Archive for May, 2010

“Sol Survivor” Review

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 | Percy Olsen

Paul Dohmen, Cadenza Reporter

First things first, I need to give a shout out to the name of “Sol Survivor”’s developer, Cadenza Interactive. Excellent name, guys – now on to the review.

“Sol Survivor” is a tower defense game. For the uninitiated, the game involves building towers that shoot some sort of missile as enemies stream down a set path towards some objective that you would rather them not reach. The genre was made famous by numerous free flash games, as well as being popular user-created custom maps in “Warcraft 3.”

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much when I first started the game. Tower defense, but I’m supposed to pay for it? Yeah, right – I can just open “Bloons Tower Defense 4” in my browser for free. Man, was I in for a surprise.

First off, I was not expecting an actual story line. It‘s nothing spectacular, but it is easy to see that they did actually spend some time. Yes, your colony is being invaded and you have to defend it, but you’re given a considerable amount of background to the action. Learning about the economic, social and military benefits about each piece of land brings you closer to the game. Instead of just defending a meaningless stretch of nothing, you feel as if you’re actually saving a human colony from a relentless threat. Everyone else around you is failing, yet you still pull off victories nobody else can. One person has been saving the world in video games for forever, and here it’s still satisfying as ever.

There are two things that made “Sol Survivor” stand out to me. First off, I actually learned something from playing a tower defense game. Weird, right? The game has a general system in which each general has his own set of turrets and defense systems, and you only have access to certain generals on each planet. Now, I’m the type of guy who just places shotguns everywhere and blasts the crap out of everything, but the game didn’t always give me that choice. I actually had to come up with different strategies for each planet that had to be defended. While I was mad at first, I eventually realized that I was enjoying myself even more as I had to develop an entirely new strategy for each planet. Gone is the standard, “Hey, this one tower is overpowered, so if I’ll build it a bunch of times and win!” Instead, “Sol Survivor” forces the player to adapt to each mission.

The other thing that pleasantly surprised me was the player-controlled items, which can be deployed in addition to your automatic defense towers. [YMY1] Each general has access to six different types of player-controlled items, all of which make a difference on the battlefield. From lasers to mech-eating drones to an all-powerful nuke, “Sol Survivor” has it all. You can get by on the easier levels without using the player-controlled items, but they eventually become a necessity in surviving an onslaught. “Sol Survivor” really nails this aspect of the game, and as a result the game is much more dynamic and involved. It’s a huge improvement over most tower defense games I’ve played, which usually devolve into building towers and waiting. Each mission is a constant battle, and your eyes will be glued to the computer screen just in case one enemy mech manages to slip by.

I should also mention that this game has several multiplayer modes, including a co-op mode in which one person builds towers and another uses the player-controlled items. Though it doesn’t allow for both players to build towers, the co-op mode adds a whole new level to the game and is quite exciting. For the competitive player, there is also a mode that sees two teams of four players trying to outlast the other as both teams spend resources to build towers and send enemies.

Multiplayer is rounded out with survival, in which enemies pour out in ever increasing waves. You eventually run out of places to build, making it all the more interesting, and the volume of enemies thrown at you deep into a game of survival is enough to make any commander lose his wits. An added bonus is that the developers play their own game, so you may even end up playing a round with one of the game’s creators.

Would I recommend buying this game with its $10 price? If you’ve ever played a tower defense game and received even the smallest bit of enjoyment then, by all means, yes. Ten dollars for a great tower defense game like this is well worth it. And besides, you can take pleasure in supporting an independent developer, especially one named Cadenza Interactive.

4 stars out of 5