Deathtrap: a tower defence title with depth

Set the towers and spring the traps

Deathtrap Screen 1

This is a preview written by TGH contributor Nic Quinn

When Neocore Games, creator of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing series, decided to make a tower defence game, they must have had one thing in mind: Depth. And, if Deathtrap has anything to offer those looking to play an expansive tower defence game, it’s depth.

But let’s be honest here, when it comes to this genre, PC gamers are completely overwhelmed with choice. Most of the time if you’ve completed one tower defence game, you’ve completed a million of them. And unless you’re a stickler for the genre and 100 per cent completion, why would you venture back into the same game twice?

So, how does Deathtrap stand out from the crowd? Well it’s a tower defence game where your main objective is to stop hordes of monsters getting from one end of a vast battleground to a city entrance portal you’re responsible for defending. So, for those who are new to the genre the solution to stopping them is simple: traps, towers, and powers!

Set in a realm you’d liken to the lovechild of a retro RPG and a Steampunk adventure, Deathtrap has put effort into attention to detail. The menu, with all it’s floating islands and sky fortresses, are certainly easy on the eye, and thanks to some snazzy UI it’s pretty, simple and effective.

Keeping in mind that this is an Early Access title with more features to come, you start out with two characters to chose from: the “Glass Cannon” Sorceress and the Tanky Mercenary. It’s from here that you get your first taste of that sweet, sweet depth I talked about earlier.

Both classes have their own skill tree, which should prick up the ears of those who want replay value. Split into three sections – Combat Skills to make you better at fending off evil-doers; Trap Skills, which are abilities to make your traps more effective; World Skills, which have status buffs that give you bonuses like more XP or gold per kill – you’ll start off with one-third of your tree unlocked, but more become available with each level gained.

Of course, gameplay is what you’re here for and the lack of a scrolling camera for moving around the battlefield is an initial concern. Having a static camera means that if you want to know what’s happening on one side of the map you’ve actually got to move there yourself – which is strange for a game where tactics are key.

There is a mini map for you to use though, so you can see where enemies are and the path they’ll be taking so you can still plan in advance what you’re going to do.

Another concern is the placement of towers. You’re given set tower locations and can only decide on the towers and traps you’d like to place in those spaces, and even then the choices are rather limited. But, it’s only a minor annoyance, and in some ways adds an extra challenge to Deathtrap.

During the blood-splattered frantic combat, monsters drop a variety of things, from gold that you can spend in the store to upgrade equipment, to health potions to use in combat. Certain monsters also drop equipment that increases a character’s stats such as armor, resistance, damage output and even an increase to find more gold and improved magic items.

But, this is a tower defence game, so what about the towers?

Well, there are five types on offer: Mechanical Trap and Mechanical Tower, Magic Trap and it’s magical counterpart Tower and Creature. Each of these have five special towers that can be built on a specified location. These range from a “Sentry Gun tower” to “Lava Grill trap.” And, with each individual monster being different through-out your battle, the difference between winning and losing could be one wrong choice away.

While the competition is fierce in the tower defence genre, and thus in any avid fan of the genre’s Steam library, even in Deathtrap’s Early Access form it still proves to be a skyscraper of a game.

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