Posted: June 7, 2013
Update: Offline mode has been implemented.
Prime World: Defenders is a challenging tower defense with card collecting and rpg elements, where the story is told through comic book art sequences with full voice acting. 23 repeatable story levels, as well as randomized levels for grinding, are laid out on an overworld map. When you play a level you’ll have a rotatable, zoomable and pannable isometric view of towers and enemies. Towers cost “prime” to build and upgrade, and you only begin levels with a small amount. Killing enemies will earn you more prime, as will summoning additional waves of enemies before they’re due--though in many cases this will increase the difficulty and possibly overwhelm you. Where towers can be placed on the field there are sometimes helpful anomalies which increase their range, power or firing rate. There is also a handy toggle for 2x battle speed.
Towers and spells in the game are represented by reusable cards in your inventory, and you can only carry a set number with you into battle. You can see which enemy types populate a map before you enter so you know how to build your deck. There are towers for both land and air enemies, invisibility detection, snaring, poison, fire, mortar and more. Destructible towers which buff or heal the enemy may also exist within levels.
Spells don’t cost prime but are instead on a timer, and consist of targetable AoEs which snare, stun, reveal invisible enemies and/or do flat damage. Spell and tower cards can be combined with other cards in the forge to level them up--increasing their base damage, range and/or secondary effect intensity--and tower cards can be combined with their duplicates to make the towers upgradeable to tier II and tier III during battle, doubling and quadrupling their damage respectively.
Currency is awarded after battle and can be used to unlock talents for your hero, purchase cards from the store and pay for forging costs. Each story map you complete will earn you 1-3 stars as well, depending on your performance. These stars can be used to unlock high level talents and purchase rare cards. You’ll also be numerically scored on every story map depending on how much damage you take and the amount of prime you have left over at the end, and these scores can be compared with friends’ for each map. You’re also given a total game score which can be compared both globally and with friends’ on the leaderboards.
The difficulty can be frustrating and requires some grinding before bosses, but it tends to be a gear check rather than a matter of skill. Everything about Prime World: Defenders is surprisingly solid for a title that came out of nowhere, and that’s even considering my time with the game was mostly in its beta state and the fact I am not remotely a fan of tower defense.