It’s not unreasonable to suggest that orcs have an image problem. In virtually every film, book, and game they appear in they're ugly, violent, and often idiotic.
The upside of this reputation is that they're seen as brutal and uncompromising, something that has earned them a starring role in World Siege: Orc Defender.
Orc Defender is an online multiplayer conquest game that utilises the iPhone’s GPS capabilities to let you create fearsome warriors to take over your street, town, or country. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the gameplay to match its grand ambitions.
Orc-arina of Time
Custom characters can belong to any of six classes: Champion, Warrior, Druad, Overseer, Hunter, and Monk, each of which has bonuses for Melee, Magic, Block, Speed, and Health stats. Orcs can be equipped with weapons, shields, and rings as well as spells and potions to give them the edge in battle.
You can name your character whatever you like. There's a random name-generator, but it seems fairly useless as nearly every name it suggests has already been used by another player.
Once you've created your orc it’s time to head off to the map and find some opponents. The game requires you to be persistently online and uses the iPhone’s GPS to position you on the map.
Here you can position forts, strongholds, and keeps wherever you want, from your back garden to the Eiffel tower. You win territory by defeating other players' defenders, which are indicated by red flags with filters ensuring that only opponents of similar strength are displayed.
Skies of Orc- adia
Battle arenas are suitably dark and dingy, with 3D characters sufficiently detailed to show every hideous aspect of your orc. However, animations are not as fluid or natural as they could be.
Swiping the top, middle, or bottom of the screen launches an attack on your opponent, with the first competitor to reduce the other’s health to zero declared the winner.
Successful battles are rewarded with experience, which increases your orc’s level, as well as spoils of war such as coins that you can use in the bazaar to purchase more powerful equipment and items.
Territory gained by victories is defended by orc defenders, which are different from your custom character. These defenders are strengthened by defeating trainer creatures such as imps and dragons, with stronger beasts available from the bazaar.
The more territory and items you hold, the greater your influence and your defence bonus.
The multiplayer aspects of Orc Defender are its main selling point, and although witnessing your army conquer large swathes of the Home Counties does hold a curious appeal the location-based features feel rather gimmicky and the AR features extend to nothing beyond a token gesture.
Combat is limited and repetitive, and with only a handful of moves possible in battle there doesn’t appear to be much skill involved as battles are generally won by the orc with the higher level. This problem is exacerbated by the passive nature of the multiplayer.
Success is ultimately dependent on increasing the level of your defenders - something which is time-consuming and not very entertaining.
World Siege: Orc Defenders is not without its merits, but the limited execution of its location features and its unimpressive combat system ensure that it doesn't quite fulful its ambitious vision.