With all the tower defense games available that force you to fend off enemy troops, I'm surprised it took so long for tower ATTACK games to sprout up. But they have, as of sometime last year, and one of the best of 'em is Villainous. It may be a little short, but Villainous is a great game.
Just look at the title and you'll have a good grasp of what's going on here. You, a cruel magician, want to rule the world. The world isn't so keen on that, so its inhabitants have penned themselves up in fortified cities, using their defensive towers to keep your troops out. Sound familiar? But in reverse?
Yep. That's Villainous. You're the OTHER side of the tower defense equation: you need to deploy troops on a set track and watch as they raid an enemy town. Get enough goblins into the town and you can move on to the next level. Use infamy (the game's currency) to buy upgrades for your troops, as well as purchase new and deadly magical powers.
At first glance, Villainous doesn't sound or seem all that original. And, hell, it's not THAT original once you start playing. Other games have done basically the same thing. What sets Villainous apart is its close attention to balance: it's not disgustingly hard, but the content does increase in difficulty steadily enough that you'll have a rough ride reaching the end. What's more - and I appreciate this most about the game - virtually every unit and spell you get will help you in the end. You don't see that very often in tower games.
Mouse and hot keys. I noticed during slowdown moments that spells didn't go off when triggered, but those moments were rare.
Villainous doesn't stand out visually, nor does it insult the senses. I found it comparable to Warcraft 2, what with all the medieval towers and orcs and all, but a bit cleaner.
Also, my castle is awesome.
Villainous' music is very understated. Unless you jack up the volume you probably won't even notice it in the background. I didn't feel particularly guilty when I shut off the sound and listened to something else.
At least to an extent, Villainous encourages failure. You NEED to upgrade to survive some levels, and you earn more infamy when your troops are killed. Expect to repeat maps several times before you earn gold and finish 'em off for good.
Overall, though? Villainous isn't that bad. Like I said before, it's balanced. The learning curve is far from steep, and the upgrades are more than sufficient to cover some of the later challenges - so long as you keep an eye on your game. You can't just let your troops run through the circuit of towers over and over without casting spells each round.
Though it doesn't strike me as the most original game I've ever played, Villainous is a success. It's a great combination of resource allocation and tactics, and should keep most players busy for at least a few hours.
PLAY VILLAINOUS - TOWER ATTACK