Orcs Must Die! 2 review
Orcs Must Die! was one of last year's surprise hits. The melding of tower defence gameplay with third-person shooter dynamics, coupled with bright cartoony graphics and a wicked sense of humour made for an enjoyable slice of orc slaughter that required both brains and brawn.
The sequel, Orcs Must Die! 2, doesn’t stray too far from the winning formula. There have been a few gameplay tweaks, but the biggest change is that you can now enlist a friend to help you repel the orc invaders in online co-op mode.
The setup is simple: orcs, ogres, goblins, bats and all sorts of other nasties pour out of one or more locations on the map, and you must stop them reaching the magical rift gates - if too many get through, it's game over. Your character might be well armed, but there are far too many enemies to fight on your own. Instead, you have a variety of traps at your disposal to turn the tide of battle. These range from floor-mounted spikes to swinging maces, wall-mounted grinders and pop-up fire traps, to spring traps that fling your enemies into pits of acid or lava.
Each trap costs money, of course, and you never have quite as much as you would like. This means that winning a level requires you to thin down the horde as much as possible, before dashing frantically from pillar to post picking off those who have made it through your traps. The best defences involve using traps in combination; making orcs trudge through sticky tar while being shot by automated arrows is particularly effective, as is using traps that knock them off their feet into wall-mounted blades.
The original Orcs Must Die! granted you a new trap each time you completed a level, and you had the option to purchase upgrades for your traps in-game from the mysterious Weavers. Orcs Must Die! 2 takes a different approach. You are still granted new traps occasionally, but the majority, including all the traps from the previous game, must be unlocked with skulls. The better your performance on a level, the more skulls you get to spend on new traps, weapons and upgrades. You can also earn skulls with the new Endless Mode, which pits you against waves of ever-tougher enemies to see how long you last.