Plants vs Munchies: McDroid

By Alec Meer on November 26th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

In direct contravention of the Some People On The Internet Don’t Like Tower Defence Games act of 2008, I like tower defence games. I especially like tower defence games that remix the concept and make the player an active participant, rather than the more traditional alley-building type. McDroid does just that, putting you in the robo-booties of a spider-like robot sent to harvest strawberries amid an invasion of grub-like aliens determined to a) eat the strawberries b) kill the robot and the ship it arrived in.

It’s almost more RTS than conventional tower defence, though it seems to sport about a thousand influences on its cel-shaded sleeve – StarCraft, Portal, Plants vs Zombies, Farmville (not in an exploitative way), Defense Grid, er… Alright, maybe there’s a lot of difference between ‘five’ and ‘a thousand.’

I don’t object to the influences at all, it’s just that they do leave me a little unsure what the game’s own voice is. It’s probably more in the play itself, which reminds me a little of a top-down Iron Brigade – i.e. defending fixed areas against invasion by mixing turrets with a directly-controlled avatar – with none of the direct shooting. Your little robot can carry a turret on its back, but it auto-shoots at anything in range. A neat idea is that is this carried turret can be placed into a node, at which point it becomes the more traditional fixed turret – but it can be picked up again if you need some on-the-spot defence, to move it to another node or if you want to kite enemies to a different location.

So the game’s a sort of juggling act of turrets – rather than click to place you’re ferrying them around the place, swapping them in and out to help yourself, trying to put better turrets in threatened places. And all the while, the collection of strawberries.

The mention of cutsey fruit makes it sound more contrived than it is – essentially this is a farming game and you’re trying to keep pests off your crops. Only with giant frickin’ lasers rather than scarecrows and foil plates on string. Strawberries slowly grow over time, which is where the FarmVille element comes in, but you’re trying to harvest them while under fire. The build I’ve played doesn’t take many prisoners after its first, gentle few levels. It’s frantic, breathless carnage as pseudo-Zerg swarm in vast numbers, corrupted land gradually nobbles your turrets and strawberries, and there’s not enough cash to build, repair, restore and upgrade everything despite the limited number of construction nodes.

It won’t be out for a while yet as far as I can tell, the build I’ve played being very much a work in progress even though it seems stable and fairly slick to me. Worth keeping an eye on for sure though. Here’s a swooshy trailer for you, followed by some in-game footage:

More details here.

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9 Comments »

  1. Auspex says:

    Acts of Parliament should have a capital A; the disrespect for the Some People On The Internet Don’t Like Tower Defence Games Act 2008 shown by RPS is an insult to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

  2. Belsameth says:

    Its very nice. I especially love the sound effects, they’re so cute!

  3. Teovald says:

    Nice ! I loved Orcs Must Die and Iron Brigade.
    Action + tower defence is a pretty good mix. Smashing hordes of orcs is weirdly satisfying. This genre needs more good games.

    • DerNebel says:

      Smashing hordes of orcs with oversized traps and weapons is weirdly satisfying?

  4. Tams80 says:

    It looks great!

  5. Didero says:

    That gameplay video really got on my nerves, for some reason.
    It may be my unfounded dislike of French accents, or the fact that he repeatedly DIDN’T DELIVER A FULL STRAWBERRY BAG TO THE BASE COME ON.

  6. godofdefeat says:

    Looks good.

  7. laurent says:

    You can shoot directly by clicking on the mutoid and the amount of juice directed to your weapons depends on your timing … so I guess it also borrows from RTYPE :)

    Oh and when you shoot manually, all the weapons in a short radius will target what you click, even the ground (just in case you want to write your name hehe). That direct control works with rail-mounted weapons, mk2 and mk2 robots made by your factories and any node-mounted thing.