage your resources, lay down proper towers, send out the right units, and watching your castles health. Adding these twists to the normal tower defense genre makes for some exciting battles.
Going on the Offensive: Towers are your main line of defense in Defenders of Ardania but this game has more to it than placing towers and watching enemies die near them. If you wish to win your matches then you will have to play the offensive as well by sending out squads of units to destroy your opponent’s castle. These units have different abilities and will move at different speeds, so you will have to use strategy to make sure they work together to make it to their destination. While on the way to their destination your units will sometimes help your towers attack enemies if they cross their path (which you can change) this is useful in later levels as some boss type units will need all of your firepower. Adding offensive capabilities to a mostly defensive genre is an interesting move that works well for the game.
Price: The game has a price point of 1200 MSP which is a little steep even though it is a fun experience. The IOS version of the game is five dollars and I feel that the game would be a much better package at 800 MSP. It does have upgraded HD graphics with some other tweaks but I don’t feel that it warrants the full fifteen dollar price point.
Learning Curve: The game does explain the RTS and offensive elements but it still takes a bit of getting used to. After the first couple of levels the difficulty increases and you will have to learn quick to survive. I feel that there should have been a separate set of missions you could play that would help you get used to it a little more before the challenge increased.
Slow Down: While it didn’t happen all the time there were a few instances when there was many different things going on that the game would lag or slow down. I’m sure that this could easily be fixed in an update and would make it run a little smoother.
Defenders of Ardania offers new unique elements to the tower defense genre that work really well. Once used to it you can pick up and play a few levels without having to devote large amounts of time to it. The fifteen dollar price point may turn some people off but I would suggest you at least try it out. There is always the option of buying when it goes on sale because it has some unique additions to gameplay that any fan should check out. I hope some other tower defense games pick up on this type of gameplay; we could even end up with a whole group of games in a sub-genre of tower offense.