Here there be Tower Defense discussion


Yesterday I spent some time with Deathtrap, the new free GwG game on Xbox Live for X1. It has potential.

I’m scared of two things:

  1. That it will eventually require a lot of micromanagement like Orcs Must Die eventually did in later levels.

  2. That it will grow too complicated like how Gemcraft starts out. I know a lot of people love it, but too much complexity in tower defense games is not for me, since it’s a genre I enjoy playing while relaxing.

So far, playing the first two levels, this isn’t quite the case. Though I had a much easier time playing as an Axe-wielding warrior rather than the spell-wielding sorceress. Using the sorceress I had to micromanage her a lot, and doing the right spells and facing the right direction and timing things were a little too important, as opposed to how you lay your traps. With the warrior guy, I can just stand there and swing away and take the hits from the monsters.


Yeah it’s the rotating that leads to my feeling very reactive. When to build vs when to just move, especially when aliens start coming on two fronts, is highly tricky. And waves move so fast, feels like levels are barely started before they’re ending. It just feels totally different than just about any other tower defense and my brain is having trouble adjusting. Maybe just need to watch a few YouTube play throughs.


Has anyone ever played Defense Grid as a VR game? I was wondering what the purpose would be and if it adds anything to the table (besides, oh well this is cool).


I played through all of Defense Grid 2 on the Rift and loved it. It doesn’t particularly add anything other than the sense of presence of though, the whole 3D diorama look was great fun. The control scheme I guess works well, I never cared I didn’t have the normal mouse.

Oh, they did add a bunch of little gems you pick up by looking around but really that’s it.


I have tried recently GemCraft and Dungeon Warfare. Some of the current better TD games for PC. Of the two I like a bit more Dungeon Warfare because feels more physical the traps really push the mobs, or put them on fire, and they sometimes run away from a explosion and end on a lava pool. And is not pure RPG dice rolling, but a simulation. But at the same time because is pixel art and tiles, it feel somewhat predictable and exploitable. Theres something off, anyway, is more a problem with TD games when you add RPG. When I am failing to conquer a map, is because I have not grinded enough, or because my strategy is bad?


So I bought Defense Zone 2 during the past Steam sale and I’ve been playing it. TD wise, it’s a nice solid military entry. You get areas to place towers and each tower has a footprint and it may or may not fit. I find it kind of touchy in predicting if what I want to place will fit. Oh sure, one tower will fit easily and even two, but the range of the towers is pretty limited at level 1, and sometimes it sucks to place a tower early only to not using it for a bit.

The game has 3 difficulty levels, and a bronze, silver, gold within each one and gold requires zero units getting through. With a mixture of small units & heavy units, along with air (which is only targettable by two towers that hit both ground/air), it’s pretty easy to let one slip through, so you might find yourself replaying levels a few times to get the gold. I’m doing it on Medium and finding I have to usually play a level at least 2 times and sometimes many more. I haven’t tried hard yet.

You get a bomber you can call every so often to help with levels and it does come in handy as an oh shit button.

The only real downside is the sound design which doesn’t add much for me so I just mute it and listen to Pandora. Which is fine really, I don’t feel like I’m missing much.

Anyone else try this? Because it has leaderboards!


I thnk I played the first version of this game. I will give this one a try. Is there an iOS version ( seems like there is) not sure if a leader list is cross platform.

I need another simpler TD in between my Gemcraft leveling!


Why would you play that instead of this?

I guess it’s because of the sale? I’m showing they’re both $5 right now.

And while I’m here, I should admit that I’m hooked on this stupid thing:

But after I’ve done a few levels to unlock a few things, I find myself wondering why I’m not just playing Infested Planet for the killing of waves of alien bugs or Gemcraft for the exquisite TDing.



