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DSiWare has taken a beating since it's inception earlier this year, and rightfully so. To charge for clocks and calculators (things that just about every cell phone does) feels like a rip off. But there are a few silver linings in the line-up...
Viking Invasion is one such example. It's a Tower Defense game which borrows from a comic book look and sense of humor. If you have played Swords & Soldiers on WiiWare then you'll notice this game feels like it's spiritual TD little brother to that.
There is a Campaign mode consisting of 10 levels, and a survival (endless) mode where you do exactly that on each of the campaign maps. There is even bonus level/mode (when you complete the campaign) which I won't spoil - but it's more than just an extra level. You get a different perspective and different game play elements.
You spend your time fighting off a "greatest hits" of beings from Norse mythology. They come down predetermined paths (in this case rivers) while you get to place tower (turrets) on hex shaped areas on the land near the waters edge. There are 6 types of towers, each with 3 upgradeable abilities for a total of 18 unlockable types.
I found there is a lot more replayability in this game then meets the eye. Don't let the "only 10 levels" thing fool you. The maps are very well laid out, each one feeling just unique enough to make you have to rethink strategy from the last. Not to mention you gain "upgrade runes" by defeating bosses (which are Norse Gods), some of them you cannot get until you pass those levels and have to go back to them with different upgrades because you weren't strong enough at the initial play-through.
On the other side of things, there are a few things that it's hard to believe they overlooked. Not that the game is bad or broken, but if they would have improved on just a few things, this could have been a retail game at $19.99.
First, the Play/Pause/Fast-Forward button is the same "on screen" button, so you have to scroll through them to get to what you want. Almost every time you want to pause the game to make more towers or upgrade them, you have to fast-forward a little first. This can be the difference between killing an enemy and them escaping all too often.
Not good use of buttons, you can do everything on the touchscreen which is nice, but the Play/Pause/Fast-Forward should have been on buttons like the L/R ones. The D-pad allows you to move the screen but it's so slow that you'll find you'll just always use the stylus movement anyway.
No online leader boards. It keeps your score which is good, and there are the typical Bronze, Siliver, Gold medals. Which adds replay value but some added incentive would have been nice.
Finally, no lefty support. Not a big deal - I'm a lefty and I can play just fine. But really, how hard is it to give the option to remap 2 or 3 things. (As you can see, control issues are my main complaint, but I am always hardest on the ones I love!)
When I first downloaded it and played it for about 20 minutes I thought, this is a good game - but maybe worth 500 points, not 800. Now that I've played it for several hours and stop playing games like Scribblenauts, Mario & Luigi, and Professor Layton to play this instead I do think the value is justified.
It might not be the best Tower Defense out there, or the best DSiWare game out there. But the price, the art, the gameplay, the sense-of-humor and the "instant fun" you can have with this title makes a worthwhile purchase.
8 out of 10
I wish we could drag and place the towers instead of having selected places for them to go.
Yes. But remember it is a little 8 dollar download. Could be better, but I'm happy to be getting little titles like this at least.
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