OTTTD: Going over the top with Over the Top Tower Defense

Over the Top Tower Defense

Another day, another mobile tower defence game. Today’s is SMG Studio’s Over the Top Tower Defense (OTTTD for those who like their acronyms unpronounceable), just released for Android and iOS. But does the TD du jour stand out from the crowd? Actually it does.

I have three tower defence games I measure all others against:

  • Vector TD, whose genius lies in its simplicity and brutal difficulty curve
  • Plants vs Zombies, for sheer production values and for taking things in a different direction
  • Defense Grid, combining narrative and solid gameplay

Now I get to add OTTTD to the list. I’ve only played a bit but what I’ve seen has been a well-constructed game with good mechanics, appealing graphics and a decent learning curve, but what really makes it stand high above the masses is its sense of humour. The introduction alone made me laugh. Out loud. On a crowded train. I’m British you curs, that simply doesn’t happen. This is a game made with love and an attention to detail sorely lacking in most mobile games, and everywhere you look there are little touches, clever or funny, often both. The tutorial introduces the mechanics, the controls and the features smoothly and with style, and it isn’t long before you’re watching the bodies pile up, cackling to yourself. And oh how the bodies do pile up. No gentle fading away here, no clean battlefield, that wouldn’t be OTT now would it?

The weapons – so far at least – are the conventional fare: the weak but fast machine gun, the slow but powerful cannon and the shock tower to slow enemies. Traditional they may be, but they feel like they have real heft to them and the way they tear into the enemy waves is brutally satisfying. And why mess with a winning formula?

As well as placing, constructing and upgrading towers OTT lets you take a growing squad of soldiers – Heroes – into battle too, each of whom add unique skills to the game; it’s not a novel concept but adds nicely to the game and I suspect lends it a lot of replay value as you experiment with strategies and tactics. Again, it’s the little things and the attention to detail that take it one step further. Not content with adding heroes, each time you add one to your squad you get to click away at a random name generator, a little personal touch that gives your squad a certain Cannon Fodder feel, . So now it’s just me, Shifter Clash and Falcon Huge against the oncoming hordes.

If I had to complain about something, and it feels like I do, it’s that the amount of stuff on screen actually gets a little too much for such a small display. It’s easy to lose track of where your heroes are and health bars often get lost behind the clutter. All part of the fog of war, aye, and living up to the Over the Top credo, but still, it does jar slightly with the slickness of the rest of the game. It’s a small matter and one I’m willing to forgive. Have forgiven in fact.

I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played so far of OTTTD and I’ll be going back to it as soon as I can. More than that though, SMG have utterly sold themselves to me and I think I’m in love.

OTTTD is available now on the Apple App Store and Google Play for less than the price of two hundred penny sweets.

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