I haven’t played DFZ 3, but the gameplay is very similar looking at the videos except for a few new turrets. Do note that DFZ 2 (and likely 3) will require a lot of hours to get through. I’m only on Level 11 of 30 levels in DFZ 2 and Steam says I’ve played 11 hours - so it’s about an hour per level (which is retrying it 2-3 times to get gold) as these levels are long - 30 waves is normal, but I think level 10 had 40 waves.

I’ll have to look into that Alien Shooter TD. Thanks for the heads up!


If you never played the original Alien Shooter I have fine memories of it. How accurate thos memories are I cannot say but I did buy them all (up till the zombie nonsense versions) and I recall enjoying them immensely.


Well I just sunk two hours into Alien Shooter TD and I have to say this is phenomenal. I am a slight bit and when I say slight bit I’m exaggerating to a great extent, OCD complex on completing everything. So imagine my glee when I finish a level on hard and it unlocks Expert? Sign me up!

And the cash you get for each successive difficulty level? Free ammo crates! New weapons! $$ for new training.

My only fear is that I just completed the 3rd level and I already have bazooka guys so I may be a bit over the power curve. I think they may intend for you to complete the game on easy + normal and then once you’ve done all the levels come back and do hard, but I like to see how far I can push it and in the 3 levels I’ve done, I go through all 4 difficulty levels. It’s a nice change actually because the difficulty does ramp up, but by then you’ve played the level 2 times on easy + normal, so you’re used to the map.

mines + explosives are a must have and for the $$ you make, it really doesn’t make sense to mess around so I say use them liberally.

Nice find. Thanks for recommending this. I’ll be sinking quite a few hours into this ;-)


I think I’m 15 or so levels in and it’s still fun, also playing as the melee guy. Not much micromanagement as far as I can see.


Late to Dungeon Warfare (another HT to @amandachen), I really like it so far. Although I agree it should give partial xp for failure.

I also missed the Kingdom Rush Frontiers release. This is interesting because at one point the devs had said they weren’t going to port it to PC EVER. Glad they changed their minds, it’s really fun. I wonder if it will get lots of additional content like the original did.


Defense Grid, the board game kickstarter


Huh - I’m intrigued, but worried that it could turn out too fiddly for my tastes.


I’d be interested, fiddliness and all, if it weren’t a miniatures game and therefore $30 or $40 more than it would be otherwise.


I don’t consider Tower Defense videogames. To me are zen gardens and sometimes puzzles. Puzzles that when are completed are beautiful to look at because flow like a waterfall in the Hanging Gardens.


What is the best tower defense game where you can’t grind your way to success?


I’ve been noodling this and wondering what is considered a grind?

For me, Prime World Defenders is the worst of the lot for grinding. You get random cards to fill out your deck, and can merge cards to build more powerful towers, and is definitely needed to progress.

But would you call Orcs Must Die a grind when it’s very hard to 5-star it with the towers you have the first time you go through? for example, I’ll play all the levels and get a lot of stars to upgrade my traps and then go back & try to 5-star them.

Similarly, Alien Shooter TD if you just play through on Normal and don’t attempt any of the other difficulty levels, you’re going to have a lot less of everything to upgrade weapons & skills, so you’ll be at a disadvantage.

For Gemcraft, I don’t count it as grinding, but collecting shadow cores help upgrade your base values and definitely help.

For me, a grind is only those games where I literally have to play levels again & again to collect points in order to progress. Prime World Defenders is the worst. Dungeon Warfare had elements of this as well - and I can remember being frustrated having to grind to get by a few levels.

So what do you consider a grind? I think Defense Grid 1 is pretty grind-free, while DG2 had some elements since you can upgrade your towers.


Agreed, defining “grind” is key. Tricky, even, as the TD genre could be considered “grindy” due to offering carrots via repetition. Is it “grinding” to repeat something (e.g. a map) if you’re having fun doing it?

I agree with Tman’s answer (the post covers outstanding games that fans of the genre should try!); “Defense Grid” is probably the best in terms of overall quality and lack of “grinding.”