Normally I don't review games based on my impressions with the trial but I haven't made contact with the developer of Sketchy Tower Defense, Pixel Troll Games And as such I have no review token to redeem :(
But I have loaded the game multiple times and played through the first level to extreme satisfaction. The game is currently high on the top downloads list on the XBOX and if the rest of the game is as good as the trial, I think it could climb even further up the list.
Above is an image from Homestead, the first level of the game. I've made it to Wave 27 so far and will try later to beat this mark. The game is obviously named for its visual style, there is something pleasing about the handdrawn aesthetic isn't there?
The appearance of paper on an electronic medium makes any game that uses this aesthetic stand out instantly and draw the user in. There are quite a few sketched games currently available on the XBOX Indie Channel, and even another handdrawn? tower defense game. Sketchy Tower Defense is definitely my favorite thus far.
Sketchy Tower Defense allows me to play not against the game but against myself, even now I am considering strategies to allow me to progress past Wave 27 on the first level. It's possible that there is an end to each level that I have yet to reach. This would slightly disappoint me. But given the nature of Tower Defense, limited enemy types, limited weapons. At some point the game would just have to increase enemy speed and toughness ad infinitum until the tower is inevitably destroyed. But this is what leaderboards are for, if you're into that sort of thing and I think we might be.
The limitations listed above are not set in stone however, allowing the user to draw their own enemies and weapons would infinitely expand this game. Allowing the user to share their enemies, weapons, and levels would be nice :)
Indeed there is a game on the XBOX Marketplace that allows for a bit of this sketchy goodness,
Below is an image from Border Wars which allows for user drawn content,
But if handdrawn games are really your thing, perhaps you need to stray a bit from the XBOX and venture into enemy territory, namely the iPhone and SketchNation,
The developers of Sketch Nation are working on allowing users to sell their games created with Sketch Nation as individual games through the Appstore. An impressive feat to accomplish. And one that the gatekeepers of our indie channel could definitely learn from.
Back to the topic at hand,
The game features single player, co-op, and a pvp style. In Co-op each player controls a sketcher and can build whatever they like, provided they have the coin to do so. Coins collected by one sketcher are equally distributed between each sketcher. In the PVP style the game board is divided into two sections, one for each sketcher and the game is played through normally. Last sketcher standing style. Perhaps in an update the PixelTroll could include a Ramparts style PVP game.
I have a few minor quibbles with the game of course. There are no explanations for what the various weapons you buy actually do. Did PixelTroll expect us to use trial and error to discover the game's meaning? I'm still not sure what Air does even after using it, and finding out that the pit traps are one time use was a bit disappointing but I'm sure over time I will figure out the best strategies for all the different objects we can place.
The future definitely looks good for Sketchy Tower Defense and the hand drawn genre.