Immortal Defense


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immortaldefense.jpgNobody ever said that volunteering to be one of the first experimental path defenders would be easy. Leaving your body and pregnant wife behind while you undertake a hyperspace mission to fight millions of aliens using only the power of your consciousness is not going to make you feel any better. Thus begins the intriguing plot of Immortal Defense, another offering in the very popular "tower defense" genre created by RPG Creations. If you are about to say "Oh no, another Tower Defense game", think again, because Immortal Defense has some aces up its sleeve.

The premise of Immortal Defense is similar to other tower defense games you may have played: creeps walk a line and you must annihilate them before they finish by placing lots of damage-dealing towers. Use your mouse to move your ethereal alter ego on screen, which, in a nice twist to the genre, can directly shoot at enemies, adding a nice arcade-y feel to a static genre. Drag and drop the icons located at the bottom of the screen to place eleven different kinds of towers, each representing an aspect of your personality (the "Fear Point" slows enemies, the "Pride Point" gains attack power after each kill). Left clicking with your mouse will target a single creep, making all the towers in range concentrate their shots on it, while right clicking will make you charge a slow but powerful attack which will prove very useful against certain enemies.

Defeating enemies gives you cache (money) that you can use to buy new towers, but since your balance carries over to subsequent stages, you may want to save some for later levels. Between each level, another page of the obscure and intriguing story unfolds. It's obvious that RPGCreations put a lot of effort in creating a sound background story for the game, which indeed succeeds in keeping the player interested throughout the game.

Graphics-wise the game is pretty minimalist, resembling an improved version of Tempest or Asteroids, but the special effects more than make up for the simplistic design. Although the sound effects are nothing to write home about, the orchestral score is truly remarkable and perfectly fits the weird sci-fi universe.

immortaldefense2.jpgAnalysis: There are a lot of things to like in Immortal Defense. Let's start with something that could be easily overlooked at a first glance: the extremely deep and intricate gameplay. Sure, things start off pretty easy and hey, you could even complete the 2 demo campaigns with little effort using the default settings, but each mission can be played at 10 different difficulty levels, and believe me, the higher ones are TOUGH. One of the things I liked the most, though, it's the fact that each level is generally quite short (no more than 5 minutes) although there are some pleasant exceptions. This allows you to play the game even if you have nothing but 10 minutes to kill. Another selling point is the compelling story: which other tower defense game has kept you awake till 3AM?

Immortal Defense is not without its faults, the most notable being the fact that the action can sometimes get very confusing. This is in part due to the design of the creeps, which are a bit too dark and hard to spot the one you really want to target. Another one may be the price tag. With so many enjoyable freeware defense games around, it's easy to summarily dismiss this game's price as "too high". The guys at RPGCreations probably know this, and that's why they put together a very, very long freeware demo version. The demo alone can last 3 or even 4 hours depending on how much you want to improve each single level score, and that's more than enough play time to help you decide whether the game is worth $22.95 or not. In the meantime, go download the demo and have a psychedelic tower-defensive trip with it.

PatrickPatrick Dugan phases into path space to say: I did some QA testing (unpaid, out of LOVE) on Immortal Defense back in April, when it was in Beta, but bought it anyway when it was released just to play the balanced version and unlock the secret levels (which extend the story in a really cool way). The game immediately struck me as something dank, one of those rare games whose generic fun is delivered in an iconic and unique way. You're not going to be disappointed there, so you owe it to yourself to try the demo.

As far as making a purchase goes, I can say that the writing and narrative design here is among the best I've seen in a long time in any indie game, much less a tower defense game. "I love you grandpa" is a piece of text that haunted me, leaving me shaken with wonder and existential horror, for hours after I finished the game. The only other game that made me feel that way, pushed over the top by a single piece of crux writing, was Planescape: Torment's "what can change the nature of a man?" Play Immortal Defense, then become enlightened, that's totally worth the price tag.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.

22 Comments

Three games in a row that I can't play whatsoever?? (Windows only)

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Sorry Caya, but there's just so many more games being developed for Windows than for the Mac. To ignore them would be a disservice to about 92% of the visitors to this site.

Besides, weekend download only lasts for the weekend. :)

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92%, wow! Sorry, guess I forgot how few people really have Macs. I have a Mac, if I read about computers & technology at all, it is from heavily Mac-friendly places- and my husband is a software engineer & he has a Mac. I live in a Mac World.

Those look like really fun games, nice site Jay!! Thanks!

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Thanks, Caya! And if you didn't know, I live in a Mac world, too! ^_^

I just use Boot Camp or Parallels to run Windows when I have to.

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Hey, Jay, what's the breakdown of the other 8%? It'd be nice to know just how rare we Linux geeks are. :)

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Here's the way the numbers go...

92%...Windows
7%...Mac OS
1%...Linux

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Why are NONE of these awesometastical games for Macs as well? Argh argh argh. Hmph.

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Porphyria Plan September 23, 2007 11:15 PM

I feel sorry for those of you that do not get to play this wonderful TD game. I played it earlier this year when a person at the penny arcade forums, who said he was a friend of the developer, posted it. I have sunk many hours into the demo. Still yet to buy it. I loved it so much I started poking around the files and found out you can tweak almost all the settings through a file if you open it in notepad (starting cache, damage, restricted turrets etc.). I then sunk more hours into playing the last endless levels. It's easy enough to figure out but if someone wants to extend the life of the demo just ask.

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I keep getting an error in the demo version. When I press quit, a windows error window appears saying that the program had to close.

