Review: Orcs Must Die (Xbox 360)

Wayne Webb

Orcs Must Die is a Tower Defense game, and it delivers pretty much what you’d expect. Orcs come on at you in waves, you must protect your magic portal from their attacks and do it all with style and panache.

The theme of Orcs Must Die is humorous and light, but with a swords and sorcery comic affect applied. This is more Terry Pratchett than JRR Tolkein. The graphics are big and bold, and the delivery of sound effects and one-liners from your hulking character matches that style in wit and enthusiasm.

You lay a multitude of traps, limited only by your available funds in each round. The timer keeps ticking between waves and you can earn more as you kill off the enemy and build up your defenses and lay more traps as the numbers increase against you.

The traps are simple enough to start with and you will earn bigger, better and more satisfying versions of these and new powers and weapons as you progress. You can also level up based on your overall score for each level, so going back and playing levels you may have scraped by before with new added features in your arsenal has some appeal. The initial traps of floor spikes and Wall Arrow traps are brutal and effective and are very gratifying to see in action. It’s never as simple as just laying traps however and you must adjust your strategy as the dungeons (levels) change and the enemies level up against you.

You get strings of combos and multiplier and nice touches like bonuses for getting a head shot with the crossbow make the gameplay very rewarding and fun. It can become a frantic battle as your traps fail you and you end up trying to shoot your way out, or slash through the final survivors looking to take you and your gate down with them.

It would have been better to have a two player mode, a co-operative effort taking flanks or high/low ground would have made this a lot of fun to play with others, but is unfortunately not there. If they released this in the next version I’d definitely get it.

Pros: Simple game elements, classic tower defense, sense of humour with satisfying and deadly traps.
Cons: Seems quite short, no co-operative mode.

3.5 Shacks Out of 5