Sometimes a game just slips under the radar. Whatever the reason for this occurring, be it bad marketing, classification problems or a strange concept, some games just fail to find their audience. Here at Player2.net.au, we want to highlight these rough gems and that is where “In Case You Missed It” comes in. Some games just deserve a second chance.
In Case You Missed It – Orcs Must Die 1 & 2
A few years ago Tower Defence games were all the rage. It seemed like there wasn’t a week that went by without another TD game being released on Steam or mobile platforms. The best of the genre, games such as Defence Grid and Plants vs Zombies, even had console releases but essentially they were all the same game. But there was one TD game released that did things just that little bit differently. It took the basic premise of the genre, added 3rd person combat, an entertaining story and a healthy dose of humour to create something familiar yet unique. That game was Orcs Must Die and it sauntered onto our screens, unaware of its future status as a cult hit.
The basic premise of the game was the same as any Tower Defence game before it. Players had to use traps and gadgets to keep waves of enemies from reaching the end goal. Where it differed, however, was that players were no longer in control of some ambiguous god figure, planning intricate death tunnels to funnel enemies through with a birds-eye view of the battlefield. In Orcs Must Die players were in the thick of the action, taking control of a bumbling Orc hunter in a third person perspective. This allowed players to not only mow down hordes with flaming arrow traps but to take a direct hand in the action with a variety of weapons and spells. This small change not only enabled players to get up close and personal in the Orc slaying mayhem but it also allowed for new tactics and strategies that weren’t available in traditional TD games.
Perhaps the most memorable thing about Orcs Must Die 1 and 2, however, was the entertaining story, something that is normally an afterthought for the genre. The first game focused on the training of a bumbling apprentice taking over the protection of the realms from Orc invasion after his master passed away. The second game saw the chief antagonist from the first game team up this awkward hero to face a new threat, also allowing for co-op play. Shakespeare, it was not, but it was a solid story told with sparkling wit, excellent voice acting and its tongue planted firmly in its cheek. It really was worth finishing the game just to find out what happened.
Along with the 3rd person action and cool story Orcs Must Die included all the things you would expect from the genre. Online leaderboards, star ratings (or skull ratings as the case may be) for level completions and upgradable traps and gadgets. All of this combined with some great level design and the aforementioned unique features made Orcs Must Die and its sequel stand out from an increasingly crowded pack.
Orcs Must Die 1 & 2 can quite often be purchased on Steam for next to nothing and it usually comes with a host of excellent DLC that only adds more fun to proceedings. A third game in the series is planned but it is moving away from the Tower Defence genre and into MOBA territory. While this is potentially exciting it is hard not to be sad that Orcs Must Die is moving away from what made it great in the first place. If you are looking for a game that can be played in short spurts and will run on almost any computer, a game that has a great sense of humour or just an excellent example of the Tower Defence genre then grab your Blunderbuss, set some spike traps and ready the archers because Orcs Must Die is for you.