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I was one of the first to buy this game shortly after the full version was released, and it was WELL worth the cash- seriously, this is all over any other TD game. I've gone back and 100%'d all 100 levels, and am working on beating 10 minutes on the final endless level.

For anyone that's curious about the maxed points-

Fear: freaks out and sprays shots at a ridiculous speed with huge range, stuns far more efficiently
Courage: instead of firing a spread shot slowly, it rapid-fires single powerful shots with fantastic range
Ortho: rate of fire and shot speed slow a LOT, but the damage and splash both get hugely powerful and the range again skyrockets
Cut: the mines boomerang back toward the point and get a decent damage/splash boost.
Limited: back to the level 1 pattern, but the range is slightly worse- the shots linger for MUCH longer and the damage is some of the best available, though
Love: infinite range, 100% boost
Circuit: still sucks
Pride: range shrinks, but the shots are rapid-fire
Strategist: rate of fire doubles, and when the shots impact, the co-ordination effect is screenwide; makes it very interesting with a max Courage... ;)
Turning: non-stop spray of death. Best single-target damage, if you can get it to hit something with decent accuracy, and the max HP reduction is defense-piercing

and the mysterious Danmaku point

costs huge amounts of cache to buy and upgrade.
it fires shots out from the center periodically in bursts, they linger and trace out patterns (that relate to the shape of the level's path) and do fantastic damage to anything that they touch. maxed, it's a near constant stream of death orbiting it and making pretty patterns, and each bullet does a ridiculous 499999 damage.

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I played the demo, and I thought the story and the "science" behind the tower defense gameplay were very innovative. I thought the game was fun too, although I agree with the reviewer that the darkness got a little annoying.

My big complaint with the game is that, while it ran fine, my computer slowed to a crawl after I quit. This happened to me both times that I played, and I couldn't find any lingering processes in Task Manager, so my only solution was to restart the computer. (I'm running Windows XP on a Celeron 2.0 GHz with 256 MB memory, for what it's worth).

So, while it's a great game, I had to uninstall it because it caused too much of a hassle for me. Has anyone else had similar problems?

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About the error on Vista -- run Vista with admin privileges / in admin mode, and that is said to fix it. I don't have Vista so I haven't adequately tested it with that.

About the game slowing down your computer after running it, I don't know why it does that and haven't seen that elsewhere, but apologies for it anyway.

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Yea, I loved this game, especially for the story. The twist in the first episode is one you've seen a hundred times before, but there are at least two more big twists coming, one of which is a jaw-dropper.

On the lack of a Mac version - it's a Game Maker game, so I guess it's really up to Yoyo Games/Mark Overmars to port the engine, rather than anything the developer had a choice about..

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Hmm, somehow the link didn't work. If it's ok to post it here, this was the site I meant (see above) that offers non-freeware games for free:

game.giveawayoftheday.com

So they did with Immortal Defense in June 2007.

No, I am not involved in nor do I earn money from this website and many games are probably not worth the download. But a single good one per month would be better than nothing... :)

Cheers
CM

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Eric Finley September 28, 2007 12:44 PM

Wow. Thank you, Desangre. I picked up the demo on the strength of the initial review, and didn't have to think twice about buying the full version - out of a budget of less than $150 on computer games of any kind, a year.

Calling the story "compelling" is a shorthand which simply doesn't do it justice. Patrick's comment is right on the money. I finished it last night at 1AM after many hours of play, and was left shuddering with the emotional reverb.

As to the gameplay, I found it good, solid, tactically intricate, and very well-balanced in terms of being neither too difficult nor too easy. Just one level out of ~100 caused me to turn down the diff a couple notches from the default, and it goes plenty higher now that I've finished the game on default difficulty. Various strategies all gain precedence at one point or another; I went from using Pride points heavily early on, to using Ortho heavily for a long while as the keystone of a couple different approaches, and used maxed Fear points and Strategists as the cornerstone of a style at the end. A combination of shifting circumstances and shifting ideas led to this progression, and there were plenty of other approaches I could have used at each juncture.

Having the FX obscure some of the action as the motion blur begins to kick in, especially on some of the later levels, was interesting rather than annoying. It manages to be of a piece with the rest of the work; trust in your tower defenses and your spatial sense of where your cursor is, and hang onto the keyboard, here we gooooo....

Thanks to Desangre and JIG for the link!

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This is an amazing piece of freeware/buyware. I greatly respect the way they gave you a full intro to the game before asking you to buy, and I may well do so on the grounds of it.

The developers have clearly gone out of their way to persuade you to love their game enough to buy it. They give you infinite play on the first two chapters (which it appears, give you most of the features).

If more developers used this tactic, I'd spend more money on this type of game.

Oh, and the game itself is pretty darn good. Certainly in the top 3 of tower defense games I've played, maybe the best.

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Mind blowingly good. Probably one of the best small dev games I've played since Cave Story and Gamma brothers.

Staggering in depth in all ways, from storyline to gameplay to presentation.

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Got it free using the deal on the 15th so I didn't read the review and had no idea what type of game it was. it actually took me about 6 or 7 levels to figure out is was a tower defense game, what with the slow introduction of the "towers", the plot, the atmosphere, and the cursor weapon. Great game.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 28, 2009 10:52 AM

Really guys? Rated-G?

Planets get blown up in it. Millions die. More often than naught it's your fault. The game makes you feel bad for it.

It's at least Y.

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Update - It seems the price of this game has dropped to $14.95 for anyone who still hasnt quite purchased it.

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The price has now dropped to "Name your price (minimum $1.75)". So the cost is now really no excuse. :-)

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