Master of Defence
I started playing videogames more than 20 years ago, and it's somehow good and bad at the same time to realize that I still fall into the trap of thinking that I can play any random game for just 10 minutes and then quit to get back to work. Because some titles simply won't let you do that.
Master of Defence was developed by Voodoo Dimention, a young Russian company founded and run by Arthur Ostapenko and Alex Backlanov.The concept resembles the gameplay you may or may not know from the Tower Defence maps for WarCraft III. Your main objective is to protect your own people against waves of monsters. Don't let the screenshots trick you into thinking that MoD is about controlling units. This is actually more of a puzzle game. Each map features a path the enemies use to get to your location. In order to keep them from reaching your castle you have to place defense towers on the map.
There are three basic types: cannon towers will only shoot at ground troops whereas magic towers will target flying enemies. Plant towers will harm both, ground and aerial units, but, obviously, they're less effective against the corresponding monsters than the specialized types. Each tower can be upgraded several times. You'll benefit from improvements in several ways: the tower can shoot further, it'll fire more projectiles per second and it's going to do more damage overall. As you may guess, pushing the upgrade button and listening to the 'click' sound after the build-up is done has something very satisfying about it.
Placing towers or improving them requires gold. This resource is earned by killing monsters. You'll also get a bigger amount of it after each wave. Same for experience, which is the resource needed for the RPG component of MoD. You can research various magical upgrades and increase their efficiency or boost some basics such as range and damage.
Cold magic will enable you to build ice rocks. They shoot projectiles that slow down enemies. At some point it'll pretty much inevitable to use them, e.g. against larger enemies that show up occasionally. You can place fire traps on the path, which will hurt any ground troops who run through them. All improvements you get by investing EXP will carry over to the levels to come.
The challenge you face is to find the right spot for towers on the map, the right mix and the right upgrade scheme in order to defeat the monsters. Currently there are six maps in the game, the latest one was added just last week. It took me an extended evening session to beat them all. What's really creepy about MoD is though how it keeps me glued to the screen whenever I play it, in spite of my having gone through it several times by now. I'm not kidding, it just happened again while I was taking screenshots. Trying out new strategies simply is that tempting.
It would be really nice to to have some more levels or an editor in the game. Still, the current levels make it to keep you busy for a while since you will go back and try out new approaches in order to find alternative solutions to beat a mission or simply top the highscore achieved by other players. MoD also features a Survival mode in which you get to face more enemy waves. And Voodoo Dimention are incorporating two harder difficult settings for the campaign mode as I'm writing these lines.
There's no gore in Master of Defense and the fantasy monsters are less spooky than anything you'll run across on Halloween. Certainly a game you can let your children play. And there's a slider to increase or decrease the pace of the game, making MoD accessible to people who may have considered a title like this too hectic otherwise.
Want to test out the game on your own? Just follow this link to grab the demo! The full version costs about $20. And while I'd say that a few more levels wouldn't hurt the title, I think the mileage I got out of Master of Defence so far justified that price nevertheless.