Pixeljunk Monsters: I Don’t Get Tower Defence Games And That Makes Me Bad

pixeljunk Monsters HD

I should preface this article by saying that I really don’t play a lot of tower defence games. I played Castle Storm on PS Vita for a while, and that was mildly entertaining, but I just don’t get it. The main problem I have with them is that, for the most part, they seem to draw out the tension of risk/reward too far. In other words, I just don’t want to play a game that drags on for half an hour only to lose on the last wave of enemies, leaving me with nothing but a gaping, half-hour-sized hole in my life. I could have done like, half a sudoku in that time.

In the spirit of this site, I started to consider what exactly it was that left me so unsatisfied after playing yet another hour of Monsters today. Was it that the first couple waves seem so easy then one wave just completely screws you over by making your towers useless (some towers only attack ground enemies, while some only attack flying ones)? Is it because I just have no idea how to effectively play tower defence games?

pixeljunk Monsters HD capOkay, so that last one might actually be true, given my inexperience in the genre. But STILL. I’m on the first area and I can’t get more than three or four levels cleared! Maybe it’s because I’ve just come from playing Hotline Miami and Spelunky where the gratification is basically instant. Tower defence doesn’t offer up satisfaction that easily.

Which brings me to something that I think I’ve been struggling with a lot lately: what kind of gamer am I? I don’t play Dark Souls, nor do I see myself dedicating twelve hours a day to mastering it. I don’t do crosswords or play chess. I don’t REALLY want to invest too much time into manipulating new systems in games. Is it possible that I’m the dreaded “casual” gamer?

The truth is, I just don’t have time to play games that much. I have a day job (unrelated to video games) and any free time I have is usually dedicated to writing, whether it’s here or on the other sites I contribute to. So where does that leave me?

I suppose it’s possible to be satisfied as a casual gamer. Maybe I can write about video games enough that it’ll SEEM like I’m a hardcore gamer/ But won’t the real experts will see through that right away? I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself; after all, every minute I have during the day that isn’t dedicated to using my brain (i.e. some laborious, repetitive task) is spent listening to video game podcasts, reading through reviews, and even just slamming idea after idea into Evernote.

Dungeon Defenders cap

Dungeon Defenders screencap

But still, does anyone actually like tower defence? The games usually seem so small, like mobile games, yet they take forever to play and the pacing is like MOLASSES. I suppose there are the hybrid games like Dungeon Defenders that seem to amp up the excitement a bit, but I’ve yet to try it and my scepticism might stop me from playing these games altogether.

Even when it comes to JRPGs, which I do enjoy, I’m the boring dude who never challenges the gym leaders or minibosses until I know I’m way ahead of the curb because I beat the tar out of any random encounters in the area. Which is ironic if you consider what small amount of time I have in my daily schedule to actually play anything.

So I put this plea out to the internet: Please convince me that tower defence games are good. Explain to me why I’m a philistine so that I can change my hedonistic ways.

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