Aegis Defenders is the latest game to prove that you can pretty much just roll a pair of dice to determine two genres to slam together. The tower defense platformer is absolutely gorgeous, set on a post-ruination Earth ruled by a few remaining AIs. Most technology is viewed as dark magic so main characters Bart and his granddaughter Clu naturally have a fascination and need for it. They’re ‘Ruinhunters’ attempting to save their village, but won’t be able to without an ancient artifact (and $65,000 from the generous public). It’s made by the extraordinarily-named GUTS Department and you can see their pitch video plus thoughts on a preview demo below.
While I’m often disparaging about pitches that look more like release trailers and offer no developer insights, being exceedingly pretty is one way to win me back.
At first I was surprised the demo I played wasn’t released to the public, but came to understand why. It’s frustrating because dying sets you back pretty significantly. Redoing stuff you’ve already completed is boring but you still have to pay a lot of attention because it’s also quite difficult, with enemies taking many shots to go down. Because it’s difficult it also ends up happening a lot. “Dying” isn’t actually that, either: even one low-health monster getting near the Aegis you protect means game over and repeating the last five minutes.
But that’s balance, and the baseline of fun is there. The characters feel very different in both the defendy and platformy parts. Clu has an easier time beating individual monsters, while Bart can reach different parts of the level and builds automated defences.
There’s talk of big updates soon, so perhaps they’ve managed to get the new demo–mentioned in its TIGSource forum thread–ready. I hope something playable will be released, at the very least so people can see the brilliant animation in action. If you decide to pitch in, a copy of the finished game–predicted to be in December 2015–will cost you $15, while $40 gives beta access. It’s also over on Greenlight and you can catch some more beautiful art on its Tumblr.