Alien Shooter TD lives up to every single word in its name

I don’t play tower defense games. They’re beneath me. They’re for people who want to turtle in an RTS, but they don’t want to actually play an RTS. They don’t even want an AI. At least MOBA players, who want to play an RTS without actually playing an RTS, are going up against other players. Tower defense players just want to shoot stuff that runs at them to get shot.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

If you had never written this review to tell me about this game, would it still exist? The mind boggles at how many thousands of games are getting cranked out that we’ll never even know about.

Whereas I absolutely love tower defense games because they are made for people like me, those who are too lazy to turtle in an RTS game.

They do have a pretty fine line in coating the map with utter carnage. It’s what’s made their main Shooter series fun for me even though they aren’t particularly smart games.

I always liked their [insert generic vilain name] Shooter series, but to a point, as I thought they weren’t really nicely balanced and I was hitting difficulty walls a few hours in. I’m glad this doesn’t appear to be the case here, although, honestly, I’d rather have them revise one of their older titles so people inept at action games like me could enjoy them.

A slight correction, I think: in the last paragraph, “The developers apparently haven’t heard of keyboards, as there isn’t a single one in Alien Shooter TD.”, I think it is supposed to be “keyboard shortcuts”.

So Gemcraft is the best Tower Defense game, eh? I wonder why is that. That is one boring-looking game. I almost wish we had a review of that one instead.

I tried it after reading Tom’s praise for it in another thread. I like it.

It does certainly get very difficult after around level 8 or 9. I think I need to grind money and gear to progress.

It is kind of odd that the cost for your “towers” keeps going up as they get better gear but you don’t get more money to start the level with.

I’m a big fan of TD and enjoy RTS but the problem I have is not that I’m lazy, I’m just unwilling and utterly incapable of micromanaging so many dumb units. I don’t want to have to tell my engineers to fix tanks or support frigates to repair. Do your damn jobs! It’s one of the reasons I regard AI War so highly because all that kind of fluff is – or can be – automated. More macro less micro then, please!

I’m glad you raised that ‘fifth element’ because I think the reason why I’ve never checked out Gemcraft is because it looks so god damned boring. I look at games like Revenge of the Titans and Immortal Defense and they’ve just got so much more personality, and that goes a long way for me.

I’m not wild about most progression systems either, specifically the ability to ‘grind down’ the difficulty. I want to succeed as a result of getting better as a player, not because I repeated a level enough times or sucked at it for long enough that my dudes or towers or whatever are stronger now. It just obfuscates how effectively you’re playing (or not). So I’d slot ‘splash’ or personality in where progression would go!

Still, I think I’ll stick to Infested Planet for my real-time bug killing needs. That’s part TD and RTS with gobs of style, a sweet progression system and limited grind ;-) That reminds me, I really ought to get back to its planetary campaign…

You can’t fool us @tomchick, we remember Defender Chronicles!

Not everyone who play TD games want them to play fast and furious. I play TD games to chill and relax. I may even be binge watching a TV serie in netflix at the same time. To me TD games need some sort of “puzzle-ske” element where the game makes me think. And theres a “zen garden” quality to them. Where I can watch the carnage from outside and celebrate the efficiency of my setup.

Art can only exist when we create artificial limitations, and Turret Defense is the genre with more limitations (so much that is a subreal genre), because of this and the creative ways artist break the limitations, TD games are very interesting in interesting ways. Is not a minor genre. Is Cinema d’auteurrrrrrrrrrr for videogames.

Same here. And Tom mentions that in this review as well. But that’s another reason why I didn’t like Gemcraft. It’s too complex. And boring-looking.

I’d take umbrage at the statement that TD games are for people who turtle in RTS but I see through the veil of sarcasm. I do have to wonder if Tom is a turtler because he sure seems to be playing a lot of TD lately.

As I play a ton of RTS, but all single player, I wonder if there is a correlation between people who like SP RTS skirmishes / campaigns and TD (I’m not much of a turtler, but love SP RTS).

BTW - Alien Shooter TD is a wonderful entry into Tower Defense. I like all the difficulty levels and it’s not just tougher aliens, the wave composition actually changes when you get to Hard and it Expert adds on 5-6 more waves in addition to completely mixing the composition up.

