If you’ve been following along, you may have picked up that I enjoy strategy games. I like reasoning and problem solving…mainly because I enjoy the journey itself and the satisfaction that I receive when I do come through successfully. Tower defense games scream strategy, as you are constantly trying to find the best setup possible to stave off whatever those enemy mobs are after.
Sanctum is similar to Dungeon Defenders as it allows the player to shoot in first person mode while building towers to defeat enemy waves. Both games task you with protecting something…in Sanctum, it’s “the core.” However, there are plenty of differences between the two that set them apart.
For one, the scaling of towers and characters are very different. In Dungeon Defenders, characters were almost as tall as the towers. In Sanctum, towers dwarf the character completely and some of the enemies feel like they’ll be trampling you should you get too close to them. Fortunately, you have no health in Sanctum…if you touch an enemy you get knocked back, but that’s it.
You’ll have access to various weapons and towers, which you can customize the load out of before a new map starts. In Dungeon Defenders, you unlocked towers as you went, but had access to the same ones. In Sanctum, you’ll be able to pick and choose which ones you want to take with you…this includes weapons. If you want to upgrade your weapons in Sanctum, you have to pay for it with credits during the round, and all weapons reset to their lowest level every map. Dungeon Defenders has a loot system that lets you keep what you pickup, allowing you to customize your character more so than in Sanctum.
There aren’t any classes in Sanctum like in Dungeon Defenders, but as I mentioned earlier, you’ll be able to pick and choose which towers and weapons you want to take with you. More towers and weapons are available via DLC, should you ever wish to increase your arsenal.
Sanctum still manages to offer a lot and is fun in its own right. The campaign mode will keep you busy for a while, saving your progress in between certain waves via a checkpoint system. This is something that I wish Dungeon Defenders offered. At first, Sanctum offered limited multiplayer support, but has grown to where it can offer four player co-op, which I have yet to try. There are also leaderboards available to show off your scores, along with other game modes to keep things fresh.
That’s all fine and good, you’re probably thinking, but how does it play? What kind of weapons and towers are there?
First, let’s address weapons. You’ll have access to an assault gun, freeze gun, sniper rifle, a missile launch (REX), and a shotgun. All of them have a secondary fire mode. More weapons are available via DLC, which are worth picking up during a sale.
As far as towers go, there are preset places for players to build them. Don’t worry, there are PLENTY to choose from…in fact…that is half the strategy. Most towers must be built on cheap blocks, which a player must put down first before he or she can place a tower. These blocks will set the path for mobs to follow…meaning…you’ll have to create a maze of blocks long enough to stop mobs from directly making a run at the core.
The towers that require blocks are the gatling turret, lightning tower, scatter laser tower, anti-air tower, and teleporter, just to name a few. In case you were wondering, the teleporter allows players to quickly warp around the map in the blink of an eye…useful for when a certain group of enemies need your personal attention.
There are “traps” you can place on those preset areas and don’t require blocks. These range from slow fields and amp fields up to killing floors. Like towers, these ground based traps can be upgraded via credits in between waves.
The types of mobs you’ll face will vary…some will run quickly but have low health and others will move slowly and have a lot if health. Some can only be damaged from behind and some respond better to certain forms of damage than others. You’ll have access to a small library which helps to remind you on how best to deal with them.
All in all, Sanctum is a fun tower defense game to play, and I applaud its creators for helping to jump-start the genre. I still prefer Dungeon Defenders over Sanctum, but I do play it from time to time, just to mix things up. At the time of writing, it’s going for $9.99 on Steam, and is worth every penny. Of course, you could always wait for it to go on sale…I’ve seen it go as low at 75% off, not too shabby. If you enjoy tower defense games, give this one a shot!
Final Verdict: 9/10
You can check out video play sessions here: