Strategy Defense meets Galactic 123 The Mission
I was vaguely insulted by this game, and it's hard for me to say why. On the surface everything looks awesome. You got the best tiny pre-rendered characters Daz Studio has to offer, your endlessly looping soundtrack is at least pretty damn epic, and the game has upgrades. Everybody likes upgrades, right? Well, like I said, it's hard to put into words just where this game dropped the ball.
So here it is in numbers:
2 * 80 = 160 / 100 = 1.6 ( +0.0 )
4 * 90 = 360 / 200 = 1.8 ( +0.2 )
6 * 100 = 600 / 300 = 2 (+0.2)
8 * 120 = 960 / 400 = 2.4 (+0.4)
10 * 120 = 1200 / 500 = 2.4 (+0.0)
12 * 135 = 1620 / 600 = 2.7 (+0.3)
14 * 140 = 1960 / 700 = 2.8 (+0.1)
16 * 145 = 2320 / 800 = 2.9 (+0.1)
18 * 100 = 1800 / 800 = 2.25 (-0.65)
20 * 100 = 2000 / 1000 = 2 (-0.25)
22 * 150 = 3300 / 1100 = 3 (+1)
24 * 160 = 3840 / 1200 = 3.2 (+0.2)
50 * 170 = 8500 / 1300 = 6.53846154 (+6.53846154)
What you're looking at is the health of each creep multiplied by its attack, which is then divided by the cost of the unit to show how much bang-for-your-buck each unit provides. I then listed in parenthesis the amount of improvement this was over the previous level in order to illustrate just how uneven the progression looks on paper.
This is all the information the game gives you. Unfortunately, as you'll find out when the Nosferatu-with-a-switchblade starts rapidly stabbing your fat guy with a sledgehammer who looks like Martha Stewart, there's a hidden "attack speed" variable that the game hides from you. Your first instinct is to spam the most expensive unit, and this is usually the way to go. But then you lose anyway.
When this happens, it's because the enemy upgraded before you could (unless you're on easy.) I don't know where the enemy's getting XP and money from. It's certainly not from killing my guys, because they've lost half the fights they've been in up to this point. You see you need to stockpile $2000 and some change to research better unit types, and you need to do this twice in order to actually unlock the final unit. And it stands to reason that if you don't do this as fast as possible, the enemy will do it before you get a chance to.
Unfortunately, this reduces the core gameplay down to a single action which you will only perform a couple of times: Deciding when to upgrade. Until it's the right moment to upgrade, you need to keep spamming the most powerful unit you have, even if you know they're going to fail against what's on the screen. There's no strategy or tactics, just two armies slowly meeting in the middle of the screen and then fighting each other one at a time.
And as far as I can tell, that's the whole game. I say that because I lost interest when a Pig Strongman from the enemy's side who had already been wounded in battle went up against my Pig Strongman fresh from my base on Normal difficulty, and he kicked my guy's ass. How is that even possible? Identical units, one side is already damaged, the undamaged unit should win, right? I guess the game's doing something else behind the scenes to make the game harder, like gradually increasing the stats of enemy units as time passes or something. Or maybe it was just luck and it had something to do with timing.
Either way, the point is, you can't plan in this game. And despite the epic soundtrack and blood-curdling character design, there's no action either. It's just a long, slow meat-grinder with no real incentive, challenge or reward.
A great game combines a planning challenge with an execution challenge. It gives you a few basic tools and leaves it up to you to combine them in new and interesting ways to squeeze a little extra power out of them.
There are many ways they could have done this in The Resistance Tower Offense. Overlapping fields of fire. Formations. Alternate paths to choose from. Buffs. More research options that are also cheaper, but which upgrade different things so you need to pick a good combo. That sort of thing. Instead, it's just a boring spam game where planning and reflexes are both equally useless.