The Orcs Crusade is a tower defense game available from the Windows Phone Store where you launch a crusade to rid the lands of enemy orcs, goblins, elves and more, protecting your base camp along the way. It's not your typical tower defense game though with set positions for your towers and a hero that can roam the battlefield.
First impressions made me think the game was too cluttered and the graphics far too small. However, after playing The Orcs Crusade over the past few days, it develops into an entertaining and challenging Windows Phone game. Available for low-memory Windows Phones, The Orcs Crusade ends up being a nice time waster of a game.
The opening menu for The Orcs Crusade is about as minimal as you can get with only one menu option, play the game. When tapped, the opening menu will transition to your battle map that will have a few more options to visit before you take to the battlefield. The map screen will offer you options such as,
- Viewing your gaming achievements
- Muting the Sound and Music
- Upgrading your troop strength
- Choosing your hero (you have six choices)
- Visit the game's market where you can use gaming coins (represented as skulls) to purchase bonus items or cash to buy gaming coins
The first stop on your campaign map serves as a tutorial. Before entering the battlefield, you can choose your gaming difficulty level (easy, normal and hard). The default difficulty is normal. In transitioning to the gaming screen, you will have the opportunity to read the game's backstory about or you can just tap the Continue button to skip it all.
Your battlefield or gaming screen is designed as follows.
- Your battle coins and lives are displayed in the upper left corner of the screen. You begin each level with a small allotment of coins that are used to buy defensive units. As you slay enemies, you will earn more coins to allow you to build up your defenses further. Should an enemy reach your base camp, you will lose one life for each enemy to reach that point.
- In the upper right corner is a button to control the game speed. You can tap this button to zip through the battles as you see fit up to 3x normal speed.
- In the lower left corner is your hero commands. You have a button to dispatch the hero (the center button) along with two buttons to launch your heroes special abilities (typically spell casting and health rejuvenation).
- In the lower right corner is a pull-up menu that lists any bonus items you have available such as bombs, life rejuvenation, healing potions, etc.).
For the most part, game play isn't much different from any other tower defense game. However, while other games let you decide where to place your defenses, The Orc Crusade has banners scattered about the enemy's path to mark where you can place a defensive unit. Just tap on a banner to pull up your tower options and double tap the option you want. Towers include archer towers, catapults and infantry units. The Orcs Crusade has four basic towers with eight specialized towers. While you cannot upgrade a tower, you can sell it and replace it with another style. For example, if your infantry isn't working you can sell those units and replace them with a catapult.
The Orcs Crusade does allow you to set your defenses as best you can (depends on how much cash you start out with) and when you are ready for the onslaught, just double tap the skull icons that are located on the beginning of the enemy's path.
When you are ready for your hero to join the action, just tap the dispatch button and then the spot on the battlefield you need him. You can also move your hero around as needed as the waves of orcs, goblins and ghouls advance. Action buttons will let you cast the heroes' spell or special ability in similar fashion. Just tap the button and then the area of the battlefield. Actions can be used multiple times during a battle, but it will take a few seconds to allow them to recharge.
The enemy attacks are in waves that progressively get stronger and each level culminates with a boss that is very difficult to defeat. As you complete a level, you'll earn the gaming cash that can be used in the market and experience that will allow you to upgrade your towers.
While you lack the ability to place your defenses at your discretion, The Orcs Crusade still has a strategy element in setting your defenses. You also have the capability to back-up your hero with your towers. For example, you can set your hero in front of an archery tower and as your hero is hacking away at the monsters, the archers are adding to the fray with their arrows.
When I first started playing The Orcs Crusade, I found the game to be a decent tower defense game but terribly tiny graphics. I didn't care too much for the tower placement restrictions and what I did place into play wasn't upgradeable. However, the more I played the game, the more it grew on me.
The game screen is not zoomable and the graphics could use a slight boost in size, but you get used to things. I do like the double tap buttons where you essentially have to confirm your actions. This helps prevent buying the wrong tower type or starting game play too soon.
All in all, The Orcs Crusade is a fun and challenging tower defense game. There is room for improvement, but overall it is a nice time waster of a game. I wouldn't mind seeing it make the jump to Windows 10 to allow the larger screen of a tablet to pull out some of the detail in the graphics.
Available for low-memory Windows Phones, there is a trial version of The Orcs Crusade with the full version of the game running $1.99. If you give The Orcs Crusade a try, let us know what you think of things in the comments below.
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George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.