Fighting as one against many is instantly a cool feeling, and the weaponry at your disposal is awesome to behold. Watching the devastation is half the fun in Defense Grid
, but you'll have to keep your eye on several other things to really master the challenge. Each tower type features a weapon that is generally well suited against a specific enemy. The Gun tower is perfect for any occasion, does damage to all enemy types, and is easy on the resource pocketbook. Eventually you'll graduate to more specialized weapons, as the enemy floods in with new, and more exotic challenges. Flamethrower-style towers, the Inferno, and ranged weapons like the Cannon or Meteor function well against clustered enemies. Inferno works great in confined spaces, while the ranged weapons are only good at a distance. Temporal towers do nothing but slow enemies down, which can be used in combination with natural bottlenecks and other towers to create highly effective killing areas. The geography and placement of towers is at least as important as learning the various types. Each tower has its pros and cons, but if you fail to correctly read the level, no amount of tower placement will help you.
Controls are simple, with (A) or (B) doing their typical job of selecting or canceling, and the (Y) button displays important range information. Knowing range is key, since you can't exactly do damage to enemies you can't reach... Squeezing the trigger initiates the ultimate weapon in this game, a satellite laser that does extremely high area damage to one location on the map. Pulling off a successful attack with this baby is tricky, but well worth the effort! Controlling Defense Grid is a dream, and even PC gamers will quickly forget they are holding the Xbox 360 controller instead of driving a mouse and keyboard.
Defense Grid is completely addictive, righteously aggravating, and impossible to dislike. Part casual game, part puzzle game, and always strategic, it is the thinking man's alternative to run-and-gun action or cutesy RPG fare. There's nothing quite like it on XBLA, and precious few ways in the world to get more entertainment for $10 that won't make you fat.