At first Unstoppable Gorg looks like a brand new type of tower defense with it's unique orbital system and its in game research and income ideas. It also has a great deal of atmospheric storyline that feels exactly like an old cheesy sci-fi movie. The game is also quite lengthy, with a twenty one mission long campaign that can be played on four different difficulties (all of which have different medals, encyclopedia entries and research tokens to earn), an arcade mode and a challenge mode. Everything is not great with Unstoppable Gorg though, but it does have some great ideas and enjoyable concepts. If you want to check it out they recently added a demo to Steam, or you may find it on this post. First and foremost, some basic information.
Developer: Futuremark Games Studios
Platform: PC/Mac and Xbox 360 in the future
Release Date: January 19th 2012
Genre: Tower Defense
There is quite a bit I like about Unstoppable Gorg, so let's delve into that first before we get into the more unsavory bits. The way you control your towers is very interesting and enjoyable. Every level has orbits, like you can see above in that screenshot, and each orbit has specific spots where you can put your towers down. You can rotate the orbit, although on some levels some orbits are fixed, and you are constantly moving your towers into position to fight off various assaults. At the middle of every orbit is your ship, planet or space station that you must protect from invading aliens that always come from enemy carrier ships. Many of the levels end with you fighting the giant carrier ships and it's quite interesting that you can damage them even before they start moving into your orbit. Unlike most tower defense games this one technically doesn't have waves, merely there are continuous assaults from enemy carriers and there can up to four enemy assaults from four enemy carriers at once. Check out this gameplay video that I took from one of the earlier levels, the fith level, in the game.
The video above shows off some of the other really enjoyable and useful features of the game. At the beginning of the video you can see how they deal with the intro and exits to missions, with that splendid sci-fi look and cheesy dialogue. Right after that you see the tower selection, which makes you plan what type of towers you want to deal with specific enemy types, especially because you also have to allocate research points into each tower as well. The research points allow choose what level of upgrades you want each tower and each tower can go up to rank 3. Determining how to set up your towers on the orbits, rank them up and what to pair them with is very well done and the towers themselves fit right into the black & white sci-fi theme very well. Dealing with sacrificing tower spots for research stations and solar collectors is also tough, but well done. It makes you try to determine the spots of least resistance, the spots that are good to put your research and money earning towers that have no combative skills what so ever. Despite everything I like there is quite a bit that constantly irked me throughout the campaign.
One of the few things I find very lacking in Unstoppable Gorg is balance. Going through the game on medium difficulty surprisingly feels like you are playing the entire game on hard, while easy feels more like a medium difficulty and the two hard difficulties are insane. The problem stems from some very powerful enemy units that seem fairly impervious to 90% of the weaponry, even when you have it upgraded to the highest rank. These difficulty problems can make the game unpleasant, especially when it feels smooth and flowing until you hit a level that continuously keeps defeating you. I would like to blame myself and say that I am just awful at tower defense games, but unfortunately I have played many tower defense games and am by no means awful at it. Another negative is the creativity of the towers. There are a few interesting ideas, like beam towers that link all towers into giant laser defenses that shred anything that head through the beams, but for the most part, especially early on, the towers are very generic designs. Many of them boil down into simple idea's, like a fast shooting tower, a slow but strong tower, a tower that slows everything around it, a tower that is long range and slow but high damage and a several other towers that are typical for the genre. That isn't to say there is anything wrong with the tower design, but it hurts when it doesn't feel as genuine and new as other aspects of the game.
The game is quite long, lasting about five hours on one playthrough throughout the campaign and you can come back to earn more medals, encyclopedia entries and research points, that is unless you somehow go through the game on the hardest difficulty the first time through. You can also play through the arcade mode, which is just a point and wave based mode. Plus there is a challenge mode that puts you through various difficult levels that make many of the single player campaign levels look easy. Both of these extra modes are welcome but not horribly different than the normal gameplay from the campaign. The game is also strictly singleplayer, which is normal for a tower defense game, but some innovative multiplayer mode, maybe something like Plants vs. Zombies multiplayer would be very welcome.
I really like Unstoppable Gorg and it will appeal to various types of gamers, but doubtfully to casual gamers or those who are looking for something wholly different than the normal tower defense formula. They definitely have enough new and interesting features to entice those who are looking for something similar but fresh. The cut scenes are very well done, to the point where I wonder if they are from old sci-fi movies. The background information and much of what is made is admirable, but it's not quite excellent. Were the price a little less than $10, or if the gameplay were more innovative, I could gladly recommend Unstoppable Gorg to any fan of tower defense, but for the reasons stated above I cannot recommend it to all. There is also a version of the game available on iPhone and iPad, with a future version coming to the Xbox Live Arcade.
Main Website: http://www.unstoppablegorg.com/
Steam Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/18120/
Violent Score: 3.5 (out of 5)
*Review Copy provided to us from Futuremark Games Studios.
-Written by Sean Cargle