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Game time – Mars TD

May 14, 2009
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One of the first thing I did after my exams was reading all the things that has piled up in my Google Reader since the beginning of my revision period (along sighing and borrowing two books from the library for my project), so allow me to apologise to Soyin and Vase for the sudden wave of shared items. Amongst this monster wave, there is a little pearl of fun called MARS TD (presumably to stand for Mars Tower Defence).

If you don’t know it already, the so-called “Tower Defence” genre is a spin-off of Real Time Strategy games, somewhat similar to what the “Room Escape” genre is to the Point-and-Click Adventure games. The aim of MARS TD, same as all other Tower Defense games, is to protect a base against a certain number of waves of enemy attacks (the number depends on the difficulty you choose at the beginning). This is achieved by building “towers” (I would have thought “turrets” is a better word) on the map in an attempt to blast off the enemies. The turrets each have a set of attributes (cost, fire power, range and firing rate) which will improve as it is upgraded. A turret gains experience points (and money) when an enemy is kaladinged (refer to the glossary) and will automatically upgrade when the number reaches a certain target, alternatively, turrets can also be manually upgraded with a certain fee. One is allowed preparation time to build and upgrade one’s forces between each wave and a point to note is that swapping positions of turrets (“引越”?) is only free during this preparation time. Money is deducted every time an enemy reaches the base and the game ends if one’s fund is in the negative at the end of a wave.

What I love about this game is that, like a good movie or a good piece of music, the more you play, the more you understand about the underlying mechanism, which is not completely obvious at the start. In a way, I think I might have ruined a bit of the fun of exploration for you by writing the preceding paragraph, hopefully that is only a small part. Another interesting feature of MARS TD is that passing one particular wave with flying colours does not necessarily mean one will have an easy time in the next wave due to the variation of the enemy attack pattern, one therefore has to pay attention to the announcement before preparation time and think about one’s strategy accordingly. My only complaint to the game is that one cannot undo one’s construction hence a mis-click can cost one dearly. Try this one when you are in bed, Lemon, you might like it more than your restaurant!

(Oh, and I would recommend starting on EASY.)

27/08/09 Update:

The game has been updated (“Mars TD Plus”!), there are now three new maps, more user-friendly interface and some new enemy types that calls for new defence strategies. I thought the new maps would be more of the same thing, but I was wrong.

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