Steam Greenlight
Psycho Sep 13, 2012 @ 8:48pm
[Review] Immortal Defense
This thread has been deprecated to the game's discussion forum, for up-to-date discussion, please see this thread

Well, I 'beat' Greenlight so now I am going back and taking a closer look at some of the games. As RPGCreations is such a nice, cool guy in the forums and has humbly and steadfastly refused to pimp his own work on the forums, I decided to do it for him!

When I first saw this, I thought, "tower defence, on bezier curves with vector graphics, glow and trippy effects. Whatever." Videos are a bit confusing and don't really illustrate how the game works. Yes, it's tower defence, so if that's a deal breaker, you better vote down and move on.

...but wait, there's more! It's not 'just another' tower defence game, there's more here than the generic copies strewn across the internet.

The rationale for the action is a high-science-fiction storyline which feels inspired by the work of Piers Anthony's "Incarnations", Peter Hamilton's "Night's Dawn", Dan Simmons' "Hyperion" or Anne McCaffrey's "Tower" series'. While I cannot truthfully say with a straight face it matches those great works, it has a similar feel, and as a fan of the above I am quite enjoying it and think other fans would also. It's got many elements of new space opera[], but without the cheesiness of early opera like E.E. Smith. I'm not sure if there is branching in the story, and how much impact the player's choices have (if any) but it is nice to see it develop, and I'm intrigued to find out how it turns out.

Graphics are a combination of trippy overlaying shaders in combat, and a fairly retro (almost Captain Blood[]-inspired interface. The UI was a bit off-putting at first with it's off-kilter style, but then I accepted it's unusualness as perhaps a bit of a French-style influence, just as with Captain Blood. It's functional and suports the main part of the game. Word-by-word printing text with console-style audio subvocalisation kind of annoys me (I'm a speed reader so would prefer pages of text) but it's okay and conveys the impression of a dialogue, or monologue as is more common.

Combat is far more frantic and dynamic than the usual TD fare. None of this sitting back in the chair and lazily clicking towers at your leisure. The game is paced fairly quickly, and you will be flat out placing 'towers' (psionic traps called Points), upgrading them in real-time, attacking and using special powers. It's a mix of arcade shooter and tower defence, and you will need to do both to succeed. The 'creeps' (Bavakh spaceships travelling through hyperspace) move fairly quickly, and are varied, so you will need to be on your metaphysical toes to stop the invasion. At times the action became so frantic and outrageous I lost the cursor and couldn't figure out what was happening.

You get credits for defeating waves, which also need to be spent on powers, points and upgrades in real time, so you need to strategise spending to balance making the stage easy against how much you will earn, and how much to save for future stages. If you want a furious, futuristic defence game, this is it.

Audio is solid through combat and while some of the UI control audio feedback in menus, is a little harsh, works okay. Music is stirring and varied, and it suits the tempo and theme of the game at the time. I would have liked some space[] music[] or perhaps some Jean Michel Jarre-style stuff but that's my pesonal preference - the music is fine.

During the menu story part, there's a very old ragtime/jazz(?) song which kind of jars badly with the overall futuristic theme. I believe the author has chosen to highlight the dramatic difference in time scale from the protagonist's point of view, their increasing alienation from their peers, and sense of inevitable loss and social dysfunction. It's not too obstrusive, and only appears while reading the backstory.

There was too much happening on screen to process, but it looks a lot like you level up in skills automatically as you progress and there's certain stage achievements you can get for doing particularly well. I'm not sure if these are permanent or temporary. So there's a kind of RPG aspect to it as well.

Nitpicks: Didn't like the serif font over the pseudo-monitor static background for story parts, it should be plain background for legibility. The all-caps massive scroller that appears on the bottom of the mission screen with congratulations or encouragment is a bit overdone. It's sometimes annoying trying to time special powers vs point management, but I guess that's the heart of the game. I feel the special power needs some sort of audio feedback or more animated feedback (change of colour?) to let you know when it's ready, as I prematured lots with it thinking it was ready and failed, wasting valuable milliseconds.

