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: