The golden queen needs help to protect her gems so she enlists the assistance of the Magister and his magical weapon known as the rook. with incoming armies you’ll need to use the power of the rook and three heroes to fight off the invasion and defend the land.
After moving through a few menus with plenty locked away for later, you’ll be prompted to play a small tutorial, which outlines the basics. Defend the Rook plays on a 9×9 board where you’ll be given control of the rook and 3 heroes’, the Warrior, Rogue and Sorceress. You’ll also have access to a handful of barricades and freeze traps and one of each tower, Emerald, Cannon and Arcane.
There are five levels in total, each with 5 wave’s ending in a boss battle, in each level you’ll have a limited supply of towers, traps and barricades to ensure the Rook survives the incoming attacks. One your own turn you’ll start off selecting your heroes/rook and then the board is highlighted with blue and red squares, blue is where your piece can move to, while red shows squares that can be attacked.
The range of movement and the range and power of attacks vary dependent on the piece being moved.
Across the board there’s also obstacles, which can be used to protect your rook, or for placing traps and towers, to help slow down or deal extra damage to enemies, finally barricades can’t be moved, but do distract nearby enemies.
That makes it sound far more complicated than it is, but rest assured it’s easy to grasp and within a few wave’s you’ll soon know what you’re doing.
The main storyline will take about 2 hours to get through, and while the storyline isn’t the strongest part, there’s a twist to keep the first play-through interesting, but in true roguelike fashion, it’s more about future playthroughs, when you’ll start to unlock more heroes, towers and spells which will come in handy because what starts off as a pretty simple playthrough, soon gets much more difficult as you ascend, and you’ll soon get nerfs such as only healing 20% between levels and buffed enemies,
Thankfully there’s plenty of firepower to unlock, The Samurai, Barbarian and Elven Commander can replace the Warrior. The Corsair, Ranger and Mercenary can replace the Rogue and the Black Witch, Possessed Soul and Banshee can replace the Sorceress, even the rook can be upgraded, and with 2 options for each trap, barricade and tower, as well as packs of spells to unlock there’s a wide range of variety.
Graphically everything’s presented well, while it would have been nice to see more fancy animations in some areas, each hero, tower and enemy are clear and well represented and it’s mostly easy to see what’s going on, I did encounter a few occasions where an enemies remaining health would be blocked off, and I do feel having the option to rotate or zoom the board would have added a little variation rather than always looking at the same fixed perspective.
Audio isn’t quite as strong, with no background music and minimal atmospheric sounds, you’ve mostly got the unit selection sounds and battle effects, which is a little disappointing when so many other areas are so strong.
As always, we like to outline the negatives, but thankfully there’s not too many others to cover.
Beside camera control, and the sound there’s very little to complain about, with the overall length of the game my only real complaint. Taking an hour or two to get through the core “Game” isn’t bad, but replaying the same thing over and over again does get a little tiresome, but all those extra unlocks help keep things feeling a little fresher than you might expect.
I would have loved to see some more variation though, maybe extra waves thrown in randomly, or a boss turning up mid-level, but those same five waves per level, come round time and time again.
Overall Defend the Rook has been a surprising addition that’s definitely going to appeal to both tower defense, strategy and roguelike gamers and at an expected price of around £15 it represents great value too.
Defend the Rook
Overall Defend the Rook has been a surprising addition that’s definitely going to appeal to both tower defense, strategy and roguelike gamers
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