Tower defense games are fun! Of those that I’ve put serious time into, my favorite so far has been Defense Grid. This genre seems to be pretty dormant these days, sadly. In my mind, even though there has been lots of variations and great games, there is only so many ways this genre can be presented. Even the new PixelJunk Monsters 2 is only receiving middling reviews.
I don’t have any ideas on how to revitalize the genre. But my familiarity with some of its games has given me some ideas for a game with a more familiar aesthetic. Don’t consider this a design document, I’m just white-boarding some thoughts for your enjoyment.
The outdoors. A backyard.
Each enemy type has three levels of increasing strength.
Basic grunts: ground based waves
Level 1: Ants
Level 2: Ladybugs/Pillbug – armored
Level 3: Beatles – hard armored
Speed troop: fast approach
Level 1: Roach
Level 2: Centipede
Level 3: Millipede
Level 1: Mayfly/Mosquito
Level 2: Wasp/Hornet – can damage (or downgrade) towers
Level 3: Bee – can swarm – can damage (or downgrade) towers
Air/ground: Can advance over other troops. Can be targeted by ground or air towers
Level 1: Harvestmen/Daddy Long legs
Level 2: Cricket
Level 3: Grasshopper
Level 1: Jumping spider
Level 2: Tarantula
Level 3: Scorpion – can damage (or downgrade) towers
Towers could be pest control themed, with poisons, bug zappers and the like, but it isn’t necessary. Each base could change per level. Protect your picnic, your bbq, your backdoor, etc.
I would be shocked if there wasn’t already a tower defense game with some of these choices as enemies. If you know of one, clue me in with a comment. I’ve seen so many vaguely insectoid enemy mechs that I thought this would be more familiar and natural. I thought using common and easy to understand iconography could reduce a barrier of learning for a game like this. Perhaps this would be well suited for a younger demographic.
It’s easy to find other ideas that would fit this take on tower defense. I have other thoughts on the genre that I would like to share in the future.