Tower Defense: Lost Earth Review: Solid Gameplay, But No Originality
Tower Defense: Lost Earth from Com2uS, is a game with a lot of technical skill, but less originality than a Gameloft 3PS. There’s no denying the game’s technical merits, but the fact that they couldn’t come up with a better name than Tower Defense tells you something here [it also tells you that Com2uS was looking for a cheap legal leg up on the competition, but that's another article]. Tower Defense: Lost Earth boasts some solid gameplay and graphical work, but it loses them for its unoriginality.
The setup for TD:LE is simple and uninspired: you’re a colony of humans looking to settle on a new world, you’ve encountered various races of hostile aliens, you must defend your base from their waves of attacks. Details to this plot are unnecessary; you already know it from games like Sentinel: Mars Defense. It’s enough to set up the game and it doesn’t strive to do any more than that.
As is fitting of a game called Tower Defense, what you get is a a tower defense game. There’s absolutely nothing here that I have not seen in a TD game before. The campaign mode is a straightforward series of increasingly difficult tower assaults, with enemy aliens marching along predetermined paths and your towers shooting the crap out of them as they do. The towers include a bullet shooter, a splash damage gun, a long range (but less powerful) shooter, a laser, etc. — all standard TD fare — and the villains include slow ones, fast ones, heavily armored ones, ones that travel in groups, etc. — again, all standard TD fare. You can upgrade your weapons to be more powerful and to shoot at longer ranges, of course.
To its credit, the campaign mode is really long and it never spikes in difficulty so much that you cannot overcome your enemies after enough tries (though the later levels can get really difficult). A bit more interesting to me were the challenge modes, which eschew pre-pathed enemies in favor of a “build towers to block lanes and create paths” angle. I like that kind of gameplay, as they often offer more of a critical thinking challenge than the linear “build MOAR towers” play of pathed assaults. And here, again, the that TD:LE offers is solid and works the way you’d expect this sort of TD game to work. The game plays well. It’s just all been done before.
Graphically, the game is put together nicely. Animations are smooth, menus are slick, and the tower upgrades are subtle but clear (like the glowing blue base of a Max-level tower). The design of both towers and aliens is highly generic, though, in keeping with the rest of the game.
I keep coming back to that: TD:LE lacks any iota of originality. It’s all generic, generic, generic, from its name to its storyline to its gameplay. Even though it’s all well executed, being good doesn’t always forgive being generic. I can recommend the game to TD aficionados looking for a solid play experience; but for more casual fans of the genre, there are more interesting titles out there to explore before giving TD:LE a try.
Our Score: 3.5 out of 5