Steampunk Tower 2 (Xbox One) Review
Tons to unlock and upgrade, including your own city
Freely swapping turret locations in real time adds strategic depth
There are segments of mandatory grinding
No visual distinction between enhanced cannons or enemies
Managing mobile countdown timers can feel like busy work
As a follow up to the highly praised mobile original, Steampunk Tower 2 offer addicting tower defense gameplay with light city building mechanics that constantly entices the player. Although grindy in spots, there is a lot of quality content here.
Steampunk Tower 2 takes a unique approach to 2D defense gameplay. Each stage drops the tower from the sky Halo ODST-style and plunges deep within the ground. Sprouting like a flower are the actual tower defenses with enemies engaging in a pincer attack. The typical tower defense rules apply such as the basic machine gun that is low cost but works well against common enemies whereas mortars will penetrate the defenses of slow but powerful tank enemies. Uniquely, the sky-falling mobile tower can be upgraded by adding tiers. Adding that third level will allow for two more turrets, for example. Each tier is also composed of three tiles in a row. The outer slots are for positioning the cannons whereas the middle tile is used to refill spent ammo. It can get pretty hectic having to juggle aerial units on the right, a ton of tanks on the left, but then swap guns to the middle space to refill ammo in real time. Not only is strategy needed, quick reflexes are also required. It is a welcomed, high action combo. Each turret can also unleash a Saiyan attack once their rage meter fills and even the tower itself can blast through waves of enemies with its eye of Sauron. You’ll need to take advantage of these limited special moves especially in the later stages and are always satisfying.
Each winning battle earns cash and materials used to not only upgrade the base and its guns but also your home town. Enhancing buildings within the base will unlock new advancements for turrets as well as earn more gold faster. Eventually a train is unlocked which is sent on dispatch missions to collect resources while you fight. These passive quests are determined by a countdown timer so they cannot be spammed but is a little weird to work around a mobile game restriction within a console title.
There are tons of towers to unlock and even more enhancements to earn. Since there is so much room for the player to grow, gameplay remains addicting as unlocking that new thing is just a few battles away. Unfortunately, grinding is heavily involved in spots which can bring the pacing to a halt. Having to replay levels to earn those last few materials so you can unlock the next section of the map is tedious, especially since some battles are on timers, but the game acknowledges this. If a stage has already been cleared, the player can optionally instantly win that battle at the cost of gold but will save some time. It might not be the best solution, since you might be playing that stage to collect gold making the process moot.
As if the name didn’t give it away, the Steampunk visual style is a main focus. There is an attempt at creating a plot but the non-voice acted, hard-to-read font of the tiny text bubbles of each character doesn’t provide enough incentive to want to learn why you are fighting so many enemies over Europe. There are two other annoyances with the visual department as well. The first is the lack of distinction between turrets, specifically ones that have been upgraded. That one machine gun with the more power ammo looks exactly the same as the standard model. This is a problem when swapping guns in the middle of the battle. Further, enemies are nothing more than black silhouettes. Of course it is easy to determine a foot soldier from a rolling tank but not having any detail within these intense battles is a little disappointing.
Even with some pacing issues and the need to grind (good luck defeating bosses), Steampunk Tower 2 is still an addicting tower defense title. The interface takes some time to learn, since the tutorial segment isn’t the most detailed, but using steam and a falling defense base to expand your stronghold over Europe is a decent way to spend your time.
Also available on Switch, Steam, and PS4.
Not As Good As: Defense Grid
Better Than: Desktop Tower Defense (DS)
Wait For It: the next geoDefense game for your Windows phone
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com