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Attack of the Creeps

Published by Galago Games
Price $19.95
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I hesitate to use the phrase "tower defence genre" even though it is bandied about quite a lot these days in the independent gaming scene. I'd like to try to pigeon-hole these types of games into some of the categories that we already classify our review games into here at Bytten, but again I'm having a hard time. I'll have to make do with describing "Attack of the Creeps" as a real-time strategy title with some puzzle elements.

The title screen. A typical level in action.

Regular readers would be aware of a review that I penned for the excellent "Immortal Defense" just a few weeks ago, and although I'm doing my best to judge "Attack of the Creeps" on its merits alone, it is very difficult for me not to draw some comparisons between the two games as they are similar in many respects.

In this game there are 6 different types of towers that can be built by the player without restriction anywhere on the playfield. From arrow towers that fire single shots at passing creeps to fire towers that can do splash damage to the target and other nearby enemies and also lightning towers which are powerful, but can only shoot at airborne enemies. All towers are available on any of the six maps provided with the game. "Creeps" (cute little badguys) enter the level from a specified point and try to make their way as quickly as possible to exit the level at another specified point. Creeps, like towers, also come in various flavours. Some are small and nimble, others are big fat boss creeps that have lots of hit-points but move very slowly. Some are immune to special attacks and some can even fly. Towers cost money to build and upgrade which, luckily, can be earned by shooting creeps. The tougher the creeps, the more money earned and they better the player can set their defence, and, well... I'm sure you get the idea. The game ends when a pre-determined number of creeps has reached the exit point.

No fair! These creeps are going around the outside of the level!

The basic strategy of the game seems to be to use cheap arrow towers as blockades to funnel the creeps through powerful "fire zones" where there is a high concentration of powerful towers doing nearly all of the damage. The path-finding for the creeps is dynamic and this can be exploited by opening a channel for the creeps to pass through the level and, just as they are about to get there, closing it up by adding a new tower and forcing them back through the level again to find a new way through your maze. The only positions in which the game will not let the player build towers is where they would block the only possible way to the exit for the creeps.

I did come across a bug whereby creeps would sometimes move outside of a level in order to take a shortcut around my defences, and this frustrated my efforts to enjoy the game. You can see that in the screenshot above, the creeps are clearly moving outside of the level boundaries.

Visually, the game is not awe-inspiring, and I personally found the colour palette a little drab. Better animations and some particle effects might have helped, but alas, the main problem with this game seems not to be the graphics. The background music is suitably epic orchestral stuff, and the sound effects are quite well done and fit nicely and unobtrusively into things.

To be blunt, I did not enjoy playing Attack of the Creeps for three main reasons. Firstly, I think that it is somewhat natural for players to derive a sense of satisfaction from winning a game or indeed even a level. There is no way to win this game except perhaps to hold out as long as possible to beat your own (or someone else's) highscore. Secondly, since there is no limitation to where or what kind of towers may be placed, the same old strategy seems to prevail no matter which of the 6 levels that you are playing on. Lastly, the difficulty level overall seems to be too high. On most levels I would be lucky to survive more than a couple of minutes. Unless I am missing a vital piece of strategy that for some reason has evaded me, I can't work out how you could defend against even the 9th or 10 wave of creeps. There is no way to adjust the difficulty level. "Immortal Defense" suffered from none of these problems, and that game (unfortunately for "Attack of the Creeps") will be the yardstick to measure the so called "tower defence" genre for quite some time to come.

Graphics 67%
Sound 88%
Playability 65%
Longevity 42%
Overall Score 62%
Bronze Star

Published on 17 Aug 2007
Reviewed by Steve Blanch

Keywords: attack of the creeps review, galago games reviews, galago games games, attack of the creeps scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.

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