Defense Grid 2, sequel to the much acclaimed Defense Grid: Awakening, is finally here and provides another memorable tower defense experience. If you're new to the series or even the genre for that matter, here's an introduction and a few pointers on saving Earth from countless waves of stubborn alien invaders.
DG2 is a fairly traditional romp in the tower defense genre, made even more popular thanks to mobile efforts like Fieldrunners 1 and 2 (excellent buys), the Anomaly series, and even Plants vs. Zombies. Tower defense games provide the player a game board with empty tiles on which to build a variety of structures. The game board will also include an enemy entrance and exit (in the case of Defense Grid 2, those two are synonymous) which the player must strategically interfere with in order to make the enemy's journey as long and painful as possible.
With Defense Grid 2, your enemy seeks small cores (little blue, glowing orbs) located somewhere on each of the game's boards. The alien invasion sends waves of enemies from an entrance to the core pool and back again, forcing the player to plant towers along the a path in order to prevent the enemy from escaping with our faceless protagonist's precious loot. Different game boards allow for more customization than others; sometimes you'll receive a 12x12 grid of buildable tiles, while other times you'll be given only a handful of sporadically placed tiles to erect your defense. Either way, your mission remains the same: carefully manage your funds while defending your prized glowing possessions from hordes of oncoming thieves.
For the purposes of this article, we won’t cover the entire scope of the game's tower options. We will, however, touch on the four most basic towers DG2 provides. The remaining structures in the game are, for the most part, variations on the following towers.
Gun: No Area Damage / Short Range / High Rate of Fire
The gun tower is DG2's most basic structure. It shoots relatively weak ammunition at a very high clip within a tight radius. Placing Gun towers is often a risk-free decision, as they are adequate offense at an affordable price (you can always sell it later). Gun towers are, unfortunately, committed to only one enemy at a time and do no area damage.
Inferno: Area Damage / Short Range / Continuous Fire
Inferno towers are a great compliment to the offense a Gun tower provides. They offer minimal impact at a very high rate within a small firing distance. The benefit of building Inferno towers, though, is the added splash or area damage. You now have the ability to attack packs of enemies rather than one at a time. Placing Infernos inside path turns maximizes this tower's output.
Cannon: No Area Damage / Mid-Long Range / Slow Rate of Fire
Cannons are slow, long-range offensive tower options for defending your core against the alien onslaught. They offer medium impact from a relatively far distance at a slower clip than most other towers. They're also great for taking out stragglers that otherwise successfully navigated your maze. Cannon placement is important because they must be able to see above nearby structures, so these towers are best suited for high-altitude placement 2-4 tiles from your enemy's path.
These towers are much different in that they provide no tangible offense. Instead, Temporals offer speed advantages. Place a Temporal at a corner and watch as the alien parade screeches to a halt. As with Infernos, Temporals are best placed at corners and path turns so their output is exhausted over the longest stretch possible. These handy structures only provide half of a solution, however. You will of course need other towers to take advantage of the enlarged shooting window, but therein, lies the beauty of the game. Temporal towers are what make tower defense games so addictive: achieving the perfect balance between offense, defense and economy.
As you gain credits from destroying your enemy, you will find yourself upgrading your towers to their second and third forms, providing increased damage and range with each iteration. Be sure to maximize both your radial damage output and your Temporal placement whenever possible. If your enemy runs in a straight line to your core pool, you've done something wrong. The most fundamental strategies a player should employ involve maximizing your damage output over as long a path as possible over the longest amount of clock-time possible. Focus on these things and you cannot lose.
Defense Grid 2 is available for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.