Sol Survivor is the newest addition to the of tower defense genre. Recently the genre has been flooded, and while it is impossible to not mention the glut that is out there, Sol Survivor manages to rise above and be one of the few worth playing. The small steps that it takes to mix up the standard and bored formula work greatly in its favor.
Probably one of the more noticeable features is to select from different commanders. Each commander has a different set of towers to place during the combat and a different set of powers that they can use on the enemies. While this may seem small the ability to throw out an atomic strike on one or two enemies that slipped past defenses, instead of watching them walk the next two minutes to the base, feels amazingly gratifying.
The game allows for the player to place defenses anywhere on the map that isn’t a path that the enemies travel. Other tower defense games have done this before as well, but with the mix of the changing of the commanders it changes things up enough that whatever strategy that the player uses feels like it can be shoehorned into most levels.
One of the biggest flaws is the ability to spam the same attacks over and over. Early on, I realized that using mortars almost exclusively could clear pretty much any level with ease. Expect for the last few stages, I was able to use this cheap tactic through most of the game, causing the overall balance of the game to suffer.
Although mixing the commanders up for different levels is not the only way that the game tries to force players to experiment with different tactics. Many of the levels have several spawn points that enemies can come out of, and in later levels they even have entirely different paths that they walk down. For diehard fans of the genre this is almost an added bonus as the game forces the players to think on the fly, but for the rest of us, it almost feels like a giant spike in difficulty every time it happens.
Sol Survivor is up on Steam for 10 dollars, which seems about a fair price. It is also up on the Xbox Live indie section for the same price, although I did not play that version of the game. The pricing seems about right around the range of an impulse buy, which is good, as more and more tower defense games seem to be trying to push the 20 dollar mark.
Sol Survivor is a good game; it changes enough things to feel fully unique. While the major flaws of the game are simple, some levels are vastly more difficult than others in the same grouping, and that certain strategies can work for the majority of the game, most of them are pretty forgivable. For those that are really into the genre it is a no brainer, for anyone who has enjoyed a tower defense game before it is still a solid investment.
Not As Good As: Having a tower that shoots lightning bolts
Also Try: Defense Grid: The Awakening
Wait For It: An expansion
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