Tower defense may be a crowded genre these days, but there is something immensely satisfying about the unique blend of complex RTS and arcade action that keeps players coming back. In combing this storied genre with an interesting visual aesthetic reminiscent of the cartoons of the 1990s, the folks over at Queen Bee Games have brought us Dirty Rascals, (currently a working title) an intriguing new game that is aiming for a launch on iOS and Steam via Greenlight on January 7th, 2016. The developers were kind enough to send over an early preview build of their game, and I was more than happy to dive in.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCD5vT5ARPk
As you can see in the trailer above, Dirty Rascals features a hand drawn style that reminds me immediately of the cartoons of my youth, particularly Ren and Stimpy and other early Nicktoons that adopted an off the wall style. Your first interaction in the game is with a fairy named Lady D who is wearing a one piece pink ensemble that is perhaps one size too small for her. In any case, she shows you the ropes, and you quickly get to choose between a swordsman, archer, and mage. Your main goal in the game is to defend your king from the monsters that are roving the land, and you do this with a combination of tower building and direct assaults with your character.
The controls are simplistic, which is to be expected of a game being ported over from phones. You can click and drag your character to send them moving in the direction you want, or you can click and hold to get them to fire off their weapon if they're a ranged fighter. Along the way, they'll automatically attack anything in their way, whether it is an enemy, a wooden fence, or a bush cleverly disguising an onion. The game certainly works well enough with a mouse simulating the touch controls, and I did find a certain joy in bouncing my character through levels like a pinball. Still, I can't help but wish that there was also an option in there for direct control utilizing the keyboard or a gamepad.
That covers the basic combat, but you'll find yourself quickly overwhelmed if you rely solely on your character's attacks. This is a tower defense game after all, and what would a tower defense game be without towers? As seen in the trailer above, the game features a variety of death dealing structures, from your standard gunner and sniper encampments to more fantastical towers that spit out lightning and fire. The enemies you'll be facing are likewise varied, with everything from the standard ball of goo that you start against in the first level all the way up to hordes of opposing knights and skeletal warriors. As you can realistically only manage a few of these beasts at a time, you'll want to keep them controlled by routing them through your gauntlet of death as best you can.
Building towers costs coins, which you can pick up from fallen foes along the way. Any extra coins you have at the end of the level get converted into experience points that you can use to improve your character's stats and eventually take on the levels at a higher difficulty. It's a fine bit of progression that will keep some players returning over and over to complete their full star ratings on each stage. I was only able to sample the first few stages in my demo, but I can certainly see where things would begin to get hectic as you're managing your powered up hero and bouncing between slaying enemies and building fortifications.
For those looking for a new short term solution to boredom on phones or a casual bit of strategy on computer, Dirty Rascals seems to fit the bill. The art style and animations really set this title apart from the competition, even in the crowded tower defense genre. If you like what you see here, be sure to check out the game's Greenlight page and give it a thumbs up, or follow along with the developers on Facebook.
Thanks again to Queen Bee Games for the early look at the game!
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