GDC11: Defenders of Ardania is Tower Defense With a Twist

By Allen Park

March 7, 2011

Defenders of Ardania is tower defense with a twist. At least, that’s how it was described to me by Mattias Lilja, Paradox Interactive Executive Producer. While I was visiting the Paradox suite at GDC, I managed to sneak a peek at this newest tower defense game, and although I’m getting quite tired of them, Defenders of Ardania does indeed look to be a fresh take on the tower defense genre.

What makes Defenders different from other tower defense games? The focus seems to be on multiplayer more than anything. That’s not to say there won’t be a campaign section, but Lilja made it a point to say the single player would look and play similar to a multiplayer match.

So how does a typical match play out? The map looks like a grid over a beautiful landscape, almost like chess or checkers over a lush rainforest. On opposite sides lie the bases, where you pump out units, cast magic, or purchase upgrades. The goal is for your units to walk all the way across the map to the opponent’s base and take that out. It doesn’t look like you’ll have active movement over your units; once you build them, they’ll head straight for the base.

If there’s a route, that is. To defend from such blatant sieges, what the play can do is place structures in squares on the grid, impeding any possible movement towards their base. In true tower defense style, different structures have different abilities; some are more effective on heavy units, while others attack only flying units, etc. It’s a pretty awesome rock/paper/scissors style gameplay you tend to find more in an RTS than a tower defense game, and a welcome change for an arguably stagnating genre.

Essentially, that’s pretty much it, but with the added depth from more varied units and structures, it does look like it has the potential to rekindle any interest I had in tower defense games to begin with. With up to four player multiplayer, and three different factions/races to choose, Defenders of Ardania definitely looks intriguing. Look for more news from us when it releases sometime in June of this year.

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Allen Park

Allen is an utter whore of a gamer; he's completely open-minded to all games, be they AAA blockbusters or $5 casual children's games. His focus is on indie games specifically, valuing gameplay and ingenuity over sparkly visuals and ridiculous gimmicks. When he's not geeking out over the newest art game, he's out toning his sexy, sculpted shoulders while surfing epic 1.5ft waves, or having a good time with local, high-gravity microbrews.

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