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Immortal Defense - (Tower defense. Demo available.)
Psycho Sep 18, 2012 @ 8:56pm
Review by Sgt.Psycho
Originally posted at the main forum:

(edit: corrected link, -rpgcreations)

(edit Sgt.Psycho, copied text here so it is 'replyable' and has context)

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 @ 5:04pm
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Showing 1-11 of 11 comments
Pathborn  [developer] Sep 18, 2012 @ 10:32pm 
thanks for the discussion topic! i should also mention that there are some codes there to get a free copy of the game, and so far only 4 of the 10 have been used.
Psycho Sep 18, 2012 @ 10:39pm 
It makes more sense to have it here than cluttering up the main forum, and there's a higher chance of it been seen by interested viewers here. If I get enough motivation, I might rewrite it to take into account the clarifications and corrections you made in that thread.

I haven't used a key, as I was thinking about waiting to see if ID was greenlit and give you some support.

It's a little disappointing that you seemingly can't even give it away. :\I
Neonocyte Sep 21, 2012 @ 3:01pm 
I can't seem to get the link to work- I'm just redirected to the community homepage. Is it just me? If it isn't, could you please repost? I'd like to see the review.
Pathborn  [developer] Sep 21, 2012 @ 3:07pm 
Originally posted by Neonocyte:
I can't seem to get the link to work- I'm just redirected to the community homepage. Is it just me? If it isn't, could you please repost? I'd like to see the review.

try this link:
Neonocyte Sep 22, 2012 @ 8:45am 
Thanks, Rinku, the link works now. Good luck getting this game on Steam, I've been waiting for it to happen for a long time.
Psycho Sep 25, 2012 @ 5:09pm 
Sorry for the bad link, I was sure I got it right, but didn't test it...
Psycho Oct 29, 2012 @ 5:07pm 
Once again, looking forwards to seeing this Greenlit so it can get the reward it deserves (also why I have not redeemed a code).

As mentioned above, my brief review is a bit hit and miss, and in error in some places (as corrected by the author).

I invite other greenlighters who have more knowledge of the game, especially the storyline, to post their reviews or corrections to the above also.
Kermode Bear Jan 20, 2013 @ 10:34pm 
I bought this game when it was released all those years ago. Immortal Defense is a must-have for fans of the tower defense genre. The graphics aren't going to win any awards, but the gameplay is exceptional and very, very difficult.

Unlike most TD games that have "This is the fast, low damage tower; This is the slow, high damage tower; This tower slows them down", the towers/points in Immortal Defense all have very unique behaviors. It is stuff that I have yet to see in any other similar game.

Additionally the writing, though sparse, tells a great story. I would like to see some novels by the author.
Pathborn  [developer] Jan 22, 2013 @ 1:43pm 
@KermodeBear - actually the author just published a novel -- look up Dreams of Doctor Bantam by Jeanne Thornton. It's a different kind of story than Immortal Defense but perhaps you'd like it.
Kermode Bear Jan 22, 2013 @ 2:28pm 
You are awesome, sir. Thank you, I'll give it a try!
Ionizer Jun 17, 2013 @ 10:46pm 
This game needs to be on Steam. I always mention it to any TD fans I meet and it's rare to find anyone who has heard of it, but once they try they always love it.

I can't add much to the review other than to say the entire experience of this game is amazingly fun. If you enjoy Tower Defense then you have to buy this game. You have not seen anything like it, guarenteed.
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