Sci-Free: Sanctum Adds Medals, Gets F2P Weekend

There's no way to lighten up this situation: If the giant pea garden falls, then so does humanity.
Sanctum 2 is suggestively eyeing 2013 from across the crowded, deafening-dubstep-blaring bar that is time, but the first in its tower defending lineage hasn’t gone into cryogenic stasis just yet. Via its IndieDB page, Coffee Stain Studios has announced all sorts of free goodies, just because. Well, maybe not all of the sorts, but those of the progression-based medal and boss-fight-introducing map varieties – so basically the only sorts that really matter.

Sayeth the sentient reminder that you failed to keep a cup upright: “We always figured Sanctum lacked some kind of progression, and it was indeed irritating to not be able to see what maps you did beat and on what difficulty. When you beat a map in Singleplayer on normal mode you will now be given a number of medals depending on what difficulty you are playing. Go catch em all!” The new map, meanwhile, is based on Yogscast, if you’re into that kind of thing. Sanctum’s free-to-play on Steam until the dreadful beast that is Monday, and there’s a 75 percent off sale to boot. It’s a wonderful blend of FPS and tower defense, so burn the two games in those respective genres you were planning to play and consolidate. Efficiency!


  1. KDR_11k says:

    Hm, doesn’t feel all that different to standard tower defense, since enemies don’t seem to shoot back you’re just working as another tower in the assembly line of death except you walk around when enemies are no longer in reach. And enemies are the usual unflinching blocks of steel that tower defense seems to love. I think I’d rather play Iron Grip Warlord since that has actual fighting between you and the creeps (which die in a few shots but make up for it in numbers), not just onesided chipping away at gigantic health bars..

    • Wang Tang says:

      And enemies are the usual unflinching blocks of steel […]

      This is my biggest gripe with Sanctum, and the reason why I enjoyed OMD much more.
      In Sanctum, it just doesn’t feel as if you’re making a difference, shooting at the creeps :/
      Nonetheless, it’s fun with friends.

      • LionsPhil says:

        The trick is to hit them in the weakspots. If you don’t, then yes, you are a tiny and mostly useless cog in the machine. The clever bit is picking off and wearing down the types of mobs the towers will struggle with, e.g. sniping the tanks in the head to make their shields drop just as they approach a collection of damage-amped lightning towers, or your nest of gattling guns.

        Also, rocket-jumping, bunny hopping, and positioning yourself to hit things in their weakspot through an amp cube and one-shotting them.

        The best weapon is the freeze-gun, though. Love the freeze-gun. You can bunch up or spread out the monsters as appropriate and unlike the others it’s just as effective on the first wave as the last. Getting a whole load of the little scuttly buggers together on a damage amp and hitting them with a grenade/rocket can generate enough gibs to feed a family of twelve for three weeks.

        Also it’s one of the very few pay-for Tower Defence games that actually left in maze-building. I can’t believe how many managed to lose that relative to a free Flash game, especially the ones that aren’t even trying to genre-blend it with something else.

        • KDR_11k says:

          Even hitting the weak spots gives only a bit of extra damage. In something like Iron Grip you can deploy your HMG and kill enemies with 1-2 bullets each, mowing them down until they overwhelm your position and shoot you dead (or a tank arrives and simply shrugs your bullets off, need explosives to crack armor). The rifle in Sanctum feels more like a waterhose, a lot comes out but very little dies from it. If there weren’t numbers flying up I’d be wondering if it even does damage.

          • LionsPhil says:

            The AR doesn’t really feel that great (unless you’ve agressively upgraded it and the waves haven’t caught up yet), but it in the right role it works wonders. Try it on one of the soakers (big, bloated gasbags on tiny legs) and see just how much their damage taken ramps up—which means when they reach hard-hitting towers, or you switch to sniper, you hurt them a LOT more. (It’s also interesting as a weapon which will “reload” without having to completely exhaust it.)

            My personal preference is usually the shotty, since if you charge-shot and get the proximity bonus it you can still blow many things apart even in the latter stages.

        • Wang Tang says:

          In the later levels, even hitting them in the weakspots doesn’t do nearly enough damage. E.g. when playing with the sniper, it still takes multiple crits (~5?) against the big versions of the “standard” creeps. But there are so many of them that it hardly makes any impact, because when you’ve downed one of them, they’ve already moved along 20% of your maze.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Yeah, the towers do tend to dominate the handguns in the latter part of a 20-wave game. You go from actually being killy to being a mop-up force for any particular troublemakers.

            They could probably do with tuning the weapon-upgrade-progression vs mob-health-progression balance.

    • Morph says:

      I think you’ve not played it much then, since some enemies have huge health bars and others die in one shot from your sniper rifle. I enjoy Sanctum because the enemies feel really varied and you’re changing tactics a lot.

  2. Flint says:

    The only tower defense game I’ve liked. The new level should give my usual playing group a good reason to return to the game after a break.

  3. smacky says:

    Love this game, put plenty of hours into it. The music is sublime and the mob designs are fun.

    My biggest gripe would also be the mobs who sponge 11 or more shots with a frickin’ sniper rifle. Sorry, I don’t care how “leveled up” a mob is. 4 sniper rounds to the head, max. Because it’s a SNIPER RIFLE, darn it.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The main problem there is the HP scaling with number of player slots. Not only does it make your weapons feel less powerful, but it means you can’t leave a hole speculatively for a friend to perhaps drop in without putting yourself at a huge disadvantage until they do. :/

  4. alundra says:

    I love this game, got it in the first indie royal and purchased the remaining dlc and soundtrack at full price.

    I support Sanctum because it comes from a cool company that keeps supporting their product by releasing dlc content that is not turning their product into a pay 2 win travesty, unlike some other defenders game out there…ahem.

    • Matt says:

      unlike some other defenders game out there…ahem.

      Don Johnson Defenders?

  5. Net_Bastard says:

    The Yogscave DLC is shit. Good thing it’s free, or else it would be up there with Oblivion Horse Armor. A completely flat, extremely short level with lines from some famous Youtube gaming channel replacing the regular announcer. And only 1 secret. Yay?

    • Vinraith says:

      “Extremely short.” What does that even mean? It’s basically the same size as any number of other Sanctum levels.

      It’s a new level with new geometry, which is always welcome. It’s got an interesting and different last wave, which is a real challeng. I, for one, am glad that the devs were kind enough to make some new content despite largely having moved on to the production of a sequel.

      Oh, and you can just turn the voices off, you know.

      • Net_Bastard says:

        The only Sanctum level I can think of that’s anywhere near as short as Yogscave is Bridge, and maybe Christmas. I did not see the last wave, so I can’t comment on that. I do love the devs for doing this as well, but still, the level is a joke.

        • Vinraith says:

          Well, I’d suggest turning the “voice” volume in settings down to zero (which totally eliminates the inane chatter) and playing through to the last wave, which is something new.