By: Armaan Khan
Tower defense is a strange genre in terms of the reactions that it brings. If you told me you were making a first person shooter, I wouldn’t blink. In fact, I’d probably tell you how cool that was and wish you luck. But if you said you were making a tower defense game, I would roll my eyes and sarcastically say, “Oh, great, that’s just what the world needs, another tower defense game.” I’m not alone in that regard either. I see a lot of similar reactions whenever a new TD game is announced, almost as if reviewers are burnt out on the genre. This wall of jadedness hasn’t deterred FutureMark Corporation from releasing Unstoppable Gorg, however, which has turned out to be a solid title that’s well worth a look.
The premise of Unstoppable Gorg is straight out of 1950’s pulp sci-fi. Humanity is under attack by the vicious, melodramatic King Gorg and his allies, and it’s up to you to stop them. The gameplay is standard tower defense: enemies travel single file along a specific route toward your command center, and you fend them off by building defensive towers along that route.
The usual tropes in terms of enemies and defenses are all here. The bad guys come in a variety of forms, each with specific strengths and weaknesses: some are fast-yet-weak; some are slow-but-strong; some will attack your towers as they fly by while others won’t. For defenses, you have the usual array of weapons and support structures, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. I won’t go too deeply into specifics because you’ll know what to expect here, even if you only have a passing familiarity with other tower defense games.
Of course, one can’t release a TD title in this day and age without some sort of twist, and Gorg’s is that your defenses are actually built in orbit around the command center. You can rotate these orbits at will, which is absolutely imperative to success since the path enemies follow will change several times during the course of a level. It adds a level of dynamism rarely seen in the tower defense genre.
Other than this orbital rotation mechanic, the game doesn’t do anything that you haven’t seen before, but that’s not a bad thing. Unstoppable Gorg is excellently designed and balanced. It provides a lot of fun and challenge for TD fans of all skill levels. New enemies and defensive options are unlocked throughout the course of the 21-level campaign, which keeps things fresh throughout, and there are five difficulty settings to suit your ability and challenge you to improve. I was consistently impressed with how carefully balanced the experience was. Even on the easiest settings I never felt like I was breezing through the game. There was always a palpable tension in the air and winning always felt like an accomplishment.
There’s a lot to do once you’re done with the campaign, too. You can take on the 21 challenge missions, as well as the endless arcade mode. Perfectionists will no doubt want to acquire a perfect rating for the story levels, which is much easier said than done.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Unstoppable Gorg’s aesthetic. As I said earlier, the story is straight out of a 1950’s science fiction movie, and the aesthetic is built to match. Story levels are sandwiched between black-and-white full motion video sequences built from existing footage found on the Internet Archive and overlaid with custom voicework. The sound effects, music, as well as the visual design of the enemies and interface were all built to match the footage, and the development team did so almost perfectly. One very nice touch is that the body text of newspaper articles that are occasionally displayed contains information about the development of the game, which was a cool little Easter egg to discover.
Is It Worth The Money?
There isn’t much to complain about Unstoppable Gorg. It is beautiful, challenging, and well worth the $10 you’ll spend on it. There is a difficulty spike at level 17 and you can’t rewatch the wonderful cutscenes unless you replay the campaign, but other than that, I can’t think of any deficiencies the game has. It might not be the most wildly innovative TD game ever released, but it does everything right and offers a lot of entertainment value for your money.
- Time Played – 4 hours
- Widescreen Support – Yes
- 5.1 Audio – No
- Bugs – None
- DRM – Steamworks
- Control Scheme – Keyboard/Mouse, Gamepad
- System Specs – Intel Core2 Quad @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, Radeon 4800
- Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
- Availability – Steam
- Demo – No
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