It presents a challenge in that you can only select a small handful of towers (4 so far through the 10th map) to use during the level. I agree that there is a lot of strategy in how to spend money to optimize getting the bigger weapons. I recommend heavy investment in your supply (mines, TNT and supply drones) before you get into the level to offset $$ spent in the level, particularly on the harder difficulties.

This. I don’t want to be able to grind my way to success. What is the best tower defense game where you can’t grind your way to success?

Edit: Maybe I’ll pose this question in the TD thread.

I have grown horribly tired of TD games but am really enjoying this one. Earning stars on all difficulty levels to grind for more cash to buy crates with legendary weapons, level up the soldiers, get new equipment…so far in 2 hours I’m really having a good time with this.

I’m a huge TD fan and i turtle in RTS’.

In most i don’t think you can. I think Alien shooter does this a lot more than any TD i’ve played but even then, if you dont want to grind tons to make things easy, simply don’t go out of your way to grind tons.

The reason i feel that Alien Shooter does grinding more is because you can significantly increase the power of your towers by getting them higher level and giving them legendary weapons (which are both cheap and good).

Also, Defender’s Quest is still my favorite TD. A lot of other good ones though.

You don’t always have to go out of your way to grind. If you play and fail in some TD games you still earn ‘stuff’ to make yourself stronger. So, I guess I’m wondering what the best TD game is that you don’t earn stuff for failure. I like different grades of victory (like earning more stars), having a difficulty setting to make things easier if needed - but I don’t want to pass a level because I failed 20 times and got ‘stuff’ so I was overpowered enough to pass on try #21 even though I still sucked.

I’m also OK with earning stuff based on your best performance. That reduces the grinding because you only get stuff when you exceed your prior performance.

I think once you play it enough, it does expose some issues.

The progression system has problems. I’m on level 11 or so and i can’t remember the last time i changed my equipment. Boxes just contain low level items or useless items. Sometimes even higher level items are just worse than lower level ones, even if the higher level ones are also higher quality. This doesn’t seem to make any sense.

Balance problems with the towers. Why should i take a rocket launcher troop? Don’t even pay to hire him, the plasma guy is way better from what i can tell. The laser one is also kind of questionable.

From what i can tell you want Plasma, Cryo gun guy to slow, and then two of the following: Shotgun, assault rifle Sniper. The sniper starts off pretty bad, but once you get him some levels and a better gun they can do very well.

The plasma guy is just insanely good, but you need to hold the line for a while to afford him and then their spots are limited.

I don’t know why you would not just use the cheapest cryo 99% of the time. If you have absolutely unlimited money in a mission you can upgrade to a more expensive cryo later but you’re still never going to use fire probably.

Four slots is too small to experiment at all. You basically require plasma and cryo. Then you need at least one low cost troop, which laser and rocket cannot be.

I strongly disagree, Murbella. The different troops, weapons, upgrades, and skill tree configurations have different effects on ammo flow, damage vs armor, area effect vs single-target damage, rate of fire vs damage per shot, and so forth. I have no idea whether the game has the sort of “I win” combo that you think you’ve identified, but if so, I don’t think you’ve identified it. :)


Gemcraft is just such a deep and comprehensive package. I haven’t reviewed it because I don’t feel like I’ve wrapped my head around it.

But, yeah, it is pretty dry. You have to be willing to get all cerebral with your tower defense, because it’s sure not going to appeal to your inner action hero.

Hmm, you’d almost think the less powerful weapons – which are cheaper to supply – remain useful the further you get into the game. Imagine that! :)

I kind of bristle at calling Infested Planet a tower defense game. It’s way way too good for that. I consider it a bona fide RTS.

I bet that still holds up. In fact, I bet it’s still installed on my iPad.

I love this comment. I wish I’d read it earlier so I could have stolen it.

It’s getting harder and harder to troll you guys.

But I’m not a turtler. I don’t tend to turtle in RTSs for the simple fact that I’m usually playing against people who aren’t as good as me. Not because I’m really good, but because most of my friends don’t play RTSs as much as me. So it’s usually more effective to boom or just rush.