Shad’O is a good tower defense game developed by a French gaming company. I’m about halfway through the game right now and I’ve found it to be very enjoyable. Controlling the friends of the young boy William, you need to fight back the darkness which has enveloped his memories. Graphically, this game is wonderful. The maps are dark, a little creepy, and at the same time accessible to younger players.
The towers have a cartoony, quilted, stuffed animal look to them which fits very well into the overall theme. The gameplay is nice enough; the gimmick in this tower defense is that you can only build in areas from which the darkness has been driven, which limits your initial tower placement and makes tower placement very important. You can spread your towers out to try to reach more advantageous areas of the map, or clump them together for a more focused result. The spells available in the game are also interesting and varied; there are a few attack spells, spells to protect your towers, spells to heal your memories at the expense of your towers, etc. Overall, the spells are balanced and they are all useful.
Shad’O also includes some “puzzle” maps, which have their own set of rules. One map, for example, has towers pre-built throughout the map, but you can only activate one at a time – leading a series of hectic yet strategic decisions on which tower should be active at any given time. These special maps aren’t necessary to complete the game, but finishing them does give you small advantages on all maps. Unfortunately, aside from the darkness mechanic, this game has very little to offer mechanically that other tower defense games don’t already have. Also, even on fairly powerful machines, you may experience some slowdowns. For some reason it is very demanding on one’s video card and CPU. Still, it is very fun, well produced, and well worth your time.
September 4, 2012