Fortified Review: War of the World
Greg Johnson / Feb 10th, 2016 No Comments
Tower defense games have come a long way from the two-dimensional mobile titles the genre was once known for. In fact, the genre is one of the most popular niches in gaming. Fortified, a sci-fi adventure where players must defend the planet from alien invaders, is another addition to the tower defense genre.
The game uses elements of crime noir and sci-fi while requiring players to defend human-made rockets from aliens. It doesn’t stray far from the typical 3D tower defense formula, but there’s enough tongue-in-cheek humor and solid gameplay for it to stand out.
They Came from Planet Sci-Fi
Fortified’s science-fiction elements are rooted in the 1940s. This isn’t what we’d imagine an alien invasion to look like now, but the game gives off vibes of The War of the Worlds, an H.G. Wells novel adopted into a radio production starring Orson Welles that famously caused widespread panic in 1938 (a film version came in 1953).
The story is fairly bare, which is disappointing considering the atmosphere is the most unique thing about Fortified. Players will enjoy the old-time feel of the game, but they’ll also find themselves longing for more in terms of plot.
There are several heroes at the player’s disposal, including a heroine, a spy and a cowboy. Each character has their own backstory, which is learned through a unique campaign. Players learn why their character decided to join the fight to defend against the robotic alien hordes (spoiler alert: most of them involve government jobs). However, this does not provide enough depth. The characters don’t have any dialogue — even one-line quips would help give them personality and flesh out their personal narratives.
Not Just Turret Placement
The problem with many tower defense games is that they can practically play themselves. Too often, players are asked to simply look at a screen and wait or are hand-held through the majority of the game. Fortified actively forces players into the fray by giving them a slew of devastating weapons to work with in conjunction with built defenses. This is not a game where minimal input serves as a valid strategy for victory, and that is one of its best features.
In terms of gameplay, Fortified’s distinctiveness comes from its turrets. There are a variety of turrets available, each having unique features. Some can only attack air enemies, while others only stop enemies on land. Of course, there are some turrets that do a bit of everything. The turret variety allows for multiple play styles and adds replay value to the game.
Heroes in the Making
The noir sci-fi theme shines through in Fortified’s graphics. Pseudo-cel shaded graphics make players feel like they’re inside an old-time comic book. Along with the radio-like background music, this makes it very clear where developer Clapfoot took inspiration from.
Fortified’s art style pulls players into the world, but the world-building falls flat. Without fleshed-out characters to learn about and like, the game fails to be something truly great. Gameplay is solid and simple, but Fortified doesn’t attempt to deviate from other tower defense games. Gamers looking for a fun game to play with friends will happily find it in Fortified, but don’t expect much else.
Fortified was reviewed on PC using a code for the game provided by the publisher.
tags: Clapfoot , Fortified , Fortified Review , review , Tower Defense