Tower Defense, RPG and Real-time Strategy is one

OTTTD or Over the Top Tower Defense is a title developed by SMG in partnership with Soap. The game’s title lives up to its gameplay as it seamlessly combines the traditional tower defense genre with elements of real-time strategy and RPG. The game costs a fair $2.99 with some optional in-game purchases. The game can also be played offline, making it one of the most promising tower defense titles to date. The game is completely ad-free as well.

As you start the game, you’ll have three save slots to use so your friends or relatives can utilize the other slots for them to enjoy the game without messing up with your progress. The brief intro will tell you that the game is about “pre-emptively defending Earth” (and save the livelihood of soldiers who are endangered in a world of peace) through the use of manufactured rifts to call in and kill aliens for a living. The premise alone is simple yet crazy enough to give you an initial impression on what to expect next.

You’ll start with the default hero unit, the Engineer. There are a total of seven hero units in the game which can be unlocked as you progress through the game. In the Hero selection screen, you can review the hero’s ability and even shuffle his name. Take note that your heroes’ name will be permanent so make sure you’re fine with his name before continuing.

For starters, you’ll be taken to the mandatory training stage. Here, you’ll be refreshed of the elementary skills needed for tower defense games and you’ll learn the pivotal roles hero units play in the battlefield. You have a mobile HQ to defend. The mobile HQ has a mounted weapon, depending on the map that it can use to defend itself from minor threats. Of course, you have to deploy not only a variety of towers but make full use of your hero units. You can have three hero units at a time in the battlefield. You can swap between heroes in the preparation screen before beginning the stage. The composition of your hero units will also play a great role in your strategy.

Hero units can be moved almost anywhere in the battlefield. Upon tapping to select your hero unit, you’ll notice a circle around them. This indicates their attack range. They will attack automatically when an enemy is within their range. Hero units can also take damage and die. Their HP replenishes automatically but it will be better if you pull them out of battle temporarily if they’re critically injured. Furthermore, you can increase their survivability by making them learn a good balance of passive and active abilities as well as buying them better weapons. Hero units also have their unique abilities. Like the game mentioned, abilities are like magic, only more badass and not stupid. Understanding when to use these special skills can turn the tide of battle. Abilities also have a countdown timer so timing is also quite important. If you have two abilities equipped, you can still use your hero’s other ability while the other is cooling down.

After the battle, you’ll earn gold and experience for your hero units. You’ll be rewarded more by finishing the game with three stars. This is done by completing the stage with no damage or very little damage to your HQ. Hero units level up which also gives them skill points. Skill points are used to power up your hero and give them new abilities. Gold is used to purchase better equipment for your heroes. Some high tiered gears require gems. This is the game’s premium currency. Getting three stars for exemplary performance in the battlefield will give you higher amount of gold. You can replay completed stages but with diminished amounts. This amount however isn’t that bad and will still allow you to fairly farm previously completed stages. The experience your heroes will earn for repeating stages isn’t that bad either; it’s good enough to level them up after a battle or two.

Abilities are divided to two types: Active and Passive. Passive abilities remain in effect all the time, as long as you have purchased it while Active abilities must be triggered manually. The skill point requirements for these skills remain the same as you level them up. Some high-tiered abilities however, costs more skill points to begin with. You can only equip two active abilities at a time so choose the ones you’ll need the most in a particular mission. The variety of skills per hero gives the game more depth as it gives you the freedom to modify their loadout depending on the strategy you have in mind. Some abilities can also be used to support other heroes. For example, the Recon’s Mark ability can allow the Rocketeer to fire his rocket and hit the marked target anywhere in the map.

Like other tower defense games, you have to use a variety of towers to deal with different types of enemies. Killing enemies will allow you to earn cash which you can use to either buy new towers or upgrade them. If you’re confident about your defenses, you can also call in the next wave in advance to get some extra money. There are only a limited number of spots where you can place your towers so choosing what and where a specific type of tower should be placed will have a strategic effect in fending yourself against enemy waves. Enemies will stop on their tracks to attack your towers so repairing them is as important as upgrading them. If a tower’s HP is reduced to zero, it won’t be destroyed but will remain disabled instead until you repair it. You can repair them anytime and anywhere by just selecting the tower and paying for the corresponding repair cost. Having an engineer walk up and repair a tower or by using his Remote Repair ability is free and can save you money in the long run. Upgraded towers not only get stronger, they will also change their appearance. Each tower has two advanced modes that you'll also unlock as you go through the campaign. For example, a Gatling tower can be transformed to a Blamwitzer or Velocadrone.

The game’s visuals are great. The overall style is cartoonish yet smooth and detailed – just right for its own sense of humor. The alien environments shown in each stage are somewhat refreshing. Visual effects like explosions, weapon fire, gore from slaughtered enemies or skill activations are just right. Some may even find guilty pleasure of watching enemies get blown to pieces, their remains get strewn in the otherwise, beautifully drawn landscape. These gore effects however, comes at a price. Due to these effects, the game will slow down, to the point that it will seem that you’re suffering from a very bad lag. This happens in later waves, when you have tons of enemy entrails covering the ground and the game forces your device to display the incoming swarm of new enemies. Since this is already pushing the graphics of the game, imagine your device being tasked to calculate other effects like the attack animations from your heroes and towers. The device I got the game installed on is a Nexus 7 (next gen) which is supposedly very good tablet, hardware specs-wise. But that didn’t help preventing the slowdown either. Thankfully, the game remains stable and the slowdown only occurs for a short time. The game haven’t crashed on me even when the lag is bad.

The game audio is also great. Each hero unit is voiced and has a set of dialogues, something you don’t see often in tower defense games. The background music sets the right mood for killing and (controlled) violence within the game. The sound effects are synched perfectly with their corresponding animation.

The game is pretty addictive, engaging and looks pretty good but you’ll run into some minor bugs along the way. The ones I’ve encountered so far are missing menu and options, starting a map without any buttons or displays, and unresponsive controls. These are just minor inconveniences since a simple game restart will bring back the game in perfect condition. These crashes seem to be triggered when your device turns off its screen after being idle or when you deliberately do it.

OTTTD is designed to be played and enjoyed fully, even without spending extra cash to avail their great deals. Most players will find it enjoyable to work hard and grind so they can afford the items/ abilities they want. OTTTD lets these players enjoy by boasting a good difficulty curve between stages and allowing users to earn a fair amount of rewards for completing stages over and over again. For players who want to hold the advantage early in the game, OTTTD’s in-game packages and deals are reasonably priced. Again, it doesn’t matter if a player spends extra for those packages or not; both can fully enjoy what the game has to offer. OTTTD won’t force you to buy those extra coins or gems just because you can’t get past a particular stage due to a sudden increase in difficulty. If you can’t win, you have to grind, level up and try again.

OTTTD is definitely a bang for the buck. It delivers a well-blended experience by putting together tower defense game, RPG and RTS (real time strategy) elements into one game. There are minor inconveniences like the crashes and the graphics slowdown but they shouldn’t be enough to entirely ruin the experience for you. If you’re a fan of the genre, give this one a try. It’s a different approach from the traditional tower defense game that you’ll surely enjoy.

Please check out our unofficial guide for the game as well!
4.6 / 5.0
review by Paul | May 23rd 2014

Gamer reviews for OTTTD

Total Reviews: 1

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Review by GuestOct 18th 2019
Great Game, Build up your Teams with different soldiers and Skills to win the next scenario
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