15th Mar2019

‘X-Morph: Defense’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

x-morph-defense-art

The trailer for this game completely grabbed me; with it’s well-presented blend of Real Time Strategy, Tower Defence and Shoot-em-Up it seemed to be onto a winning formula. And it was.

In a nice change of pace, in this isometric title YOU are the attacking alien horde attempting to suck the resources out of Earth whilst fending off those pesky humans. Set over a wide variety of exotic worldly locations, each scenario has the same basic premise… protect the Harvester whilst fighting off increasingly more intense waves of attack. Your ship starts off with basic offensive capabilities and the ability to construct towers to shoot at the enemy but quickly unlocks more upgrades such as flamethrowers, shields and the neat trick of linking up two turrets into an electric fence which will cause the approaching human forces to have to find a way around them. Whilst it initially seems a bit silly that the humans would drive in a straight path to you in single file, levels quickly open up into multiple routes which really open up the defensive possibilities and mean that things can get pretty hectic as the waves of Humvees, tanks and air support (including the occasional screen-filling boss, natch) get more and more numerous, aggressive and hardy.

The controls are really, really saucy. In your build mode or ‘Ghost Mode’, you are able to zip through buildings and cannot be harmed, meaning that you can construct defences without fear of reprisal, whilst this can be done during waves of attack, it is best to make use of the brief moments of calm between rounds to get your cement and trowel out and protect that all important Harvester. Then there is the main ‘attack’ scenario sections where the controls are a twin-stick affair and extremely smooth (as is the frame rate), responsive and satisfying. There are also upgrades which are made available between missions that give boosts to not just your craft but also towers and the Harvester itself.

The presentation of X-Morph: Defense really is top notch; the game drags you in with the epic voice-acting (especially on behalf of the intense alien commander), grandiose music and various combat noises that add to the ambience. Combine this with a split-screen mode for multiplayer action and the longevity of the game ramps right up for cool local co-op play. There is also a survival mode for those after a really intense challenge.

X-Morph: Defense really surprised me; it’s rare for me to see a trailer that grabs me and for the full game to have the same impact. A very clever and seamless blend of genres that can be both sessioned on and also dipped into. The only minor gripe was the half-hearted warning that your alien commander gives you when you try to block off all access to the harvester for the humans, as this is obviously essentially finding a way around the game mechanics, he basically says, ‘….aw…don’t do that’, but that is a really minor issue with what is a very well-designed and addictive title.

X-Morph: Defense is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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