Solid, But Too Familiar – Fortified Review (PC/Xbox One)
*PC Version reviewed*
Tower defence games have been a popular staple of the multiplayer market for the last decade or so. Various attempts have been made to spice up the genre, with only a few achieving any degree of success. Fortified is the next game to try its hand at changing things up.
Drenched in 1950′s B-movie aesthetic, Fortified combines third-person shooting with tower defence Strategy. From the off, it’s the visual style that stands out. Bright colours wash into cartoon-like character models, resulting in that 50′s campy sci-fi look. Fortified uses its looks to inject a sense of character into a pretty standard concept. Flying saucers and square robotic menaces spark visual reminders of all the black and white space cheesefests you’ve ever seen.
Fortified runs with its theme throughout the game. Players select from one of four playable characters, each with their own sci-fi trope. All four characters posses different weapons and skills, all connected to their cosmetic look. Customization becomes a option as the player levels up their chosen character. It’s the basic levelling format of earn experience, level up and spend the gained skill point. Unlocks aren’t exclusive to weapons, various traps and defences open up to the players are they progress. With only one unlock per level, value is placed in each level gained.
The general flow of each game is what you’d come to expect from the genre. Select your character, loadout and position the affordable defensive units.It’s all solid enough, but never goes beyond being adequate. As with most tower defence games, Fortified restricts the player’s ability to deploy defence via budgeting. The more the player actively engages in combat, the more cash they’ll earn. Cash inflow scales with the amount of enemies incoming, allowing the experience to feel varied as more units can be purchased and upgraded.
Each wave of enemies is telegraphed, giving players a helping in hand in preparation. Fighting back the enemy starts as fun, but the longer things go on the less enjoyable it is. Plan, shoot, spend, repeat. The process is far too familiar at this point, even more so during the lower levels of the game. Fortified requires two elements to be accessed before it starts to shine.
Achieving a high level character is vital to enjoying the game, even more so when it comes to defensive units. A number of units can be given orders (follow hold and return to position), opening up less conventional methods of defence. Higher grade units provide much more intriguing defence opportunities, enhancing the general experience.
Playing via online co-op is the optimal way to play Fortified. Each mechanic works far better when played in a full group of players. Character skills and load outs offer much more interesting dynamics when used in a team. Defensive unit placement and orders flourish when used in co-op. Working together to create solid defences, by combining units and traps, is where Fortified enjoys its best moments.
With no campaign on offer, there’s little direction in terms of why earth needs defending. All the player is told is that aliens are invading and they want to destroy your rocket. Upon a successful defence, a new map is unlocked. This process continues until all the map are opened, with different difficultly settings providing the only variable.
Fortified is a perfectly solid tower defence game, but never grows into anything more. Everything works well enough to result in a enjoyable experience, at least for a time. The visual styles and tone give the game a fairly healthy level of character, but everything is overly familiar. Co-op is the only true way to experience enjoyment, with the solo side of things falling to repetition early on. Solid, but nothing you’ve never played before.