Ahh the humble tower defence game, it’s manifested itself in many forms but the initial concept remains the same; stop the enemy from getting to your surprisingly vulnerable “End Zone” by placing towers along the enemies path that come equipped with a range of different gun turrets, Telsa coils, or ray guns on top of them. When I decided to take a look at Steam Wars a multiplayer tower defence game on Facebook I was hoping for the same “ho-hum” experience that you get with most TD games, but it’s surprisingly different.
Steam Wars is a free-to-play Steam Punk-style multiplayer tower defence game with a twist. It escapes the usual norm of ‘defending’ the end zone by giving you the chance to become the attacker. The original defence game play is there too, but you have the option (once you’ve completed the in-depth tutorial) to choose whether you’d like to be the attacker or the defender.
I’ve played a fair few games of Steam Wars and it’s not bad, it’s a great little time-waster, but it’s not something I’d be revisiting too often. The game itself looks great, the art style is fantastic and it really captures the Steam Punk essence that you’d expect with a game of this description. The characters and towers that you play with have been cleverly thought out too with all of the towers being suspended in the air by it’s own steam power.The gameplay dynamics however is what let’s this game down a little. Even though it’s added a new attacker concept into the mix and the fact that you can play against your friends it still has the same effect on me that many other TD games have. They don’t hold my attention for too long because it’s not as action packed as I’d liked and at some points you’re winning outright as soon as the first few waves have completed. I felt that as an Attacker I was ridiculously overpowered compared to the opposing player’s grenade and turret towers which soon became about as challenging as making a cup of tea. Being a defender is no different either with minimal waves of enemy characters coming up against 10+ turrets that I managed to afford at the beginning of the game.
The only challenging aspect that I found with this game is that the attacking characters can fight back and don’t just toddle by and let my turrets completely obliterate them. What this means is that you can place a handful of towers at the beginning, but if you don’t maintain them or keep on top of replacing them, your defence will soon be wiped out which is an interesting spin on the game, but again isn’t enough to keep my attention.
To try and keep things a little interesting, the developers have introduced power characters called Heroes which depending on whether you’re playing as an attacker or a defender reward you differently in some way. Lets take Big Bertha for example, she’s essentially a tank-like character that can take a fair bit of damage giving the defenders tower something to deal with whilst the smaller quicker characters can zip by unscathed. In a defenders point of view Big Bertha is more of a ‘perk’ than an on screen character. When activated Big Bertha gives all of your towers an added shield against the attacking characters which can help on the occasional chance you’re being overpowered by your opponent.
Different Heroes offer different advantages on and off the play area with some having more of an affect depending on whether you choose to attack or defend which adds a more strategic side to this game rather than the simple tower defence game concept you’re used to.
Different Heroes as well as towers and units can be purchased in the Armory using money that you’ve earned during play or with ‘golden money’ that you can purchase using real money. Each unit has it’s own array of stats which again add to the strategic side of things.
In terms of multiplayer I can’t understand how it works. No matter what time you come online to play the game, the same opposing players are there waiting to play and they play instantly. Since being on this game I’ve never been in a ‘lobby’ nor have I found anywhere where I can wait for an opponent to play me. The multiplayer games themselves also seem to work with the way you play also giving the appearance of your opponent playing live which baffles me.
Overall Steam Wars is a fun little game, but it lacks the replay factor. If you’re an avid Facebook gamer I’d definitely give this game a try, it is fun and can burn a few hours but given the plethora of TD games available on almost every platform it’s going to be difficult for Steam Wars to make it out on top. Thankfully the game is in actual beta an is still being worked upon but I’d personally like to see it on mobile platforms as that’s somewhere I tend to play a lot of games like this but for me Facebook isn’t my g0-to place for gaming as I seldom visit it whilst sat at my computer.