Steam Cleaning: Orcs Must Die

Steam Cleaning n. 1. The futile attempt to play all the games you’ve bought on Steam during sales, bundles and promotions.

I don’t like Tower Defense games. Like everyone else, I played Desktop Tower Defense a few years back until I got bored and then I called it a genre. My main problem with it is the passivity of the actual game-time. The bulk of the important decisions are made before the action and then during action, it is just triage. Tower Defense reminds me a lot of a less interesting version of The Incredible Machine games, where one sets-up and then hits play and watches him or herself win or lose. The difference being with the Machine games that there were multiple dimensions to deal with: gravity, flammability, wind, etc whereas many Tower Defense games deal with just Put Damage Here.

Orcs Must Die is different. It has the pre-game component of Tower Defense, but the action is done in third-person shooter style and is largely dependent on your skill in that regard. Interesting decisions happen in the pre-game AND during game action. While it is still in the realm of Put Damage Here like most Tower Defense, the added constraint of having to ferry your warmage around to deal with situations adds a level of complexity that is sorely needed. Additionally, the art/animation/sound is slick and really adds to the experience. I’m starting to tire a bit of games using Captain Hammer-esque protagonists, but in this case it works.

The gold standard of my enjoyment of a game is if I will go back and replay levels and I did this in spades. I have only the final (*^&%$*&^ impossible!) level to complete, so I’m going back and trying to ace the previous levels. Ignore any pseudo-intellectual normative “should I like this?” internal dialogue and use this as the metric and see what results you get.

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