XBLIG Review: Spoids – Funny Name, Crazy Difficult

Run for the hills, the Spoids are coming!  Spoids appear to be small, robotic minions of doom hell bent on destroying humanity (presumably humanity anyway) and wiping them from the galaxy one planet at a time.  You are the galaxy’s primary defense.  Using a variety of turrets to combat them, you must repel their attacks wave after wave in order to fulfill vital missions.

So yeah, it’s a tower defense game.


That said, it is a pretty in-depth one with a fair amount to offer.  While the game ultimately sports some fairly simple visuals, it does come with a full soundtrack of voice acting (some much better than others), and some honest attempt to set up a story.  In Spoids you race around to various planets in order to assist individuals in various missions (all of course have to do with keeping Spoids from causing too much damage, i.e. making it to the end).  The result is extremely well made, but also frustratingly difficult.

Things start easy (yes, this is what easy looks like)

There is certainly no shortage of enemy types, including for the most part all the various forms of attackers we have come to expect from tower defense games post Defense Grid: fast buggers, tanks, flying bastards, etc.  There is also an equally large amount of turrets, with only a couple really serving as all-purpose.  The maps are largely designed in a way that placing your turret in the right spot can make a huge difference in your defense; huge as in each turret spot almost entirely defines whether or not you succeed in beating the mission.  Place your turrets correctly though and you will certainly get a lot more out of them.

Each mission has three goals or objectives, though only one is needed to “beat” the level.  The three objectives really just come down to surviving longer, with the first objective taking less time.  How many objectives you manage to complete will determine what level of medal you receive at the end: bronze, silver or gold.  The interesting aspect this creates is that quite often the game is not about surviving every wave till they are all gone, but simply surviving long enough to complete at least one objective.  Surviving becomes much more difficult, very quickly.

Between levels you can listen to game related messages

As stated before there seems to be almost as many turrets as there are enemies and this is a big part of what makes Spoids so damn difficult.  You need radar towers to see faders, you need anti-air turrets to combat air attacks, you practically need EMP’s to combat the speedy bastards, and so on.  With many of these costing a fair amount it can be hard to build up while simultaneously maintaining your current defenses (i.e., you’ll desperately need a couple more lasers to avoid damage meaning it’ll take that much longer to get an anti-air turret).  These are all fairly normal issues in a tower defense game but they felt worse in Spoids, where very quickly I was suddenly unable to beat a level without an almost perfect placement of the perfect choice of tower.  It starts to feel like the developers got a little too good at the game themselves so they just kept adding more Spoids in the mix.

Outside of the seriously ramped up and frustrating difficulty, Spoids is a very well made tower defense game and definitely note worthy.  While it is no Defense Grid (lets face it, that game is the stick by which we measure tower defense games), Spoids sports far more variety and effort at storytelling than most games in the genre, especially at the indie level.  If you like an almost maddening challenge with fun and slightly addictive gameplay, Spoids is a good choice for you.  If you prefer a tower defense game that doesn’t (at least seem to) need a very specific course of action to complete (allowing more room for error if you will) than you will have to factor in the cost of a new controller, or two, when deciding whether or not to purchase Spoids. 

Final Rating: 8/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: XBLIG (Coming soon to Steam)
Time to completion: Didn’t complete in time for review, seriously hard.
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: N/A – Copy furnished by AirWave Games
Current Price: 240 Microsoft Points ($3)
Recommend Purchase Price: Can’t go lower (size limits).
Why you should buy it: A solid tower defense XBLIG
Why you shouldn’t buy it: It is almost obscenely difficult.

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About Tristan Rendo

I've made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.