In most tower defense games I’ve played, I’ve taken on the role of some sort of overseer that is in charge of plopping down turrets to fend off waves of bad guys. When it comes to the game “McDROID”, this is partially true. While there are turrets you’ll have to build and maintain, it does something pretty unique that sets itself apart from the majority of tower defense games out on the market. Before we explore that in detail, I’d like to thank the folks at Elefantopia LLC for providing me with a free preview copy. It should be noted that this game is currently in the Beta stage of development and thus, all content that you might see in this article is subject to change.
The main menu gives you quite a bit to work with. At first, all I had access to was the single and co-op modes. Once I played a few maps and registered with a username, I was able to customize my avatar and access a bestiary that allowed me to see and read about the aliens I had seen so far. There is also an options menu in the upper right corner of the screen, which you can access by clicking the gear icon. From there, you can adjust visual, sound, and control options while being able to view a help menu. The options available cover your basics like screen resolution, full screen toggle, mouse sensitivity, sound levels, and more. I didn’t see a way to customize keybinds, but I didn’t feel it was necessary since most of my play session involved using a mouse and the arrow keys. In regards to signing up for an account, the registering process only took a minute and was quite painless. This gives you the ability to save your progress on their network, making your high scores and saved game file accessible on any computer.
“McDROID” puts you in control of a robot that has crash landed on a mysterious planet, which turns out to be infested by all sorts of aliens just waiting to ruin your day. To help you survive their onslaught, this robot has a variety of functions. It can repair turrets by being close to them, it can mount a turret of its own which you can fire by aiming and clicking with the mouse, collect and drop off resources, and more.
When you begin your journey, you’ll see a list of all of the missions available to you. Those grayed out can only be accessed by completing the mission before it. While that’s nothing new, you will have the ability to try your luck with challenge and nightmare modes on the levels you’ve previously defeated. The game saves your progress from the difficulty level prior, keeping the turrets you had when you last left. I found this to be a neat mechanic, as it encourages you to do well from the very onset.
The first few levels introduce you to the basics, teaching you the concepts of repairing turrets, picking them up, and placing them in the preset bases you’ll find placed around the map. Yes, that means that there is a fixed turret placement mechanic, though having the ability to pick them up and drop them off at will is a nice touch. I found that this opens the door for a bit of strategic play, as you’ll be able to swap out turrets where and when they are needed. You’ll also be able to save a turret from death by picking it up, which at the same time, will start repairing it automatically.
Your main goal every level is to keep your damaged ship alive, while keeping yourself alive. To do that, you’ll need a way to fund the effort and build more turrets. Strawberries are the currency in this game, and you’ll need to be quick in picking them up as they are grown from various patches scattered around the map. Some of the aliens actively go after strawberries and the plants they are attached to, even to the point of turning them into hideous monsters that can be used against you. To add currency to your pool, you’ll have to run close enough to the strawberries to pick them up, and then bring them back to your spaceship. There are turrets available down the line that harvest these for you automatically.
As you play the game, you’ll notice that enemies will drop blue jewels from time to time. These are harvested the same way that strawberries are and will serve to bank you some research points. At the level select screen, you’ll be able to unlock new abilities with the research points you’ve qued up. Most of them allow you to purchase upgrades for the schematics that you pick up during your travels, giving you the ability to upgrade them in-game and make them more powerful. You can replay previous levels to farm them, should you ever get stuck and need a boost to research.
Besides the single player element, you’ll be able to gather up to three friends and play co-op. There is a lobby available to where players can create their own games and/or join existing ones. You can team up and play the levels found in the single player mode or participate in arena battles. The ability to have multiple robots on the field at once increases the strategy potential tenfold and I’m personally glad to see this kind of feature in a game like this.
Overall, “McDROID” is a fantastic idea that is shaping up rather nicely. I personally like the ability to pick up and fire turrets, and I like the fact that I can instruct nearby turrets to attack my target by doing so myself. This mechanic allows you to be in charge as much as you want to, depending on the other tasks that require your attention. Taking control of an avatar is more work in the end run, but it ensures that you won’t get bored in between waves. The game has incredible difficulty spikes at present, though the developers have admitted as such and are working to balance the gameplay. I would love to see a causal difficulty mode added, making the enemies weaker and pack less of a punch. This would ensure that players of all ages and types (casual, hardcore, etc.) can take enjoyment out of playing the game. If you like tower defense games, I recommend keeping an eye on this one. You can currently buy your way into the Beta on Desura for the sale price of $7.49 (as of 12/16/12), which is fifty percent off the normal price. There is currently no demo, so I included a gameplay video below for your reference to compliment this preview.
You can learn more about and purchase “McDROID” by visiting the following websites:
You can see gameplay videos here: