A-Mazing: Defense Grid 2 Reducing TD Clutter

Towers, defending.

Playing tower defence is a lot like planning a holiday for someone you hate. Start their day with a sticky honey massage, then a beekeeping demonstration, followed by wrestling, and finally bring the children back from the funfair. Every TD has this core of arranging a terrible stroll of damage types and status effects, but many dabble in mazing too–building obstacles to making routes twist round and double back, sending the tour bus past that landfill as many times as possible.

This usually involves plonking down the cheapest tower simply to fill space or a plain wall block, which are no fun at all. Continuing to look like one of the most polished TDs, Defense Grid 2 has shown off a fancy multipurpose mazing block and oh, the aliens’ holiday will be awful.

This may seem a small thing to be excited about, but Hidden Path’s attention to detail made Defense Grid: The Awakening gleam. With an extra spitshine, it’s doing away with the necessity to throw up cheap guns tower to build a maze, introducing the Boost Tower. It’s a cheap chunky block, like many games’ obstructions, but can also be built upon. This does away with another fiddly TD bit, trying to replace a cheap mazing tower with something fancier when you have the cash without opening up a hole for floods of horrible monsters. Refinement!

Building towers atop a Boost opens up special upgrades too, either boosting its damage, disrupting enemies’ shields and stealth, or boosting points it scores. The original game’s levels stuck a great balance between linear paths and mazing zones, and I enjoy my mazing only in moderation, so I’m glad to see it get more attention in the sequel.

Defense Grid 2 is due later this year. It’s in closed beta testing at the moment, and it seems oodles of keys are being given away right now. Here, look at this mazing:


  1. Yachmenev says:

    Defence Grid 1 certainly is THE best tower defence game there is, so I’ve have high hopes for this one!

    • Pazguato says:


    • Geebs says:

      I agree with you about DG1 (although Star Defence on the iPhone is a close second), and I backed the DG2 kickstarter. I don’t know if I’ve just burned out on tower defence since then, or just that TD games need careful balancing which hasn’t happened in DG2 yet, but I’ve not particularly enjoyed what I’ve played so far; the strategies are almost identical to the ones which worked in the original, and hence not very interesting to implement.

      • bstard says:

        DG2 was kick started, but ended up in an (good) expansion for DG1. This new upcoming game has nothing todo with kickstarting. Also Fieldrunners2 and some WC3/SC2 mods are very good, like Gemtd or Eletd.

        • Geebs says:

          Uhh, excepting that the reason I had a key already was that I was a kickstarter backer, and all of the backer emails have referred to it as being related to DG2. Other than that, I’m not even sure it’s the same company!

        • Jalan says:

          It has everything to do with the Kickstarter and then some. Just because Hidden Path didn’t get the funds they expected through the Kickstarter doesn’t mean they were just closing up shop and going with the expansion and nothing else. They sought funding through outside sources (I guess from the looks of things, Alienware/Dell is one such source? – edit: seems like it was 505 Games and an investment firm) and were determined to bring the sequel to the masses with that additional capital.

    • Howard says:

      DG1 is *technically* the best Tower Defence, but since they completely screwed the pooch with the leader-boards, it managed to render itself utterly redundant. Hopefully the launch of this one will not be so calamitously broken as the first.

  2. LionsPhil says:

    Ooh, awesome; I’d missed this was adding co-op, and with some interesting dynamics.

    • subedii says:

      Given that the game’s still in beta, it’s handy that they have an option to play SP games whilst it’s searching for multiplayer matchups. I wouldn’t mind that in more games.

  3. sabrage says:

    That’s nice of them to include the thing Sanctum did three years ago.

    • Gap Gen says:

      It’s not the biggest USP, I suppose.

    • wwwhhattt says:

      and Tiberian Sun did before that (etc)

    • Distec says:

      Because when it comes to games, he who does it first gets dibs infinity

    • Moraven says:

      Been around in TDs for awhile.

      I think the biggest thing is that is also enables an upgrade tree and will open options for those going for high scores.

    • Dreforian says:

      I would say that DG2 taking a page from Sanctum 1’s ebook isn’t such a terrible thing (actually welcome!). The lack of awareness of this fact in the article is what makes it off-putting. Remember the floor modifiers? Remember slowing and amplifying and damaging? Orcs Must Die remembers. Hidden Path should grab those from Sanctum 1 as well, use every part of the Path but the….squeal?

      Also, those graphics look dangerously shiny and oversized. I hate not being able to see what’s going on. I need FEEDBACK but not OVERLOAD. In DG I learned to tell exactly how much weight a tower of particular type and level could pull. And I didn’t lose track of enemies because of bulky towers or orgies of lasers and bloom.

      Also I’m starting a band called Orgy of Lasers if there isn’t already one, who’s in?

  4. Armante says:

    Keys are gone

  5. damoqles says:

    I hate the looks of the new tier 3 cannon tower. Love the game, though.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, it’s like it’s wheezing a bellow at the enemy. This is not how recoil works.

      • subedii says:

        I was put more in mind of a caterpillar. But yeah, struck me as odd as well. Although I think it’s only one I’ve seen I wasn’t too much of a fan of. I can live with it.