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TurretCraft

åYou know that feeling you have, when you really want to like a game, but you just cannot bring yourself to because there’s far too much wrong with it? That’s me with TurretCraft, the new game from developer Antropi. I want to like this game, I do. But competitive Tower Defence games are nothing new, I’ve been playing them since the days of Warcraft 3 and to be honest, I’ve been playing much *better* Tower defence games since the days of Warcraft 3, and those were goddamn mods.

Where to start…

(This is the title screen… no seriously. It is.)

Graphics

The game feels unfinished, which alarmed me to be honest. In a world where Tower Defense games and Moba games vie for a spot in the market based on their visual identity, simply ‘existing’ isn’t enough. TurretCraft looks like everything that came before it and nothing about it seperates it, sentencing it to be forgotten before it’s even started unfortunately. Looking over the Steam page I searched high and low for an ‘early access’ warning to justify this unfinished feel, as I was hoping to see that this was in some sort of alpha stage. Turns out it isn’t, and this is apparently the final product. However the Steam page hosts some pretty screenshots that’s for sure. I’ll warn you now, those screenshots make the game look better than it is. Textures are bland, units are blander and come across as some of the most generic seen in a game of this sort, with a complete lack of cohesive identity. The textures themselves range from acceptable, to muddy, with the models themselves again ranging from ‘decent’ to amateur. Some larger towers look like they were cobbled together in Blender in five minutes, while some smaller units such as the zeppelin look well detailed. This is a pity of course, as you’ll spend quite a bit of time staring at these ugly, ugly basic towers, but catch fleeting glimpses of these zeppelins. It’s inconsistencies like this that end up grating you, eating at you as you play, not to mention the lack of animation across the board which again, cheapens the feel of the experience.

(That’s literally 50% of the games turrets right there…)

Gameplay

The gameplay is average to the point of not worth commenting upon. Seriously, you may wonder why I sound so spiteful? I’m not, I’m just disappointed. There’s nothing new here worth mentioning as every other TD game of note has done it and done it better. Fight against someone else? It’s been done. Send units against them? It’s been done. Build towers? It’s been done. This game truly embodies the old saying ‘Seen one, seen em all’. You place towers, you fight against incoming hordes on visible paths, you defeat them and send hordes back at them, upgrading as well, that’s it. Upon starting the game I noted no single player campaign, no tutorial, only a barest of barebones menu next to something that screamed “Ripped straight from World of Warcraft”, this was not a good first impression. Starting the game, no zoom in or out function, no clear cut defining of controls, only a settings menu that let me redefine a few keys that weren’t explained.

(Your army selection screen, I dug this, I liked the artwork)

Possibly the greatest offence in gameplay, was the fact the developer has truly aspired for Quantity over quality. Eight different sides, albeit with rather nice artwork on their selection screen mind you, with only four turrets each that *all do the same goddamn thing* in the end. What’s the point? Why only four? Where’s the variance? A great Tower Defence game makes you consider land, air, magic, shields, defence, offence, every-bloody-fence-there-is. This simply screams “build everything there is in heaps of numbers and screw tactics”, which goes against the very heart of a great tower defence game.

There’s also no upgrading your turrets? Yet you can upgrade the enemies that you send parading through your enemies space to defeat them. This feels like a careless oversight to be honest and I do hope it’s added in later on, but for now I can only judge the game as it sits and in this form, sitting at four turrets, with no upgradeable options, which have no variance about air or land, it’s not feeling complete and later on leads to a drastic feeling of imbalance in the game.

I’ve been playing TD games a long, long time and I remember the days of sitting in net-cafés playing TD, the Warcraft 3 mod against people. Beating people in that was a goddamn artform. This game needs to go back to those basics and figure out that artform, as it’s drastically lacking here.

Sound: Dire. Absolutely dire. At one point I had to turn the music, which is actually quite decent, off to ensure I was hearing what I thought I was? Ninety percent of the time there’s literally no sound as the action goes on. Then, suddenly a peppering of moans, or a swish, or an explosion. The inconsistency in sound is startling to say the least. Then suddenly something will kick in because your screen is centered on it. It’s embarrassingly bad how the sound functions in this game, the lack of polish to it is in stark contrast to the music which is actually quite pleasant to listen to.

(That picture up top with the other turrets? These are the same… just reskinned.)

Value

Honestly, avoid. It’s a shame to say this because there’s the bones of a game here to play, but it needs to much work to fix, they’re better off starting again. At $14.99 on Steam, I can’t find anything to recommend, I don’t see how on earth this price can be justified honestly. I played a multiplayer game, which granted was speedy in matching me up with someone thankfully, but even that didn’t provide the value I was hoping it may. In the end, I don’t see TurretCraft giving any sort of value to anyone who purchases it, merely stripping their wallet of money they could have spent their hard-earned money on something better. It kind of bothers me this game was released to be honest. It’s not that it’s incomplete, we’re not talking con-artists here, we’re looking at Game developers who clearly know how to make a functional game, but chose to willingly release something in such an unfinished state it drains one’s confidence in potential future output from them, that to me is not good. The fact is, there’s a game there, it works, it’s just so barebones that it’s ridiculous and that to me, is not good value.

Conclusion: The Tower Defence genre is a hard one to crack, it really is. It’s peppered with classics, both free and paid. It’s got lofty expectations and many variations throughout its long history and unfortunately mediocre to poor games are going to get chewed up and spat out quickly. TurretCraft is one of those games, suffering from being severely underdeveloped. Hopefully in future Antropi manage to update the game, fixing the issues I’ve mentioned and others, as I’d love to see them succeed. I don’t write reviews like this taking joy out of it, it sucks. Negative reviews suck, because quite frankly, who wants to have a bad time with a game? I’d much rather be dishing out positivity. Antropi, you’ve got potential, I do believe you can do it, and I want to see you prove it to us with your next game and have you knock it out of the park. Best of luck.

Pro’s

  • Multiple variations of multiplayer at least.
  • Quick connection in multiplayer and very stable.

Cons

  • Muddy textures
  • Low resolution graphics
  • Gameplay could be a lot better.
  • Gameplay was surpassed years ago by better games.
  • Overpriced.

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