Tower defense games have been a guilty pleasure of mine for quite some time; with hours beyond count spent playing the likes of Kingdom Rush you can imagine my excitement when Twisted Realms hit the Gear VR store.
Developed by Aldin Dynamics who've been building VR experiences since the days of Oculus DK1 and brought us awesome experiences with Trial of the Rift Drifter and Asunder. Trial of the Rift Drifter in particular sticks in my mind as it was the first experience developed for Oculus that included interaction with virtual characters by using head-gestures.
With Twisted Realms, Aldin Dynamics have once again brought innovation to VR game design; they've taken traditional tower defense and re-invented it for the mobile VR platform and a valiant effort it is.
The story is a little lite on the details and see's a group of worshipers summing an ancient god to aid them in a last-ditch effort to reclaim their world. You play the role of the god who's tasked with setting defensive towers and using godly powers to prevent the oncoming onslaught of evil minions.
Spread over 10 levels that take around 5-10 minutes each to complete the battles are quick and relatively simple affairs. You start each level with a central command tower and a limited amount of build points to spend on defenses with additional points earned as you destroy the enemy.
Primary defenses include Archer Towers, Wizard Tower, Bomb Towers and Garrisons while secondary buildings such as Altar of Damage or Altar of Shields can be used to increase the attack damage and defense of you primary towers. There's also a limit to how many of the same type of tower that can be built which prevents you from spamming the battlefield with any one type.
Towers can only be placed on flat services within a set range of your control tower and once you initial defenses have been built the wave beings; enemies approach from up to 3 different paths all converging on you command tower and it can take a little strategic placement to ensure all routes are covered.
Enemy types are varied with Spiders, Rollers, Warriors, Archers, Dark Mage as well as flying enemy's the Raven and Orb that can only be attacked by your Archers. If the enemy manages to make it through your defenses they'll inflict damage to your control tower and sap your available build points & life, take too much damage and its game over.
Placement of your defenses is managed from a overview perspective of the battle field and your towers will attack the enemy autonomously but can also be taken control of directly via a first person view for aiming and a more personal touch.
Support for the standard Gear VR compatible game-pads is included as well as the Gear VR's on board controls, I personally found the on-board controls more than adequate to get the job done.
I used the Note 4 Gear VR Innovator Edition while playing and experienced the usual issues with overheating which although didn't force me to quit the game it did slow the game-play down to the point where it was no longer enjoyable.
Twisted Realms is fun to play and I think worth the $4.99 USD asking price but its not without it's issues. Control can be a little clunky with the battlefield overview limited to certain viewpoints and selecting towers for first person control can be frustrating at times. Overall It feels more like a proof of concept rather than a fully fleshed out game and hopefully Aldin Dynamics will push the concept further in the future.
SCORE : 7/10
Developer: Aldin Dynamics
Genre: Strategy, Shooter, Action
Platform: Gear VR
Release Date: 14/10/2015
Comfort Level: Comfortable for Most
Cost: $4.99 via Gear VR Store