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Game Info:

Defender of Earth vs The Alien Armada
Developed By: Monkey Wrench Studio Inc.
Published By: Monkey Wrench Studio Inc.
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Available On: Windows
ESRB Rating: N/A
Genre: Action Tower Defense
Mode: Single Player
MSRP: $6.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Monkey Wrench Studios for sending us this game to review!

We had the unique honor of meeting the developers of this fine game at GDEX 2017, which was a great experience for us. They are legitimately good people, and I had the dubious honor of finding a bug for them when I was there. (I seem to have a knack for finding bugs in things; just ask my co-workers.) Unfortunately, as things go, we got our wires crossed on getting review codes squared away, but now here we are.

Defender of Earth Vs The Alien Armada is a relatively simple tower defense game which takes place in space. You are trying to defend Earth (or the paths that lead there) from several different alien races that mean the human homeworld harm. There are three different kinds of aliens, and a total of sixteen levels in which to fight off the invaders. The last level has you knocking out all three aliens at the same time, which is a nice touch.

The game is rendered completely in 3D, and it looks pretty nice. Each level plays in a more-or-less flat plane, with a visible line of travel for the ships to follow. It does sometimes go above and below, but most of the planning can be done from a top-down view, and it works just fine that way.

Defender of Earth vs The Alien Armada
Highlights:

Strong Points: Graphics look nice; simple but fun gameplay; great price
Weak Points: Game-breaking bugs (for now at least); mechanics are fairly simple, and if you don’t stay on top of things it can be quite difficult
Moral Warnings: Alien ships blow up

There are six different kinds of turrets that you can buy, as well as two more utility stations, for a total of eight. Each one also has various upgrades you can buy for them in the field. The upgrades can get expensive, but are totally worth it. Two of the turrets must be unlocked from behind an expensive tech tree, and are quite powerful. But what surprised me the most is that arguably the most powerful unit is actually the two starting rapid fire units. You see, two of the units are eventually more or less replaced with the upgraded ones, but the original two, rather than having two levels, have four. Those turrets, at level four, do an insane amount of damage – and can take a few hits, too. They are just great.

One neat thing, especially if you find yourself in a bit of a bind, is that you can actually take control of most turrets in what is called FPS mode. In this mode, you can aim and fire with your mouse directly. If you are desperately low on turrets, this can literally be a lifesaver. Or you can just do it because it’s fun to blast things yourself, rather than rely on the computer for everything.

The utility units are handy as well, though sadly they don’t survive very many hits, so you have to protect them. One of them slows down the enemy ships, which is very useful, and allows your turrets to pummel them even more brutally. It’s pretty much indispensable. The other one is a satellite unit that powers up other nearby units. Great for sure.

Defender of Earth vs The Alien Armada
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 13/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 98%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Some levels have asteroids in them. If you plant a miner on the asteroids, they give you a constant source of resources in addition to whatever you would normally get from destroying enemies. To say it’s useful is the understatement of the year. After starting the first wave, you should always mine asteroids at the first possible opportunity.

Unfortunately, I found a bug related to asteroid mining while I was playing. For some reason, it appears that, as of version 1.4, how many resources you receive is related to some percentage of what you have. As your total goes up more and more, you can actually start getting thousands at once, which sounds great, until you overflow the variables! This puts you in the negatives, and I could never recover from this until I either beat the mission with what was already in play, or quit the game. To compound the problem, your money grows even between turns, which feels like a bug (it may not be). I’m sure, since I reported it, that they will be solved quickly. But that’s the danger of game development, especially with a tiny two person team. You never know what crazy users will do!

Defender of Earth Vs The Alien Armada is a simple, inexpensive, and fun tower defense game. I have played other tower defense games with layers upon layers of depth – and there’s a place for that. But sometimes you just want it straight and simple, and Defender of Earth does that very well. I also happen to be a fan of games set in space, so that helps, too. Morally, this game can be played by pretty much anyone, as most don’t mind keeping invading aliens away. For those who are looking for a pure fun tower defense game, I highly recommend taking a close look at Defender of Earth. Just wait until a version greater than 1.4 is released, as this one has some nasty surprise bugs under the hood.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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