Orcs Must Die 1

Orcs Must Die! 3 Review

Solid but forgettable

Tower defence games are an odd breed. The standard version of the genre is just plonking things down, upgrading them when you can, and hoping you can get through to the next level. They’re simple, but they’re good fun. Orcs Must Die! Is a tower defence series, but it gets you a little bit more involved with the action by also throwing in some third-person shooting. 

Now, I know that Orcs Must Die! 3 is the third entry in the series, but it’s not a series that many have heard of, so a little bit of information about what’s going on here is always a good thing. Every round goes like this; you get some time to lay down a variety of traps, then you let the horde of orcs know you’re ready to fight, and they charge through trying to whittle down your health. 

It’s standard tower defence stuff, but it’s fun. The traps you get are the sort of gimmicks you’d expect, like tar pits and arrow launchers, but are also more fantastical things like gravity lifts. You need to place these in a way that lets them interact with each other, because it’s more effective that way, but as the game goes on, you’ll also need to cover multiple paths instead of just one, so it can be tricky to prioritise things. 

Mowing down orcs

Thankfully, along with your traps, you also have yourself. You’re a powerful student capable of taking down hordes of orcs on your own anyway, and you can use a variety of weapons to do so. Each one has its pros and cons, much like the traps, and it can be quite fun to experiment with what works best for you overall, along with choosing the weapons that best fit your styles of play. 

As you progress you’ll not only unlock new ways of dealing with the persistent hordes of enemies, but also be able to upgrade your favourites too. You’ll earn Skulls depending on your performance in the missions, and you can then invest these to improve both your weapons and traps, meaning you can finely craft your own way of doing things.

Sticking to the mould

The core gameplay loop here is quite good fun, and substantially more so with a friend, but I can’t help but feel as though it’s not really breaking any new ground. Everything here feels a bit guarded and familiar. Sure, there are more enemies to fight and some new modes, and those are fun, but it’s all just a bit safe. 

That’s not to say it’s not a fun game, because it is, but it’s not the kind of fun that sticks in your memory and draws you back in time and time again. It’s all a bit forgettable, and maybe that’s just a case of me having my expectations set too high, but I just feel like tower defence games can do more. 

That’s especially true with Orcs Must Die! 3, because the addition of shooting should add extra layers to the combat, but most of the weapons feel a bit anticlimactic to use. Again, they’re fun, but they’re never going to take your breath away or get your heart rate up. They’re all solid, but it’s not spectacular. If you’re already a fan of the series then you’ll probably enjoy this, but you’ll also find yourself uncomfortably comfortable with it all, because with Orcs Must Die! 3, not much has really changed.