I’ve been giving this Tower Defence game called Evil Defenders a spin since it launched on the Switch. Developed by Crazy Panda, this simple yet addictive Tower Defence game puts you in command of a demon tribe who are defending against the Human invasion into their land.
You defend by deploying Orc Cannons, Goblin Archers, Skeleton Soldiers, Evil Mages, and Dark Creatures in buildable areas to halt the advances of Humankind into your land. From time to time, you get to feel cool by summoning a devastating Lightning Strike to show them who’s the boss, You can teleport your enemies, and even spawn your very own emissary of death from the depths of hell to ‘Incredible Hulk-SMASH’ their ranks away.
Now that we’ve gotten the introduction out of the way, let’s jump into the details!
Graphics and Frames.
One of the things you’d definitely see in Tower Defence games is that there is always a lot of things going on at high speed on your screen. That being said, I was on the lookout for any framerate dips when the Towers are desperately trying to shoot down the numerically massive number of enemies creeping through the lanes, but I’ve experienced only smooth gameplay so far on my Switch.
Visually the game is not the most beautiful game you’d see, but then again the game came out on PC in 2015 so you can’t really expect much from a 4-year old indie made tower defence game. The genre itself was never famed for astonishing graphics so to speak, but the graphical and visual effects in Evil Defenders still look sharp enough to provide an acceptable treat.
Music and Sound Effects
There’s music but nothing worth praising to be honest. Sound effects during gameplay though, they do provide a good atmosphere especially when shots from the cannon land, giving that bombardment oomph.
The game is fairly straight forward. You defend a map against an invasion and after you successfully do so, you’d unlock a higher difficulty mode for that said map as well as a new map. There are 6 difficulty modes for each mission and a total of 15 missions in total, so that makes 90 different playable experiences. There is a Star system that ranks your performance, 3-Stars being the best and gives the best rewards.
Each Mission can be replayed however many times you want, making it possible to farm/grind in this game before proceeding further. This may seem like a nice choice to have but in reality, you are actually being forced to stay at a map/level for a few more rounds to get more Souls for skill upgrades, because you are simply not strong enough to score a perfect 3-Stars or even survive in the next map.
It made zero sense to me how my current skills and upgrades that earned me 3-Stars on all 6 modes of this one mission, to be so underpowered I couldn’t even get past the first mode of the next mission.
Though one of the things I applaud the most about Evil Defenders is the inclusion of the Speed Mode. You can set the speed of which the game runs while in-game. Too slow? Set it to x2 the speed, it goes up to x4. If things get too intense, simply get it back down to normal. All within a tap away on the Switch’s screen.
There are 5 base Towers in total – Orc Cannons, Goblin Archers, Skeleton Soldiers, Evil Mages, and Dark Creatures. Each of these towers can be upgraded mid-game giving them a boost in damage and range. Upon reaching a certain level of upgrades, the towers can be evolved into one of 3 specialist type towers. I.e An Archer Goblin Tower can evolve into a Sniper Hut, Machine Gun Pitbox, or Bombardier.
Different maps would require a different approach and when played on a higher difficulty, which type of specialist towers you deploy would make a difference.
Currencies and Skills.
There are two currencies, Gold and Souls. Golds are earned by killing creeps in the game, they are used to build and upgrade your towers. Excess gold at the end of the game will be converted to Souls. Souls are used for unlocking and upgrading your skills and they are ESSENTIAL to your progression. They come in the form of passive buffs for your towers and give you bonuses that would help your gameplay like Bonus Gold per kill, Shorter Cooldown for Summons, etc. It can be said that the game revolves around gathering as many Souls as you can for upgrades, this is the only way you can effectively take on the next map.
You can play the game using the joy-cons or just the touchscreen. It works both ways, but I’d prefer playing it on the touchscreen anytime. Using the touchscreen, you can land say, a Lightnight strike precisely where you want it and as soon as you tap it on the screen. The touchscreen also allows for quicker screen scrolling and overall menu navigation.
The joy-cons provide a firmer grip and sense of control when the switch is resting on the palm of your hands while you play, but it’s slow when you try to scroll through the screen using the analog sticks. This is part of the reason why I’ve never enjoyed playing this game in docked mode.
Being able to quickly Upgrade Towers, Quick Sell, Cast Skills on your enemies, are all important part of a Tower Defence game. I’d vouch for Touchscreen all the way.
With all that being said – Here’s what I really liked about the game.
- So far so good on the framerates. No irritating drops that would slip an enemy or two through the defences!
- Simple and Addictive tower defence gameplay that really puts strategic thinking to a test.
- Humourous plot albeit they are limited.
- Being able to set the in-game speed up to X4 makes this game less time-consuming. Imagine defending against 30 waves each round in a game that you need to grind several rounds of, normal speed would make it unbearable.
Here’s what I wished was better.
- Playing the game on docked mode or handheld by using the joy-cons is suicidal in such a reaction and pace demanding game. The game is only playable via the Touchscreen (handheld) on higher difficulties. This made me think, why didn’t I just play the Mobile version then?
- Difficulties between maps are not balanced.
- The plot is quite interesting, I only wish they’d elaborated more.
I was looking for a simple mediocre time sinking game and Evil Defenders fits the bill perfectly. The game’s balancing issue is one of the things that really bugged me, but even so, I still can’t stop playing it. Its simple mechanics, cute cartoonish graphics, versatility in gameplay speed, slight RPG element, kept drawing me into it. The game plays better without the joy-cons, but if I am to rely on the touchscreen alone, wouldn’t it make more sense to play the mobile version of the game instead? Good game nonetheless, I look forward to their next one, if the developer ever decided on making another.