Hell Warders from Anti Gravity Studios and published by PQube Games is a new tower defence title which has just been released across consoles and Switch. Under normal circumstances I do tend to avoid this genre of game as the repetitiveness bores me. The basic idea of setting up your defences and then allowing waves of enemies attack whilst (hopefully) those defences hold up and kill them off has never really got my juices flowing, but is this title any different?
Publisher PQube games usually bring across Japanese Anime titles to the Western world, but every now and then they do like to surprise us with a different genre. Hell Warders is quite simply a multiplayer action hero defence title where players face waves of demonic armies.
So, to do this you need to set up your defences at the start of the various waves which attack using characters which all hold different abilities, be it archers who can defend from a distance or pikemen who will attack the enemy at a much closer range as well as spell casters and more. Whilst all this is going on you personally control your own character and can move around and attack freely; something which is missing from a lot of other titles that are on the market.
With around 20 levels including a couple of boss levels thrown into the mix, there’s certainly quite a bit to keep you occupied for a while and the numerous different enemies, all with their own unique abilities keep you on your toes at all times running around each level trying to help your various defence teams that you have set up. The game does well at warning you which enemies are about to attack at the start of the level, but also during the fight you do get updates of which enemy is about to attack and from which door they will be coming. Yes, that does mean that enemies attack from multiple angles at once, so you do have to plan ahead whilst setting up. Luckily, if you do get killed on a level you can start it again, its not just game over and start from scratch. That way at least you can learn from your mistakes and make sure they don’t happen again.
Now, although I did actually have more fun with this title than I thought I was going to, the game does come with its issues. First and foremost is the Voice Acting. Yes, I do tend to touch on these bits in reviews a bit, but being a Voice Actor myself it does stand out and as its a major part of a game its something which needs to be done right. In Hell Warders the voices were ‘forced’ and felt overdone. Sometimes less is more, but not in this case as whoever was employed to bring the script to life was one of those background artists in a film who thinks they deserve to be centre of attention and completely overact their part which actually makes them look like a complete idiot!
Then there is the damage that you inflict on enemies, it isn’t consistent. In the first level alone I could kill one enemy with 2 strikes and then go after another enemy of the same type and it would take 4 strikes to kill them off. This comes in to play much more as the level difficulties increase the further you progress. Enemies become much harder to fight off and kill and it doesn’t help with this issue being a large contributing factor.
Luckily enough the game won’t break the bank for you to buy it, its a budget game but it does feel like it was made on a tight budget at times, you can tell that it hasn’t been made by a large studio, but that’s what PQube games do best. They take a chance on smaller developers to give them a chance of bringing their creations to light. Given the game does have its issues it was still enjoyable enough to keep my attention throughout.
Stats can be increased after each level to strengthen your main character as well as defence units, but the game does very little to explain this so you do get the sense of trial by error at times, but once you do get used to it you’re well on your way to kicking some series demonic ass. Once you do get used to the game there is an online multiplayer mode for upto 4 players to group together but as of writing this review you could see the tumbleweeds running across the screen whilst trying to find players to team up with, I’m sure that having 4 players working together will make the game a lot easier to get through. Once you do complete the single player game on normal difficulty this will unlock a hard mode but to be honest, once I had finished the game I wasn’t really feeling the need to play it all through again.
For a budget title, the game is still fun enough to play and at the price it has been released for it will be worth playing for fans of tower defence games. If you can look past the few flaws the game has it is a title to enjoy. I did have fun, but unfortunately the game does nothing to break my feelings about the genre.
6/10 for me.
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were kindly supplied with a review copy by PQube Games. This has in no way influenced my opinion on the game as per our review policy**