When Robot Entertainment first unveiled their upcoming action/strategy game, Orcs Must Die!, I misread the title. “Orcs Must Dine!? Oh, God. Please tell me this isn’t just another port of Diner Dash but with a medieval fantasy skin over it!” Not that there’s anything wrong with Diner Dash, of course. Diner Dash’s time management system is a valid gameplay mechanic that has done well; it’s just not my cup of proverbial tea. Of course, the sheer ludicrousness of having to serve swill to orcs soon became clear, and I re-read the title. Since that HILARIOUS misunderstanding, I’ve seen more and more about the game, and managed to get my hands on it at E3.
Kyle grabbed a hands on with Orcs Must Die! back in March at PAX East, and thoroughly enjoyed the game. I went in to E3 looking forward to my appointment with high expectations, and I was not disappointed. Many an orc died on my watch, and not a one managed to lay a hand on me. The great thing about this game is that you aren’t restricted to strategy tower defense gameplay. There’s always a chance that some orcs will make their way through your deathtraps, at which point you are charged with striking them down with great vengeance and furious anger. Orcs that evade your strategically placed traps and environment interaction traps become targets for your crossbow or your sword, both of which work very well for cutting them down to size.
The variety of available traps continues to grow as Robot Entertainment slowly releases more information about the game. My available arsenal at E3 consisted of Tar Pits, Arrow Walls, Floor Spikes, and Boom Barrels. Combos can be achieved by creating situations in which multiple attacks from a single trap hit the same orc. Use of the Tar Pits and the crossbow’s stun feature are critical to achieve combos, as they slow down oncoming orcs. A strategically placed Tar Pit can get an orc hit multiple times from an arrow wall. Boom Barrels are a great combination with both the Tar Pit and the crossbow’s Stun feature. If you can set a few Boom Barrels near enough to each other and surround them with Tar Pits, you can continually stun an ever increasing group of oncoming orcs so that they gather and get stuck around the Boom Barrels. One simple shot later, and you’ve managed a massive kill.
Orcs Must Die! comes packed with 24 levels of strategic slaughter, three levels of difficulty, and score based leaderboards. It is easily my most anticipated downloadable title from E3, and will be one of my favorite downloadable games of 2011, no doubt.