Tower defence just got involving.

For some reason or other, I actually like playing tower defence games. They’re relaxing, simple in nature and gives you a good dose of distraction with the requisite explosion/gore when the mobs meet your meticulously crafted lines of towers. Sanctum 2 takes that to the next level, placing you directly in the line of fire. Or lightning.

Normally, tower defense games are pretty tame. You set up a bunch of things, sometimes even the path the mobs would take, and then watch the action unfold. If you didn’t do it right, you died and that, was that. You would try again with a different strategy and hoped it would work. Reasonably relaxing, and definitely a good time waster. Kind of like watching paint dry. Sanctum asks whether you would want to be put in the line of fire against the mobs with a gun and assist in the defence of the objective.

It’s a very different view of the battlefield when you’re on the ground as a grunt assisting in shooting aliens. They will also attack and defend themselves against you if you get too close. Sanctum 2 has a simple interface and very simple graphics as well. But despite all this, it still feels not quite right. The guns all feel the same, the towers themselves feel underwhelming, even when upgraded, though perhaps that’s because I haven’t played enough, and the graphics are nothing to write home about.

However, the game is fun. The pace at which monsters come and attack the thing you’re supposed to protect is frenetic, and each level ensures that you have something to do other than bask in the glory of the perfect defence. The game is actually challenging and the ability to get in there are fight yourself gives you some more investment in actually defending the objective.

Sanctum 2 is far from perfect, but for a small independent developer, the integration of the very different genres of first person shooter and strategic tower defence makes for surprisingly good bedfellows. It’s a fun, casual distraction for any gamer who might want to forget about the troubles in a bigger, more serious game world, and allows them to just shut up and shoot things.

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