Cursed Treasure 2
Who said it wasn't good to be bad? With one sweet hoard of gems, being a Dark Lord seems like a pretty swank deal to me. Of course, the downside is that the good guys won't leave you alone, and in IriySoft's tower-defense time-stealer Cursed Treasure 2, they've got a few new tricks up their sleeves. Unfortunately for them, so do you. With a sleek new look and all the strategic gameplay that dominated your free time of the original, it's time to kiss your productivity goodbye and embrace the dark side. Don't worry. You didn't need all those friends, family, and reliable income anyway.
As before, the object of each stage is to keep all the gems located in your inconspicuous skull fortress of doom safe by eliminating the heroes that appear in waves before they can cart the gems away. To do this, you build towers... Orcs, Undead, and Demon towers all have their own unique abilities and need to be built on specific terrain. Provided you have the cash, of course. As they take down foes, they can eventually be levelled up, and after a few levels, you can even choose a specific route for that tower to follow, each of which brings its own new strengths to the table. As the Dark Lord, you can use Mana, which regenerates automatically, to cast various spells to turn the tide of battle in your favour or even alter the terrain. The level ends when you wipe out all heroes or they steal all your fabulous jewels, and between stages you can spend any infernal tokens you earned on upgrades to make your life easier.
This time around, however, you'll notice there are also enemy buildings to consider. Some, like mines and mana wells, can be captured at your liesure by casting the Cut Out spell on them three times, and will grant you gold or mana bonuses periodically. Others, however, are more... pesky. Towns, for instance, will generate additional heroes that can attack you, so you'll want to take them out sooner rather than later so as not to get overwhelmed. Fortunately, slain enemies have a chance to drop not only extra coin and mana bottles, but powerful magical scrolls that, when clicked on, will deploy a variety of helpful magical spells to negatively impact any enemy soldiers in the vicinity. Not that it's going to be a walk in the corpse-strewn park, since the various foes of each region will also bring you impressive boss battles, where the leaders will be able to walk off with your entire cache at once if you can't stop them in time.
Cursed Treasure 2 is, in almost every conceivably way, a massive improvement over the original that keeps all the elements you loved and polishes them up to a mirror sheen. The new visual design is great, colourful and animatedly quirky, and the impressive variety of enemies to go up against, each with their own new abilities, will keep you on your toes. The levels tend to be both long and challenging, though while you'll probably do a bit of grinding to earn upgrades, you'll typically find that an impossible battle can be made much easier simply by rethinking tower placement. The addition of buildings on the battlefield do add an additional layer of strategy, but more often than not wind up forcing you to just spam the Cut Out spell as quickly as possible. It's appropriate that the whole point of the game is protecting gems since Cursed Treasure is one of the brightest gems in the genre's crown. It's both clever and challenging, but immediately engaging and open to players of an experience level, and more often than not, will keep you coming back for more.