howl /// Tuesday June 11 02:40 2013

PC - Prime World: Defenders

When Is Dinner M'lord?

The "Touched" (creatures infused with Prime energy) are rising up from the Primezone with the epicentre of a cataclysmic event that has brought the power of Prime to the world. Whether it be harnessed through technology or magic, it is up to you Ranger to use Primes power to defend against the renewed Touched onslaught.

Armed with a deck of cards you will summon towers and magic to defend your lanes from the Touched in classic tower defence game play. And now I must be honest. I thought that this card mechanic in Prime World: Defenders was just going to be a bit of a gimmick. Oh how wrong I was.  

I've Got A Gift For You Monsters

From your deck of cards you choose a hand consisting of towers and magic that you then use to defend yourself from an onslaught of the Touched. Do well and you will be rewarded with cards, coins, stars and XP. Do badly and your only reward is defeat. Oh you can't swap those cards in battle, no matter how much you may want to.

The cards you earn can be used to augment your deck by use of the Forge to evolve or level your cards. Tower cards can be evolved up to three times to increase their damage, range et. all and all cards can be levelled up to their individual maximum level that can be from anywhere between 5 to 25 levels. This is most easily achieved through the use of artifact cards and other spare tower and magic cards that you may have.

Unlike many tower defence games there is a rather impressive array of towers and magic to acquire that pave the way for a varied and assorted set of tactics that you can use to defeat your foes.

The levelling isn't restricted to your cards. Your Ranger also levels up allowing him to buy talents to strengthen his fight against the Touched, whether it be more Prime drops from the mobs to build your towers,  making the costs of the Forge cheaper, or holding more precious cards in your hand.

There is even an in game shop with which to buy random assortments of cards with the games currency of coins or stars (a measure of excellence of completing a level). There are no real money micro-transactions to buy your way to victory, you will be earning these rewards one battle at a time.

We Should Use Magic More Often

The cards in every sense control the game and the path you take through it. It's rather brilliant in fact, because it makes every player's journey different. What you do quite literally depends on the hand that you are dealt.

As you play you will have many an opportunity of a random draw of cards to augment your deck. What those cards will end up being no one will know (well some cards are preselected for you to keep the game moving along) but they will decide how easy or how hard it is going to be to get to the end of the game and how much "farming" you will need to perform. It's part card collecting, part gambling and it all tickles the addictive centres of your brain. Often you win, often you lose and sometimes the heart of the cards is with you.

It's this card farming that may either make or break the game for you. There is a linear set of story levels to complete, you will receive cards, currency and XP as you complete them. Every now and then you will reach a level that blockade's you that you can't complete because your cards just aren't good enough. During this time you can play the Easy, Medium or Hard farming levels that branch from your current level that will net you rewards. You can also do older levels to gather remaining stars to try your luck at some random draws from the store.

I found all the farming I had to strangely cathartic. That was thanks to the x2 speed boost that lets you complete the levels in a heartbeat meaning that you don't usually have to linger too long at farming to move on with the game. Often some utilising a new strategy will yield the same result as farming new cards, but there will be a point where you need your cards to be upgraded and powerful to progress, so farm you will.

In the later game I ended up gravitating to use "super" cards (unique cards often bought with stars) that I would use in most battles. With 25 levels to their name you can make significant investments in them with the Forge in both time and coins and they then become extremely powerful when the levels are stacked on. The more common level 5 cards simply cannot keep up with the power that the unique cards can bring to bear but they are great for the early game as they are easy to evolve and level up.

You Beasts Won't Get Through

Prime World: Defenders was quite a different game from what I was expecting and its all the better for it. Its colourful, varied with a rich assortment of maps, monsters, magic and towers to keep the game play evolving and fresh despite its quite linear nature.

The voice acting is woeful but that made it all the better somehow as I would find myself rhyming along with the canned responses and nonsensical statements that the NPC's speak for few discernible reasons.

There is the odd problem of not being able to select a tower easily for upgrades and you can sometimes have a large grind in order to get your cards into shape for battling a particular level. However most of the time some deft tactics is what is really needed to make a breakthrough on a particular level.

Sometimes some maps may seem to crop up a few too many times, but the random map rotations and moving of objects around them can sometimes make old maps feel new again.

The leader boards could well use some improvements and signs of hacking appear to of occurred, which is both predictable and sad. Achievements come thick and fast and those that like such things will not be left wanting.

Prime World: Defenders is a great pick up and put down title, where you can bash out a few levels for a few minutes or a few hours. I can well imagine this game coming out on tablets in the future and if it does portable gamers will certainly not be disappointed with what is on offer and neither should PC gamers.

Edited // Tuesday June 11 02:39 2013 // First Version ///