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I find Tower Defense games to be enjoyable as they offer something different what we are accustomed to. And to be able to play them on the go is another plus, and Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault is a really good example of how this genre should be. In AoE:PA you start out in the quaint city of Kimberley which you must protect. Of top importance is the city’s core, which must be protected at all times from enemy attacks. The city is comprised of four rings, or zones, where you can place different offensive and defensive units.  You can also place buildings for people to live, and having more people means getting more funds. Each unit can also be upgraded by using crystals found on enemies, along with a price in gold.

aegis-of-earth-protonovus-assault-review-09Your units will attack automatically whenever enemies are within range ,however, AoE:PA throws a little bit of strategy your way with a few mechanics. The first is unit merging where. if you manage to line up two or more units of the same type (you rotate a zone with either the left analog stick or shoulder buttons), they will merge together and form a larger, more powerful version. Eventually with enemies approaching from all sides, the choice becomes either merging units for more powerful attacks, or rotating various zones to ensure that you’re covering the widest area possible. And in some of the later assaults, the amount of enemies attacking from all sides is really high, so you really need to strategically allocate all of you units to control enemy advances.

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Graphically the game looks good and I like the designs of the enemies and how the city looks.If I compare it to the home console versions, then of course those look way better, but in the PS Vita screen while there are some blocky textures they aren’t game breaking, so for me they are acceptable. The interface through which you perform, and purchase upgrades is interesting since it gives the sense of a high tech world hub. The transition into a battle is seamless, though things will get repetitive as characters say the same lines, whether you’re entering battle number 5 or number 25 (as expected from a tower defense game). Now regarding the music and sounds, I think they are well done and the music goes well with the assaults and gives the adrenaline rush needed when things are becoming hectic. The game is not fully voiced, so you get the typical”Commander” “Everyone” voice sounds. I don’t see a problem with that, and they don’t take away from the experience. One key feature that AoE:PA offers is the cross save with the other versions(PS3 and PS4) so that way you can battle on the go, and continue where you left off on your big screen. While it doesn’t offer cross buy, the way I see it is that you get the game on two platforms for the price of one full priced game($60.00 anyone).

 

Bottom Line Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault is a great entry game for the tower defense genre. It offers a unique combat style, it has interesting characters and story, if you have experience with tower defense games you will see that is easy to get into and it does not overstay its welcome. On the other hand if you haven’t played a tower defense game, you will like that is welcoming to newcomers, and you will find yourself grinding for hours to get your city to tip top shape. I can definitely recommend this game to anyone, it is the tower defense game you didn’t know you needed.

By SarahTheRebel On 11 Apr, 2013 At 09:51 PM | Categorized As Featured, PlayStation, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarFirst appeared on Nerdy But Flirty

This game is freakin’ awesome.

What game, you ask? Why, Guacamelee! of course! Guacamelee is an indie, 2-D platformer from DrinkBox Studios that melds features of Metroid, Outland, Castlevania, the cartoons of our childhood, and a healthy dose of The Emperor’s New Groove into one solid, action-packed game.

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Inspired, vaguely, by Mexican culture, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously and hopes you don’t either. Players control Juan, a wannabe luchadore. Or, in my case, they play player number 2: Tostada, a luchadora. But I’ll get to that feminist stuff later.

Lovers of old-school platform gaming will delight in the many, many callbacks to other games, from Mario to Zelda, Megaman to Castle Crashers.

Gameplay

The core gameplay revolves around moves used in both combat and platforming. They’re color-coded and have awesome names, including the words derpderp and goat, so you know I was a fan. Enemies include all types of skeletons. Big ones, small ones, giant ones, fishy ones: the undead are out in full force.

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Moves involve smashing, grabbing, and pile driving enemies into pieces, along with a dimension switch mechanic similar to that of Outland.

The puzzles and boss fights were actually pretty challenging, which is such a refreshing change of pace from the norm of repetitive battles or constant guidance. Guacamelee! features the Metroid-style open-world, which grows even larger as you gain new powers and backtrack to old areas. Sometimes my mind was just blown by what I was doing. These are the kinds of games I love: the ones that are challenging enough to give you a sense of accomplishment when you play well.

The game was probably about five hours long for a normal person, but I’m a loot maniac and a sucker for treasure hunting, so it took me about seven hours to get 80% completion. I felt that this was a good length for a game with such a thin story, but I’d love to see more levels added as DLC in the future.

