Orcs Must Die 2 (PC)
Gaming has gone through many phases in its short time as an industry. It has always been possible to play for countless hours, eating dots, destroying alien invasions, even bouncing a block of pixels from one end of the screen to the other but since the turn of the century more and more games have been becoming life consuming practices. Whether it be losing ourselves in a WoW, playing through a massive campaign of hundreds of hours in Oblivion or battling online in StarCraft and Counter Strike (to name just a few) gaming became complex.
Despite this move towards massive games, franchises and the like two different advances in technology allowed another area of the gaming industry to flourish. Smartphones (and tablets) along with online distribution like Steam, XBox Live and the PlayStation Network allowed small studios to release their games at low cost to a wide range of consumers. These didn't need to be the most complex or graphically intensive titles either, it is often about creativity and simplicity of gameplay when releasing "indie" games.
One game which falls easily into the low cost, addictive category is Orcs Must Die. Even keeping the name simple the idea was to stop a flow of enemies, orcs unsurprisingly, from reaching the end of the level using any means necessary to kill them. In Orcs Must Die 2 more orcs of all shapes and sizes must die and we have hundreds of ways to entertain ourselves in the process.
Orcs Must Die 2 offers a simple concept. Our enemies enter the level through one location and try to leave via another. Our job is to use a range of items and skills at our disposal to stop this from happening. The Orcs come in waves, which we have control over in terms of starting them off, and prior to this can use our budget to buy traps and items which will aid us in disposing of the enemy.
Kill an orc and the initial reward is more cash to spend during the levels and creating combo moves and streaks increases the value. We are also monitored during the levels and our performance graded which allows us to open up additional items and levels the more successful we are.
Adding to the simplistic third person gameplay are little aspects such as environments also affecting the gameplay, we can use the game world to damage the orcs initially in the cave levels by ensuring mining carts will hit their path (a suggested path for the orcs is shown to us before the waves).
Weapons are hugely diverse and while we start with a simple gun, pit to slow the orcs down and some automatic spikes the more advanced weapons start to appear soon after. This allows us to start chaining attacks for maximum fun, for example placing a catapult style block so that it throws the orcs back into an area full of spikes or spears. Various gameplay styles are also present including single player, co-op, endless and the like which add value.
Graphics and Audio
The developer has kept the visuals to a nice, simple cartoon style for Orcs Must Die 2 and this ties in well with the humorous script. By keeping the graphics simple it allows us to focus on the important level design as the action becomes more frantic and the additional benefit is that our framerate remains high at all times. The clear visuals also add to the fun as we are able to watch the orcs demise in ever more amusing ways, and often with a nice splatter of blood. The only issue is that at 5760x1080 some work needs done as the game often doesn't accommodate the menus or gameplay as well as a standard single screen resolution.
The audio is also decent in Orcs 2 with some intentionally cheesy voice overs which suit the game style perfectly and plenty of varied sound effects add to the overall feel.
Orcs Must Die 2 offers hours of entertaining gameplay with hugely addictive aspects. If there is any significant fault it is that the game eases the player in too well, keeping the initial levels a little simple and far from action packed as we learn the basics. As the challenge increases along with the number of orcs and our potential attack/defences the enjoyment improves significantly making the game well worth the low £11.99 price tag.