Prime World: Defenders Review

 Genre: Tower Defense, Strategy, Indie

Developer:  Nival

Publisher:  Nival

Platform: PC, MAC (Steam) 

Tower defense games have been popping up more and more every year, and to be successful they have to find a different approach. Prime World: Defenders has definitely found that, and the game provides a unique experience that makes it much more than a simple tower defense game. It blends some of the best parts of several different genres including tower defense, collectable card games (CCG), and the addictive nature of MMOs. There is a lot going on in Prime World: Defenders and it might not 'click' for you from the outset as it took me a few hours to quite understand the draw for this game, but once I got it I easily became addicted. 

Prime World: Defenders has a good visual style and every tower you use and enemy you fight looks and feels different from one another. The style doesn't necessarily break the mold, but it feels like its own world. The story is told through comic book pages that look absolutely awesome and you want to get engaged with the story. It's a shame that the story isn't very engaging, and you'll get to a point where the gameplay is so addicting that you won't care about the story. I'll be honest, in the 15 hours of the game I played, I don't even know what's really going on in the story despite the comic book cutscenes looking great. 

Prime World: Defenders brings the thunder when it comes to gameplay. It starts off a bit slow as it does a good job of teaching you what is going on. I even thought it was a pretty standard game when I first started playing it until I hit the first boss battle. That first boss battle is where Defenders hit its stride, and you realize just how much strategy is in this game from the cards to the randomly generated battles. So, Defenders has a collecting card system where all your towers, magic, and upgrades are given to you in cards. You can gain more cards by winning battles or buying them with in game coins or stars you earn in battle. This is where it 'clicks' and you realize just how much strategy is in this game. When you get past the tutorial and hit the first boss battle you also get the option to take on different randomly generated missions which range in difficulty from easy, normal, and hard. You may have to do these battles before tackling the boss to try to get better towers or to get more tower cards to upgrade your towers.

This is where the CCG portion comes in as you're trying to get multiples of the same towers because you can Evolve them. Evolution lets you take two of the same tower and combine them, for a price, to level them up which gives you the option to level them during the mission to increase the damage they do. This is crucial to the bigger battles in the game, and you will have to grind the random battles to be able to take on tougher foes. Evolution isn't the only option with your cards though as you can use Fusion to merge them with magic or artifacts which will increase the damage among other things on your towers. The mission screen will also tell you what enemies you will encounter, so part of the strategy is picking the right towers you want to use based on the enemies. That first boss battle is a giant called the Forrester, and you have to place the towers in a way to maneuver him to go the long way around as well as using towers that slow him down. Using the right towers is crucial along with the placement of those towers as he freezes them in place so you can't destroy them, gaining back prime, and put them up elsewhere. It's incredibly fun to figure out how to beat him, and it's satisfying when you finally do. Most of the battles after this use that same amount of strategy and as more towers come into play your options keep growing and growing. I wasn't sure about the CCG part of the game, but it works very well in Defenders and adds a new level of strategy that is welcome.

Finishing Move:  Prime World: Defenders is a game where strategy is key to victory, and that is exactly what you want in a tower defense game. The story won't keep you engaged and you probably won't even pay much attention to it, but the strategic gameplay and the card collection will get you addicted and keep you coming back for more. There is a ton of content in Defenders that will last you hours upon hours including randomly generated battles. This is a game that works for not only tower defense fans, but for strategy fans in general. I recommend giving it a shot!


Prime World Defenders gets 4/5 lucha masks

This game was reviewed using a copy obtained by developer/publisher Nival.