Initially released for iOS, Android and PC, Over the Top Tower Defence (OTTTD) has made its next port of call on the Nintendo Switch. Immediately cutting to the chase in its title by telling you exactly what it’s all about, OTTTD is the first game that Australian development studio SMG created. Set against a futuristic sci-fi backdrop of propaganda and machismo, OTTTD aims to bridge the gap between the mobile and console market by providing both a rich player experience and unique narrative identity. While it does manage to do this with a significant degree of success, there are some issues which hinder the experience and stop it from being a home run.
Much akin to the Starship Troopers film franchise or Helldivers video game, OTTTD pays ironic homage to a nationalist, corporate future which can is found in the titles as mentioned earlier. Set in the year 2136, you work for HEROCORP™, the world’s fourth-largest private military force. You have been charged with the difficult task of ‘pre-emptively defend’ the Earth against rogue alien dimensions, specifically the two dimensions Steamcrust and Nightmare. The tone of the game is excellent, and a great deal of detail provides colour to this setting within mission descriptions/briefings, unit names, voice acting and more. While not generally a key calling card of a heavily gameplay-based genre such as tower defence, this extra emphasis on atmosphere and world building adds a level of charm to OTTTD that similar games within the space are sorely lacking.
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With 25 story levels available to play through at minimum, OTTTD provides a great runway to experience the game to its fullest extent without wearing out its welcome. This is supplemented with the availability of seven different hero classes, meaning that at particular intervals of the game the addition of a new squad member will require you to rework your previous strategy to incorporate a new hero unit. All heroes come complete with their unique abilities, and OTTTD goes even further by introducing RPG elements to its framework such as an extensive skill tree and equipment.
It expertly blends the traditional elements of tower defence while also managing to differentiate itself
Each level is designed in its unique way, meaning your strategy for tower placement will be different every time. OTTTD hits on all the major mainstay tower options of the genre such as speed, area of effect, power and slow-based towers amongst a handful of others. While it’s not necessarily reinventing the wheel in terms of tower selection, the style is tried and true and allows the gameplay to share the spotlight with its unique hero units. This does also provide an additional layer of difficulty for players who go looking for it, as you’re required to both focus on upgrading/maintaining your towers and also keeping your heroes alive and utilising them effectively. For returning players familiar with OTTTD, unfortunately they won’t find anything new with this Switch port to entice them back, outside of nostalgia.
It’s overwhelmingly obvious that OTTTD is a mobile port, even based on just the design of the UI alone. Some features make the transition rather poorly, for instance having to push/pull the joycons around without having the ability to click on the hero units makes the process that bit more arduous, and meant that often I would find somewhere for each unit to stand while I tended to tower placement and upgrading instead. While you’re able to play around with the sensitivity of the scrolling, I found it did little to overcome this issue and made prolonged gameplay feel more monotonous because of it.
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Despite this minor hiccup in gameplay controls, all other facets of OTTTD run seamlessly from top to bottom. Coupled with a basic art style, the developers have allowed OTTTD to flourish in terms of performance which belies its mobile beginnings. Regardless, in a market that suffers from performance issues and bugs, stability isn’t something to be ignored when considering overall quality. Much like its art style, OTTTD’s soundtrack enhances the whole offering but doesn’t take centre stage at any point for better or worse.
Overall, OTTTD is a great tower defence title. Offering a comprehensive style of gameplay coupled with an engaging narrative, it expertly blends the traditional elements of tower defence while also managing to differentiate itself from its predecessors and competition. While it does stumble with issues concerning controls between mobile/console and a lack of new content for familiar players, this is all relatively minor in comparison to the overall high tier experience that’s on offer. If you haven’t played it yet or shun mobile gaming, OTTTD’s release on the Switch is as good a time as ever to give it a jolly old gander.
Reviewed on Switch // Review code supplied by publisher
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