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Orcs Must Die! review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £12
inc VAT

Slickly-executed and surprisingly lengthy, Orcs Must Die! is the most fun you can have while mincing greenskins


With traps and shooting, the gameplay is both tactical and hectic. You get a small budget to build your initial defences and then earn money to build more as you kill your attackers. The orcs come in waves, but every three rounds you get a breather to take stock of your defences. In these breaks you can sell any trap you’ve placed and recoup the full cost, allowing you to switch strategies mid-level. You can build traps during a wave, though desperately upgrading your defences while face-to-face with orcs isn’t recommended.

Between waves you can also choose from one of a number of upgrade trees. By spending cash here you can temporarily improve your traps, or your own weapons, or add a wide range of special effects – like zombie orcs to fight who you. In this way, you can further tailor your abilities to the challenges of that specific level.

Orcs Must Die!

With such a range of weapons at your disposal, the standard orcs aren’t going to give you much trouble, unfortunately they’ve got friends. First you’ll see upgraded orcs, bearing crossbows or shields. Soon other creatures appear, including fleet-footed gremlins, Gnolls that hunt you down rather than heading for the rift and big, tough ogres. Flying enemies and those with elemental-based immunities (and weaknesses) soon follow.

In fact, this is a game that keeps on giving to the very end. There are twenty-five levels to conquer, which took us around 13 hours on the default settings. Every new level provides you with a new trap or spell to play with and, as mentioned above, there’s a wide range of enemies too. You get scored on each level, and can earn skulls that let you permanently upgrade your capabilities. Once finished, you’ll need to take on the nightmare level, which uses the same levels layouts but takes advantage of the full bestiary, and range of traps, from the off.

Orcs Must Die!

Orcs Must Die! is slickly presented, with amusing graphics and animations. Technically, speaking there’s little to get excited about, but the graphics, animations and physics model are all spot on. Depsite its complexity, the controls work well, whether you’re sniping at orcs or quickly laying down a complex series of traps – it works equally well on a joypad or mouse and keyboard.

If we have any criticism it’s that certain traps aren’t more tailored to certain creatures, and that certain creatures, bar the flying ones, aren’t more capable of avoiding certain traps. You end up using the full range out of experimentation, rather than necessity. But as soon as things get tough, we quickly found ourselves falling back to the same tried and trusted tactics. It’s also not that challenging, and we completed around half the game before failing any level.

Orcs Must Die!

Orcs Must Die! starts with a simple command, but permits plenty of personal freedom in how you go about your genocidal defence. Furthermore, despite the endless death you mete out to your assailants, it maintains a light-hearted, up-beat tone throughout its considerable length. There could have been some more clever interactions between the traps and the enemies, which stops it from scoring top marks, but it’s certainly a bargain given the sheer breadth of fun on offer here.

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