All in all, I quite enjoyed the demo (one-third of the whole game) and converted my downvote into an upvote, if only to get the rest of the story.

I invite RPGCreations to speak more about his work, or to clarify or correct what I have said above.
Last edited by Psycho; Oct 29, 2012 @ 5:02pm
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Showing 1-15 of 18 comments
SpellSword Sep 15, 2012 @ 5:26am 
Excellent review!
Rock on Sgt.Psycho! ^_^

I've already given this game my vote and highly encourage anyone who enjoys the 'Tower Defence' genre or games with interesting plots to do the same.
Last edited by SpellSword; Sep 15, 2012 @ 5:27am
Pathborn Sep 15, 2012 @ 4:32pm 
thanks for the review; to briefly address the points:

- there's no branching in the story per se, but there is a "hidden" secondary ending, as well as another way to beat the game besides completing it (i don't want to say more here since it'd be a spoiler).

- i feel the story doesn't get good until the third or fourth campaigns, regretfully (since the demo ends about at the point that i feel the story picks up). i'm not sure what to do about that though since a demo that contains 2/3 of the game instead of only 1/3 would be a bit much.

- if i recall, you can click to make it show the text all at once, which avoids the letter by letter thing.

- also if i recall, the different levels of the charge attacks do have audio/visual differences (there are six special attacks, you get access to a new one with each campaign), but they may be too subtle.

- one thing that you didn't mention, but i feel that the balance of the points in v1.1 (the current version of the game) isn't perfect: in particular the circuit point is probably overpowered. if i ever make another patch to the game i'll fix that.

- the game is also sadly locked to 1024x768, maybe i'll make it widescreen in future patches too. but the game came out in 2007 and back then widescreen monitors weren't as dominant as they are now (although that's not that much of an excuse for it).


oh, and here's some codes for the full version of the game (i made 100 of these and am not sure what to do with them so i figure this would be as good a place to post them as any, since SoS did the same thing in the mcpixel thread here):


each should work only once, so first come first serve (hopefully all of these keys will actually be used). to use it you just try to buy the game on , put any price you want, choose credit card and fill in the other info, go to the next page, enter the code, and click the text next to the code's text field, and the price should go to 0.00. please use only one code per person (it's DRM-free anyway so it's not like it benefits you to use more than one). if all 10 of them actually get used i'll post more later.
Last edited by Pathborn; Sep 15, 2012 @ 4:34pm
eva Sep 16, 2012 @ 8:08pm 
Thanks for the code and great review! :) I claimed ID21X3AD4WJMN.
Psycho Sep 16, 2012 @ 10:12pm 
Thanks for clearing up those points I muddied the waters over, RPGCreations.

I was a bit afraid to touch anything, after I played one demo where pressing ESC during any 'storytime' force-quit the game to desktop! :(

I didn't play the demo for long enough to really critique the game balance, only the look and feel and overall first impression. I did notice that power ups (level ups?) seemed to occur depending on how well you did, but I don't know if you can 'train' yourself, i.e.: to specialise in certain areas than others.

I didn't mind the resolution, while a border-to-border experience might be nice, I was more interested in the gameplay. In this is it very different to the usual tower defence games.

Thanks for the codes, I hope your sales exceed your generosity!
Pathborn Sep 17, 2012 @ 1:29am 
by power ups, do you refer to the 'extra/bonus towers'? those you always get, but the specific type you get depends on which tower had the most kills in that level up to that point. those are level-specific and don't affect anything other than that level, it's sort of a way to customize a particular battle or to give leeway for players who prefer particular tower types. it's not really too important.

if you mean the mouse cursor's attack leveling up / getting stronger, that depends on the level number (it's a linear progression i believe; the mouse cursor does more damage the higher the level number, and if you go back and play old levels it'll only do as much damage as it did back then).

it's hard to remember the specifics though, i released that game five years ago, last updated it / worked on it four years ago, and haven't played it through to completion since that last update in 2008, so my memory may be a bit fuzzy.

anyway, if you do finish the game i'd be interesting in hearing your thoughts on the rest of the game (particularly because your forum review here is better / more in-depth than most reviews on actual websites).
Last edited by Pathborn; Sep 17, 2012 @ 1:30am
Psycho Sep 18, 2012 @ 6:03pm 
Yes, I was thinking mostly of the extra towers. You seem to get different ones at different times and I haven't quite figured the logic out yet.

