Master of Defence

"The first shot is for the Devil, the second for God, and only the third for the King."--Napoleon Bonaparte


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.

Master of Defence
Official Website
Released January 2006
Developer: Voodoo Dimention

Comments

sounds great, I loved playing TD maps in Warcraft3, checking out the demo now.
I don't suppose there's multiplayer?

Sweet, I'm downloading it now. Am I right assuming there's no multiplayer?

::doh too slow

good find, great review!

I don't suppose there's multiplayer?

Not right now. The developers wouldn't mind incorporating coop at some point, but that'll depend on how well MoD is initially received.

This is a great idea for a game. It focuses on my very favorite aspect of RTS games: defense. Whenever I play an RTS, I just love building highly defensible bases, agonizing over the best tower placement, etc. I can easily see the potential in an RTS that removes all the mobile units from the player's control, leaving only the towers.

I look forward to checking out the demo, just as soon as the download speed gets into at least double digits

The demo is pretty short, and the problem I have is that I didn't find anything special this game has to offer that all the Warcraft TD maps don't have. If there is and I missed it then please tell me.
When the game gets more fun modes to play and multiplayer mode I might buy it. For now I will stick to Warcraft and its endless numbers of TD maps.

Nice review, Spun. Looks like a great game!

Good review, Spunior. Interesting read for an interesting game.

Oh, I want to play this right now. Tower maps are my favorite type of WC3 play. Curse my PC-less existence!

I seem to remember there being a bonus level in Warcraft 3 that was very similar in concept to this.

This sounds fantastic! I cant wait to try the demo.

edit: Wow, this game is fantastic. Its simple addictive fun and a good primer for those skittish about delving into micromanaging, rush heavy RTS's.

Order will be sent soon.

I wanted to make a game like this except instead of defense towers, the buildings would generate different kinds of units. The game would be kind of like reversi on open terrain where the tiles would be battled over by the units produced by the "chips" i.e. the buildings.

I guess Battlechess meets an RTS where the chess pieces are buildings that produce varying units.

Clearly, developers of Slavic origins are the salvation of gaming.

Great review Spunior. It's good to see games popping out of mods of other games. Now I am going to cross my fingers, and my toes, my arms, my eyes, and every hair on my head until someone comes out with an independent Defense of the Ancients game.

fangblackbone wrote:

I wanted to make a game like this except instead of defense towers, the buildings would generate different kinds of units. The game would be kind of like reversi on open terrain where the tiles would be battled over by the units produced by the "chips" i.e. the buildings.

I guess Battlechess meets an RTS where the chess pieces are buildings that produce varying units.

That sounds like the old RTS game called "Z" which had the same concept you are talking about there.

Sinatar wrote:

I seem to remember there being a bonus level in Warcraft 3 that was very similar in concept to this.

Thank-you Sinatar!

I was going crazy trying to remember where I'd seen this game before. I knew it was a while ago, but I could not for the life of me remember where I'd seen this.

Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. Much like Lobo had said, I very much enjoy a defensive strategy in RTS games so this sounds perfect. I haven't played the Warcraft tower maps that you guys are talking of, but this sounds like it is like an evolved 3D form of Midway's old "Rampart" game.

fangblackbone wrote:

I wanted to make a game like this except instead of defense towers, the buildings would generate different kinds of units. The game would be kind of like reversi on open terrain where the tiles would be battled over by the units produced by the "chips" i.e. the buildings.

I guess Battlechess meets an RTS where the chess pieces are buildings that produce varying units.

I played a game like that for the PC many years ago that was completely in Japanese. It was amazingly fun after the first hour or two was spent trial'n'error memorizing what each menu option did. It looked a bit like FF:Tactics Advance, but played exactly like you described. A cookie for someone that can name that game!

"Z" is hard to search for. Thank you, Dragonball.

"Z" is what got me into RTS genre.

A couple of quick observations:

The land only and air only towers need beefing up to be useful. One maxed fire trap is more effective than a maxed land cannon tower and a whole lot cheaper. A fire trap costs 30+15+20+40 = 105 gold. A maxed land cannon = 30+20+20+25+30+35+40+50+etc = 400 gold or more. Now the potential for a maxed out land cannon to do more damage is there since a fire trap can only damage a monster once whereas with key placement and the accompaniment of an ice tower to snare, the land cannon can hit multiple times.

2 poison towers maxed are pretty unstoppable. Poison towers easily out damage air only towers. They cost 2.5x more but attack faster, at greater range, can attack land and air targets, and cause significantly more damage from poison.

This is all from my experiences with the demo. However, other than an allusion to some sort of balloon, it doesnt appear that there are any more towers available. (no more space for them on the UI)

I got the 97th score on the high score list. Fear me!

fangblackbone, the balloon isn't something you buy. When they say you have it, just right click on the road. In a short while, you'll see a balloon show up which will drop the bombs at a slow interval.

Woot! I posted the 3rd highest score on the list last night! All will quiver in their boots when they see the name "Enduro". Arrgggghhhhh!!!!

But man, I am nowhere near cracking the top 100 in Survival mode. I have my work cut out for me in that mode.

I love this game. I'm with fang on the game needing some balance tweaks, and I also agree with Spun about wanting more than 6 levels. But damn if I didn't have fun anyway. I keep going back in to play a quickie, which ends up lasting an hour! It's rare that a game so simple is so addictive

Umm, I played survival mode after beating up to master defender, made it to raid 147 and lost, at 147 i had 150 ish people, and i only got 155 points or somthing, the game is well made, perfect graphics!!

I'd like to be able to edit the variable to the game I.E. Ladn/Magic/Air/Poison(all towers stats) and an easy to use tutorial on how to do so, this game is to easy. and if we can have this, also throw in how we can edit how much gold/exp(experience) we make, also, throw in a modifier that gives each round 10 more raids or so.

other than that, this game was well thought up of, and well coded. Nice job!

I'd like to see an upgrade button for us buyers, i know its been upgraded and i am not buying a game i already bought.. and i don't think many will. our last key code, actvation should work with all versions at least up to 1 year.

And i know many of us will agree.

~Justin~

P.S. the game is perfect, i just think for me and my level of skills on games, it is too easy and its getting boring, thats why i'd liek to be able to modify the game, but when i do try to it tells me re install. corrupted files.

which is gay.
lol..

so get back me on that.
[email protected]

PERFECT GAME!

I know ill tell all my friends about this one!!!!

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