We had gotten our first look at Defenders of Time back at E3 2014 and it was looking interesting. A tower defense game that’s been given a nice, clean polish sounded exciting since the genre had been lacking as of late. As with many tower defense games, Defenders of Time keeps it simple; you plop a few gunners around and hope you can keep up with the swarms. Now that we’ve gotten our hands on it, however, simplicity might be the problem.
Defenders of Time isn’t far removed from something found on a kids’ website where monkeys pop balloons. One of the few things that differentiates it from the pack is allowing players to get in the enemies’ way. Gunners can be placed practically anywhere as long as they don’t entirely block the exit for the swarms. Of course, why would you want to keep them alive? Yes, let’s allow these vile creatures to leave the war zone that you’ve strategically set up. It doesn’t entirely make sense but that’s how it goes. One of the best ways to exterminate them is to place the gunners in a maze-like pattern to utilize the range of their attacks.
You’ll go through the typical up-grade sequences. Gunners are made more powerful after enough money is earned. Some will be able to freeze the enemies and some will constantly fire off attacks even when something isn’t in range. There will be slow, fast, tough and flying enemies. The longer you last the more difficult it gets. Defenders of Time doesn’t break the mold when it comes to the actual gameplay mechanics. You literally just place your gunners around where you think it’s strategically effective.
Multiplayer is where Defenders of Time gains a little bit more of a reason to play. When you get to duke it out with someone else it’ll keep you on your toes. Maps will differ in difficulty which generally means a larger area to cover and multiple paths or exits for the creep enemies (same goes for single player). You never know where the gunners can be placed when facing someone; they might have a worse strategy than you. At least you can even form teams to make the battles one huge mess. One of the challenges you’ll face is there’s no way to pause any of the action. Once the first wave of little creeps comes out, that’s it; you need to buckle down and focus. There’s no way to stop and think. And that’s good, it keeps you engaged and constantly upgrading your gunners.
Defenders of Time hasn’t shown off as much change than as we thought it would have. The graphics and style are nice for the genre; there’s an early 1950s feeling of futuristic ideals. Similar to something out of Disney’s Tomorrowland or Fallout’s robotic designs. As there’s nothing time-related in the actual combat, this is probably the only reason for the games’ title. The gunners are polished and streamlined with a lot of chrome and a paint job reminiscent of those motorcycles on a carousel you’d see at a state fair. The music, however, is lackluster and repetitive. It does match the game’s them, but could have been given more tracks.
Unfortunately, Defenders of Time isn’t the fresh breath of air the tower defense genre needed, instead washing into the ocean of its never-ending entries. Casual strategy fans will find it enjoyable, as it has enough grounded ideas to keep things engaging in short bursts, but there’s nothing remotely unique here. With loads of improvements and more content for single player modes, Defenders of Time would be a worthwhile. Unless that happens, however, it’ll be lost at sea forever.
Version Reviewed: PC