Just when you thought the tower defence genre had shot its last bullet into one final wave of baddies, along comes Alien Creeps TD, another crack at a genre now so well-established that one wonders whether there any new ideas left to implement.
This one has an alien theme, as you might have guessed, and involves a big brash human army attempting to drive back the invading threat.
It's free-to-play, so that means I'll be playing and reviewing it over the course of a week, updating you on my findings across a total of three updates.
Ready? Then let's proceed.First impressions
The game opens with an introduction to your compatriots. General Steele supposedly runs the operation, but you're the one in charge of placing towers and upgrading assets during encounters.
Tessa Sparks is the engineer who researches how to build better towers, and trains your Heroes to be more effective in combat.
Then there's Haxor, the archvillain. He's an alien and he's looking to... I dunno... invade Earth, I guess?
To stop him and his minions doing this, you place towers along a pre-determined path that your foes will walk along. These towers contain machine guns, lightning weapons, rockets, lasers, and squads of infantry. They chip away at enemy health bars, and keep the bad guys from reaching your base.
In addition to these structures, you also have your Heroes. These are powerful units that earn Gold with every kill they make, and can be improved to battle harder and faster.
You can position them wherever you like on the map, usually to lend a helping hand in an area that your defence may be slightly lacking.
Otherwise though, this is a standard tower defence game, for better or for worse.
So far Alien Creeps TD is just about the right level of challenge, and the upgrade paths for my towers and units seem interesting. I'm hoping this continues into my next few days with the game.Day 3: Creeping along
After a few days of training my heroes, upgrading my turrets, and returning every day to collect my free rewards, I'm still finding that I'm enjoying Alien Creeps TD. And that doesn't happen very often with tower defence games these days.
One of the things I really like is that each day I return I receive Air Strikes. These help give me the edge during battles, and the fact that they're free gives me an extra reason to come back and give a particularly troublesome mission another go. I feel, almost, like the game is trying to help me win.
I'm finding replaying missions I've already completed a bit of a drag though. There are different difficulty levels to try, but if you're finding progress slow then grinding for the currency you need to upgrade your towers and beat later levels is a process that plods along.
There are Challenges set by General Steele based around surviving lots of random stages, and these alleviate the grind somewhat, but so far I've found them very tough and not won a great deal of them.Day 7: Payment wall
I've hit a wall with Alien Creeps TD, and I don't feel like I can progress much further without dipping into my wallet and forking out some cash, or spending a serious amount of time grinding for currency.
I just can't make progress on the level I'm stuck on without upgrading the towers I have, and the amount of currency I earn with each battle I repeat just isn't enough. And playing them over and over and over becomes really boring.
Happily, with each new level comes highly detailed maps to play on, and fresh enemies to deal with.
There are flying units that can't be thwarted by soldiers, heavily protected baddies that require serious amounts of fire-power to take down, and little zippy swines that are at your base's doors in the blink of an eye. Figuring out how to deal with them is as fun as it is complex and challenging.
I'm also learning how to better use my hero. They can get to different parts of the map quickly to lend support where needed, and knowing exactly where to put them is a skill all of its own.
Alien Creeps TD is a good game then, but you need to spend a little money or a lot of time if you want to get the most out of it. If you're jonesing for another tower defence game, and have some cash burning a hole in your pocket, this might well be for you.How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below. Click here to learn about our free-to-play review policy.