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The game offers boss fights that are actually challenging in the old-school way: learning to read your opponent, memorizing patterns, and learning by dying repeatedly until you figure something out. I missed this! And it is the perfect kind of game for a handheld like the Vita so that was another excellent decision, especially with the ability to cross save and cross play.

As for combat itself, the game has a surprisingly robust combo system! I got to the final level of combos before I finally walked away, but I managed to impress myself with the length and complexity of combos I was able to learn. And they helped! The further you progress into the game, the more combat tactics will come into play, as wave after wave of enemy, some with shields and some in other, untouchable, dimensions, delivereth the smacketh down on you.

Plot

“But Sarah, you ALWAYS put plot before gameplay in your reviews! What’s up?”

Well, I’m glad you asked.

You see, I want you to understand that this game is amazing and that I loved it, so I put the happy stuff first. The best part of this game truly is the actual gameplay, followed closely by the art and ambiance.

The plot, on the other hand, is the same tired, boring old trope dressed up in its fiesta best: rescue the princess from the bad man.

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This is an indie game, so I could go light on the criticism here. Guacamelee! clearly isn’t out to change the world. It’s fun and challenging. So why did I have such a hangup? Well, along with the plot, there’s the way women in the game are portrayed and talked about.

Once again, I want to reiterate that I think this game is fantastic, but this was definitely the sour note in the chorus. I’m still pretty stoked that I get to be Tostada at all, so I’m not taking it out on the studio. This is more like the “I’m complaining because I care about this game and want it to go to college and grow up to be a productive citizen” kind of deal. It’s also just odd, because the hilarious dialogue made it clear that these folks know how to write.

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The one interesting thing about the plot has to do with the ending of the game. There is no real resolution or discussion of what happened to Juan, who is treated like a second class citizen because, inexplicably, he is not a luchador. But there is no moral at the end, no need to say, “Hey you guys, it’s not fair that you love me now that I’m a luchadore!” That doesn’t happen. He just revels in it until the end, not seeming to care that he had to conform to their standards to be accepted. It seems especially odd because the beginning of the game had lots of foreshadowing that something’s not quite right with Juan, but it is never looked into – we only get a brief flashback that doesn’t explain much. That, along with a few other choices near the end, were pretty bold, so there was some great potential here for intrigue.

Art and Sound

The art is lush and gorgeous. I spent an inexcusable amount of time checking out the backgrounds and moving slowly through the game to let my eyeballs soak in the bright, beautiful glory that is Guacamelee!‘s art. I especially loved the little touches like Aztec shields and swords on ancient warriors and the motif of the hero holding the woman on a mountain top. The color schemes and little signs in the background were also perfect touches. The details were gorgeous, and I loved finding the HUGE amount of Easter eggs in the game.

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The music was very Mexican-sounding, though that doesn’t mean it’s authentic. I found it rather repetitive and annoying after the first thirty minutes or so, which is unfortunate and made me feel bad for not appreciating horns more.

Another interesting choice was the lack of voices as well as the lack of voice or written speech for Juan, the protagonist. I probably wouldn’t have noticed that Juan didn’t speak, except that people kept asking him questions, and sometimes pretended that he had answered…but mostly reacted as if Juan kept silent. It was pretty strange.

On the other hand, putting on ridiculous voices and reading the other character’s lines was immensely entertaining. And, as I mentioned, the dialogue was mostly fantastic, with characters making me laugh out loud at some of the things they said. For example: “Like an orphaned cabbage, you rolled straight into my trap.”

Multiplayer

Playing with friends is fun and natural. There is something supremely satisfying about brawler style fights with friends along for the ride. I also loved solving puzzles cooperatively: that moment when you figure something out and you get the hi-five going – you can’t get that by yourself…easily.

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Sharing the screen was the right way to go, and as I’ve mentioned, I was overjoyed that player two is a female character. The only time it gets difficult are with moves that come later in the game, especially with dimension flipping. Fortunately, only one team member needs to make it to the next section, as it will automatically teleport the other player to the beginning of the next area if one person makes it.

In Conclusion: Go Get It!

My hangups with the plot and trope-d out women are nothing compared to the amount of sheer FUN I was having. Guacamelee! is not only eye candy, it’s challenging in a refreshing way. I can’t wait to dive back in with my friends!

Guacamelee! is out now for the PlayStation 3 and Vita for $14.99.

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