Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Engineer

Browser games are not typically known for eating up system resources, at least not on newer computers. That's one of the nice things ABOUT browser games, as most people with a 'net connection and Flash Player can play games whenever they like.

The Engineer... is not so friendly in that area. Though it's still pretty good!


The Engineer tells the violent tale of Zach Scrap, a burly mechanic-type facing off against hordes of robotic monstrosities, all bent on bringing his life to a grisly end. Why? No idea, because, sadly, I couldn't get the campaign mode to work. The menu refuses to access it, or the map editor, at least for me - and judging by the comments on the game, a lot of people are having similar difficulties with The Engineer. (At least I got to play the thing. I downloaded Flash Player 11 and it helped.)

Anyway. The skirmishing single player, map rating mode works for me, so I have a solid grasp of the game play: The Engineer is a tower defense game. Unlike other tower defense titles, though, The Engineer makes Zack Scrap the end point for the baddies:

Yes, that's Zach in the top-left corner. (He didn't last long after this.)

It's your job to guide Zach in setting up defensive towers in rocky, industrial terrain to keep him safe while shutting down these control terminals:

Grab scraps from your surroundings, and from the debris of fallen robots, and you can build more and more towers, or upgrade Zach's weapons and armour. Blow up all of the robots and deactivate all of the terminals (you need to stand close to 'em to do the job) and you'll complete the level.


The Engineer is a survival game, and so solid controls is absolutely essential. And, for the most part, they're not bad: Zach is easy to guide with the arrow keys, and you can lay down (and upgrade) towers by hitting Space. You can also fire Zach's gun by hitting the mouse button and aiming him in the direction of the mouse, but this is a bit more difficult than mere tower laying, and was more often my undoing than simply planting tower paths.


This is a pretty game, but nothing overly amazing or special. I imagine the high requirements for a browser game are due to the sheer number of moving objects on the screen at one time, which is unfortunate as many computer users simply won't be able to play The Engineer. Otherwise... shrug? Graphically solid, if a bit generic.


Good sound effects, okay techno music. Problem is, like most browser games, the music gets replayed over... and over... and over. Muting is inevitable.

Challenge Rating

The Engineer is like most tower defense games, despite the added depth of having to control a character, in that it starts fairly easy and gets really hard, really fast. Unless you have extremely fast fingers - or you know EXACTLY where to place towers to maximize your kills - you'll probably just die on most maps. Unforgiving, but fun... and after a while, you'll get one of these:

Rather than just lots of blood on your screen:


Technical problems aside - and I imagine they'll get solved EVENTUALLY, in which case I can revisit this review - The Engineer is pretty fun. It's more innovative than your average tower defense title, and though it's generally deeper than most similar titles it's easy to figure out even without instructions. Definitely worth playing, even if, like me, you can only play the user-created maps (which is fine, since there are lots of 'em).


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