Tower Defense Of The Colossus: Burden

By Nathan Grayson on March 13th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

That thing on his elbow? That's a tower defense arena.

Sometimes when mosquitoes or gnats or eaglets who are on their first hunt and mistake my hair for a mid-sized rodent won’t stop swarming my face/neck/back, I feel like I’m playing some sort of tower defense game. Burden is kinda like that, except with a larger-than-life sprinkle of Shadow of the Colossus mixed in for good measure. You juggle multiple mini tower defense battlefronts on single lumbering giant, bouncing back and forth to stave off tiny armies of all shapes and sizes. It’s a bit of a strange idea, but it looks great. Trailer in the shadow of this colossus of a post.

Burden’s plot is a bunch of stuff about a land called Mhoroa and colossi ceremonies to save the world and fearful countrymen and blah blah blah yeah, but the core mechanics seem quite interesting:

“Burden is a game of tactical tower defense on multiple simultaneous battlefronts. The player must place shields and artillery towers on the exterior of their colossus whilst also juggling defenses on multiple nodes – critical locations on the beast which enemies will attempt to board and penetrate.”

“The game is broken into chapters, each of which is an epic journey on a different colossus. Within each chapter the player will face major foes blocking their progress across the land and many waves of enemies boarding the beast. Success depends on smart strategy and quick management of the battle as it unfolds on multiple fronts.”

It’ll be on Steam Early Access “soon” for $15, with the full version coming later this year for $20.

It all looks nicely dynamic and exciting, though part of me worries that the end result could just be a par-for-the-course tower defender disguising its downfalls in super cool giant skin. But of course, there’s no telling until we can get our hands on it, so I will hold out hope until then.

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20 Comments »

  1. LevelHeaded says:

    Seems like a lot of unrelated dev work for a tower defense game. I bet the game they ended up making is far from their original vision.

    • DrollRemark says:

      Looks to me like they’ve just got entirely separate devs working on the tower defence section than on the colossi. I was a bit disappointed that the two seem so unconnected. Look at the giant lumbering creature, zoom in to generic-looking tower defence map.

  2. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I noticed this game in the IGF entrants and thought it looked excellent, there were so many gems in there.

  3. Ross Angus says:

    This makes me realise that the Death Star would be a good venue for a tower defense game. Protect those exhaust ports.

    • araczynski says:

      i would agree, although this time those swarthy rebels would be also landing some ground troops in for the mix :)

    • roryok says:

      that is actually a really, really good idea. Star wars tower defence!

      • Ross Angus says:

        Second level: Hoth.

      • klmx says:

        I thought the same, but then I realized that only EA is allowed to make Star Wars games for now. I don’t want Dungeon Keeper-like antics linked to such a brilliant idea

  4. araczynski says:

    I like the concept, its a welcome change in the relatively stale genre. I think its a concept (making a genre part of something bigger) that should be applied to more well, um, genres. Something like the way that some Match 3 games have been turned into RPG’s (puzzle quest?)

    • Baines says:

      Perhaps part of that issue is that the interior mechanics of tower defense aren’t necessarily suited to other genres. An RPG tower defense becomes a tower defense with perma-leveling, or a series of connected tower defenses playing part of some story.

      Alternatively, it could be that crossing genres just causes people to call the games something else. For example, add a playable avatar with direct action, and you now have an action game with tower defense elements. Put unit movement, and you have a war game or RTS with a base defense element. Sanctum and Dungeon Defenders were first and third person action games, but were also tower defense. Tecmo’s Deception was a loose kind of tower defense long before “Tower Defense” was considered a genre. The news article for the Van Helsing sequel describes the first game was secretly a tower defense game.

      • VeloriumTrigger says:

        I think it’s pretty common for games to “cross-over” as gamers demand for something new and game developers willing to innovate certain genres.

        Burden looks odd in so many ways but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a shot. The collision between 2 giants in the end of the trailer gives us an overview that their something more on top of the tower defense core.

        Tower defense is a versatile genre as it can be coupled with other genres. Mobile game developers are into it lately and some upcoming titles look promising such as this one called Winterforts: http://norsfell.com/winterforts/

        In a nutshell, it’s good to know that game studios are trying to give the demanding gamers something new.

  5. roryok says:

    I think its a shame they went down the tower defence route here. Tiny armies fighting each other on the backs of lumbering giants is a great idea for a game, but to have the armies attach each other in big airships and then funnel all their troops down into one kill corridor is just stupid. It breaks the fourth wall for me.

    Tower defence games are supposed to be about mindless drones funnelled through walls because they don’t know any better. What kind of idiot general would do that?

    I’d much rather a Warcraft style RTS on the backs of these guys, and when one is conquered you can build a blimp and attack a neighbour

    Maybe I’m strange

    • bills6693 says:

      No, I like it. Although personally I’d more see a kind of Total War style (Turn-based strategy, real time tactical battles) game. The known world consists entirely of these giants, and civilisations are only pockets of people living on the backs of the giants. You conquer the entire ‘skin’ of your giant and can launch airships or even have to wait for the giant to meet another one you can invade. Imagine, once you have a ‘colony’ on another giant, its cut off and on its own, difficult to support from the ‘home’ giant.

      It could all be very thematic etc. Perhaps even instead of being ‘humans’ you are actually playing as a culture of advanced insects of some sort – something that could actually live in the hair covering the enormous beast.

      • niosop says:

        We actually thought of this and really liked it. Problem is that there was no chance of us actually being able to implement it in the time/budget that we have. But if Burden does well I wouldn’t be surprised if we did something like it.

  6. pepperfez says:

    Wasn’t there an indie game semi-recently with RTS-type battles fought on the backs of giant tortoises? I’m unsure because that’s exactly the kind of game I would fever-dream.
    EDIT: Yup – Battle Fortress Tortoise was a student project submitted to IGF a couple years ago. It appears to have gotten Greenlit and then disappeared.

    • hungrycookpot says:

      Sometimes in my fever-dreams I have dreamt that I could see a tiny RTS style battle going on between anthropomorphic white blood cells and invading virus cells.

  7. Shooop says:

    One of the first things the gaming world needs is another game like Shadow Of The Colossus. But one of the last things the gaming world needs is yet another tower defense game.

    The wait continues.

  8. Amnesiac says:

    I’ve always wanted at least one game to ape of Shadow of the Colossus.

    But not like this… not like this…

  9. PopeRatzo says:

    It’s gotten that the first thing I want to know about any new game is if it’s multi-player only. Then, if it’s free-to-play.

    If it’s neither of those, I’ll put it on my list for a closer look.

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