Left-click does indeed dump all text to screen, excellent.

When I was referring to 'levelling up,' yes I meant the cursor's attacks. It's a bit hard to follow what it happening with stats in the stat box as you're frantically maintaining the Points and targeting ships, with text acclamation popouts bouncing around.

Thanks for the compliments on my review guys, but I think it's badly written, poorly structured, apparently inaccurate and needs total revision before it would be anywhere near publishing quality. I just spammed it to the forum in one pass.
redswan Oct 3, 2012 @ 12:58pm 
I played it some years ago and found it VERY good. I greenlighted it and hope to see it on steam soon ;) Good story, original style, entertaining. I played many TD (one of my favorite genres) and again it is VERY good if you can cope with the first impression.
C0untzer0 Oct 3, 2012 @ 1:20pm 
RPG, you say the story takes a while to get good? I've watched Babylon 5!
Pathborn Oct 3, 2012 @ 2:53pm 
Originally posted by C0untzer0:
RPG, you say the story takes a while to get good? I've watched Babylon 5!

i haven't seen babylon 5 -- does that one take a while to get good too?

Originally posted by redswan:
I played it some years ago and found it VERY good. I greenlighted it and hope to see it on steam soon ;) Good story, original style, entertaining. I played many TD (one of my favorite genres) and again it is VERY good if you can cope with the first impression.

C0untzer0 Oct 3, 2012 @ 3:01pm 
The first season of B5 nothing happens, but it lays out the characters and setting, so when it all kicks off you know what they're fighting for.
Psycho Oct 3, 2012 @ 3:16pm 
My limited appreciation of the story was that it got better and better, and this is why I really like this game. So yes, a bit of B5-style storytelling there if you like. Basically you as the main character get thrown into the deep end at the start of an interstellar war, and events unfold from there, as the protagonists and antagonists reveal themselves, their stories and their motivations.

Just as in B5, and in McCaffrey's Tower and Hive sequence, the protagonists struggle with what it means to be simultaneously both more and less than human, suffer god-complexes and there's a very melancholic/classic Tragedy theme about how their supreme sacrifice cuts them off from the rest of their race.
Last edited by Psycho; Oct 3, 2012 @ 3:17pm
Predator8u Oct 4, 2012 @ 1:57am 
greenlight needs more of these posts. I thought this game looked unique myself. thanks OP.
Drakhyrr Oct 28, 2012 @ 7:34am 
I find it a little sad that over a month later, I could still find one unused code (ID21X3AD4UXXH), which I've claimed. Well, I'll keep promoting the game whenever I can. I've only heard good things about it, though I didn't play much of it yet, and I can see the story going in a pretty thought-provoking direction.
C0untzer0 Oct 28, 2012 @ 7:43am 
In my defence, I didn't use the code because I paid for it. with that taken into account, he seems to have judged the amount needed very well.
jeslyck Oct 28, 2012 @ 7:51am 
Originally posted by Drakhyrr:
I find it a little sad that over a month later, I could still find one unused code (ID21X3AD4UXXH), which I've claimed. Well, I'll keep promoting the game whenever I can. I've only heard good things about it, though I didn't play much of it yet, and I can see the story going in a pretty thought-provoking direction.

Not all games are successful on greenlight, but there are so many real problems in the world. I think it puts it in perspective for me, when I get one of those "sad feelings" .
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Date Posted: Sep 13, 2012 @ 8:48pm
Posts: 18