Video Game Orcs Must Die! (PC) (2011)

Setting up before unleashing the horde.

Overview: An action and tower defense video game. Your master has fallen and it's up to you (his dim-witted apprentice) to defend the Rift.

Steam Game Time: 11.8 hours (total game time)

20170523: Afternoon
I've played this several times before, and due to lost save files, I've had to replay the game several times and the experience was frustrating. While things would have been fine on a single computer, the trouble occurred when attempting to transfer the save files.

If you look closely, you can see an orc flying into the pit.

In any case, today I was planning to play the sequel, but I realized I didn't have a post for the original yet and I thought I should. Thankfully the last save file I had was still there.

Gameplay Log:
I kind of play a couple of easier levels to get myself back up to speed.

I began reading a walkthrough for Sludge Hole, a level on which I only got three out of five skulls. At this time, I also realized that technically I can play all the levels on easy and get two skulls per level just for the sake of getting some upgrades. In any case, even with the walkthrough, it still took me a couple of tries because the walkthrough gives the gist and still requires the player to put the pieces together.

My game save file before playing on 20170523.

Steam Game Time: 1.6 hours (session game time)

20170523: Evening
Gameplay Log:
Tip: Knowing the order of the waves can help sway the battle. In Sludge Hole, I was able to sell all my traps on the lower floor so I could have a strong upper floor after the first break.

On Chaos Chamber I followed the walkthrough and it took a couple tries. On the last try I didn't get the time but otherwise it was good. Four skulls.

Chokepoint. Here I'm trying to improve two skulls to more. Following the walkthrough, I easily get the five skulls.

Celebrating

The Arena. Improving three skulls to more. I followed the walkthrough: blocked the way and I mostly did archers to defend, but the basic recommended traps are good too. I had a close call with the two final ogres.

Quick Note: I don't mind using a walkthrough because I'm enjoying the game but don't want to think about the strategy.

The Balcony. I followed the walkthrough with Steel Weaver and got four skulls cause of the time. I tried two more times but the Gnoll Hunter would get trapped alive under the fire bridge. I will try Elemental Weaver, it doesn't work for me.* I try going back to the Steel Weaver. A Gnoll Hunter got stuck again... I'm tired of the bug.

Bug: Gnoll Hunter continues to get survive under the bridge and due to it's AI programming to follow the player character, I can't kill it.

Weavers grant additional bonuses... for a price.

The Tower. First level I haven't played. And in fact I won't play it.

Tip: Playing the main campaign on medium difficulty (War Mage), and getting five skulls on every level, will only earn enough skulls to upgrade about half of the items, so choose wisely.

Having left the game due to the annoying Gnoll Hunters, I read up on them. The wiki said the following: "An easy way to deal with Gnoll Hunters is to freeze them with the Ice Amulet and finish them off with Crossbow headshots."

*I watched a YouTube video and he made an Elemental Weaver setup similar to the walkthrough which makes me seem like I did it wrong cause he made it look so easy that I was tempted to play more.

Swinging the sword

I wasn't planning to play more, but I realized I didn't close the game yet so I followed the spirit of the video I watched and got the five skulls. Note that one of the things I learned from the video was the Ice Amulet's alternate is a powerful AOE. It uses about half the mana bar but it saves time.

Steam Game Time: 4.3 hours (session game time)

Thoughts:
Pros:
+ Fun. Get upgrades and go back and beat previous levels with better setups.

Neutral:
~ When I first played the game a long time ago I encountered game save problems when trying to transfer my Steam account from one computer to another. It's probably not an issue for most people and it's probably also fixed by now. I'm not sure if the game always used Steam Cloud, if so, it might have been a synchronization error.

An example of a Gnoll Hunter surviving in the lava pit (when it's suppose to be dead)

Major Con:
- Occasionally buggy, e.g., mobs will get stuck. Sometimes the problem can be fixed by finding the mob and shooting it, but this can waste precious time (and may even be the difference between four and five skulls). Sometimes the problem can only be fixed by restarting.

Summary:
Although a sequel for the game came out in 2012, I just replayed Orcs Must Die! today and it's still a solid game (despite the frustrating bugs that come up)

What's fun about Orcs Must Die! and perhaps the same reason I enjoyed Dungeon Defenders (PC) (2011), is that it mixes the tower defense genre with the action genre. That way the player can remain fully engaged in the game even if his/her towers are fully set up. Furthermore, the player has a choice on whether he/she wants to be more tower focused or more action focused.

Orcs Must Die (PC) (2011)

Victory!

Relevant Links:
Orcs Must Die! (Wikipedia.org)
Orcs Must Die! (Steam Store Page)

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