Hero Defense, a unique take on the tower defense genre, was released by developers Happy Tuesday on May 31st 2018. While not a “pure” tower defense adventure, this game has many different aspects that lend to an impressive level of replayability.
Hero Defense is different from the classic tower defense game in that, instead of towers, you get heroes to place around the game map. Each hero has a different attack style with effect, and each has a different type of monster they are most effective at destroying. The waves of baddies follow a colored path (sometimes up to four different colors, sometimes flowing out of two or more locations simultaneously), so hero placement is important. However, the ability to reposition any hero at any time makes things a little easier. Controls are primarily handled through the mouse with point, click, and drag techniques, but the camera movements can be awkward to get used to.
As your heroes fight and defeat the masses of undead, they will gain experience along with skill points, used to purchase progressively better skills. In between maps you’ll have the option to visit the town where you can use the Academy (upgrade heroes or change skills), Forge (upgrade weapons and equip runes), Bank (exchange gold for gems, a currency used in upgrading runes, weapons, and some buildings), or the Town Hall (repository for monsters, maps, and everything else you encounter in your battles). Progression through the campaign rewards you with runes you can equip to your heroes’ weapons that gives you bonuses to range, damage, etc. As your heroes do battle in the maps, just about every dispatched enemy gives you “orbs” of energy that you can use to either add another hero to the battlefield or upgrade the hero already in play.
Okay, so that’s the nuts and bolts. Now, you’re probably asking, “But is it GOOD?” The answer is a resounding yes! The game plays well, no glitches to speak of, and is genuinely fun. The graphics are great and the sound effects are well done. The variety of enemies is respectable, especially given that the developers have recently added on a new island with new maps, hero runes, and baddies. The gameplay and RPG elements are great features, especially since you can swap your skills around for free, install better runes in your weapons for more bonuses, and customize your heroes for the numerous post-campaign map runs you can do.
All of that aside, two of my favorite things about Hero Defense are the voice acting and the story-driven campaign. Yes, there’s actually a story of sorts for you to play through. There’s character dialogue and the voice acting is actually pretty good. The new DLC map stages exclude voice acting though. Another great feature is that you can return and play the maps again at different levels for different rewards like gems, gold, and runes, and complete achievement-type goals.
Hero Defense definitely shows promise, especially for fans of the tower defense genre. It’s a great offering from the folks at Happy Tuesday and I thoroughly enjoyed playing through the campaign. The $29.99 USD price tag seems a bit steep. However, the developers added a new DLC pack for free already, and if they continue on that course then quite possibly it will be a good buy.