Alien Shooter TD Review
Spinning Plates: The Tower Defense Game
Alien Shooter TD feels like one of those pre-loaded Wild Tangent games from early 2000s PCs.
It’s an isometric tower defense that, for all its depth and detail, is as tedious as it is an eyesore. The graphics look as though they were ripped from a PS1-era development kit, and the gray/blue color scheme does nothing to lend itself to visual interest.
The objective is to place units along a clearly defined path to prevent three waves of aliens from infiltrating a building they give you no reason to care about. Players can also place explosives in obvious bottlenecks and call supply drones. Once units and explosives are placed, you had better hope you don’t change your mind, because there is no option to move anything on the board. If you want a gunner in a different spot, or a rocket team instead, players have to destroy the original unit (at a small penalty) and spend in-game money to change strategy.
Every decision in the game requires money. Explosives, supply drones, and units must be purchased at the beginning of each round. Weapon upgrades and even the skill tree require insane amounts of money. During actual gameplay, units will run out of ammo, which must be bought. How can you possibly earn enough money to last more than two minutes? By mowing down waves of alien spiders, worms, and slug-bas, of course! Each enemy death earns a small amount of cash. So strategy always boils down to ‘buy tons of bombs and hire rocket teams or machine gunners for maximum carnage.’
The game takes a page from CS:GO and offers loot crates in-game which are filled with various weapon and ammo types. These can be earned by completing certain objectives during rounds or, you guessed it, be purchased. The only real upside to these crates is that they if they provide you with better gear, you can scrap old gear for in-game money or materials, offsetting costs for upgrades.
Gameplay during rounds feels more like spinning plates than creating a solid strategy. Since everything costs money, players are limited to how many units can be on the board because they have to constantly purchase supplies for everyone. Eventually, the game becomes a frantic clickfest as you scroll the board to look for empty units to refill.
If this were on Newgrounds in 2004, Alien Shooter TD would have probably been a big hit. The attention to detail with the skill tree and gear upgrades is impressive; but not allowing for an actual planning period, the limitations imposed by the need for an in-game fortune to support your army, and nothing more than ‘aliens bad, must kill aliens’ to draw players in and make them give a shit make this a poor addition to Steam’s 2017 roster.
“feels more like spinning plates than creating solid strategy”