11 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 5.4 hrs on record (4.9 hrs at review time)
Posted: Dec 1, 2023 @ 3:59am
Updated: Jan 21 @ 11:06pm
Product received for free

Early Access Review
How do you keep a demon lord away? Exorcise regularly.

Story:
For over a century, the world has been at peace. Demonkind and humankind have co-existed in peace. Suddenly, the Demon Lord declared war and began a full assault on humanity. All anyone could do was fight to survive. The question still remains: Why did the Demon Lord attack? Leena and her friends are the ones who have to defend the All-Girls school of Magic.

Game Mechanic:
By placing Leena and her friends on some sort of chess board grid, the battles commence. Wave after wave and each level and map is getting progressively harder. With different monsters, demons and animals trying to infiltrate the school. Leena and friends can be leveled up unlocking more HP and DPS. On a later map, some grid parts are marked with an X, meaning you can not place any characters there. This means you need to start thinking very tactically. At times, you figure out what to do with a level, after losing a couple of times and restarting. You unlock all kinds of other tools to help you win the battles as well, like a barrier, spikes, aerial defense, bufie DPS booster and even portals. All tools can be upgraded as well, making them even more powerful.

The game does warn in what row the waves will be coming from the upcoming round by using an arrow at the end of the row. So placing your characters strategically is very important, making it also a challenge to save up some money, in order to defend yourself in the next round. This is probably the reason why this game requires a lot of retrying levels. Some creatures drop random loot that give you extra gold, which you can use to upgrade your troops. A fast way to pick up loot that is dropped by monsters is by hoovering over it with your mousepointer. Another handy feature is that you can change the combat speed x2.

Different Characters:
- Leena the MC of the story. You can only place one on the board.
- Warriors will unleash sword attacks in the form of a wave slash that can hit 3 lanes. They have medium DPS but high HP.
- Strikers will attack anything up to 2 cells away from them. Very high DPS but low HP.
- Clerics will heal anything one cell to their right and themselves. Place them behind your melee DPS for the best results.
- Casters have an infinite range in one row. Put them far back and level these up for high DPS output.
- Archers arrows have high DPS AoE in one row, but have limited range.

Different Tools:
- The barriers block enemies from progressing.
- Spikes gradually damages enemies that walk over this.
- Bufie increases adjacent units attack by 50%.
- Pellet rapid anti-air shooter. You need these for aerial attacks.
- Portal, diverts enemies to another row.
And many more.

Graphics and Sound:
The visual novel part of the game has decent graphics with mediocre characters. The face structures, eyebrows and facial expressions of the characters are very similar. Making the visual novel part of this game a tad boring and the least appealing part of the game. The developer created a skip button for your convenience. The tower defense part of the game has pretty basic graphics which remind me of the golden 16-bit games, combined with the retro music and sound effects making this the best feature.

Bugs and annoyances:
- Encountered a rare bug where placing a warrior and cleric resulted in one monster not being hit by the warrior, creating an infinite loop of combat. Unable to access the menu during combat, the only solution was to use ALT+F4 to exit the game (this has been fixed)
- Steam overlay button was ineffective for taking screenshots.
- Frustration arose when unable to adjust the game speed to x2 during the last wave of a level or during an aerial wave. This limitation feels unnecessary, hindering replayability after completing a level once.
- Post-combat, the upgrade phase lacks information on unit health, making it challenging to assess whether to replace a low-health barrier. Hoping for a future implementation of this feature.

Anticipated features for the future:
- Incorporation of increased speeds
- Accessibility to menus during the combat phase
- Display of a health bar for units
- Ability for players to revisit the story after completing combat

Verdict:
A enjoyable tower defense game with a distinctive incorporation of Visual Novel elements. I strongly recommend it for tower defense enthusiasts. It provided me with enjoyable evenings as I devised creative strategies to conquer various waves and levels. However, if you're not particularly interested in tower defense, the Visual Novel aspect is a minor component and can't be skipped.
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"Early Access Update 1: A Promising Step Forward in Balancing Gameplay"

As an avid player eagerly diving into the realms of this promising game, the recent early access update brings about a wave of fine-tuning that hints at even grander things to come.

While this early access update might seem modest in scale, its impact resonates deeply within the intricate fabric of gameplay. With each adjustment and addition, the game inches closer to a harmonious blend of challenge and reward, setting the stage for an exciting journey ahead. As the game evolves, this update serves as a promising testament to the developers' dedication to crafting an experience that resonates with its player community.

Otome Lovers wishes to thank GameDevTosh for providing a free review copy of this game

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Developer response:
GameDevTosh  [developer] Posted: Dec 1, 2023 @ 7:43am
Thank you for the review and the bug report! The bug in question was fixed and patched with v0.1.5.9 (the very first early access version) right before release, so thank you for catching it! I will definitely take all of these suggestions into consideration.
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