It’s not exactly something you’d expect, is it? Goes to show what curious products can be wrought from the blending of unfamiliar genres. Sanctum provides a clever mix of these two different styles with action-intensive, dynamic gameplay that allows you, the player, to maintain a greater control over your maze, and subsequently, the creatures within. Layman’s terms, if your towers don’t finish the wave off, do it yourself. This ain’t no hands-off TD! You think you can win by loafin’? Snap to it!
There are two means by which to destroy your black and orange alien enemies. Turrets, or guns. I’m sure I don’t need to explain either, so I’ll just get into what gadget does what, and why it’s useful. We’ll start with guns, since it’s a much smaller category. All weapons run on a heat system, requiring cooling once the cap is met.
- Assault Gun: Pew pew pew! Alt-fire for grenades (add 50% heat).
- Sniper: Alt-fire to aim… Boom. Headshot. High damage, small clip.
- Shotgun: Good clip for good scatter. Alt-fire to charge multiple shells.
- REX: Rocket launcha’. Low clip for high damage, alt-fire for lock-on homing missiles. Excellent anti-air.
- Freeze Gun: No damage, temporary immobilization of enemies. One round clip and long reload, so use it wisely.
The towers are many, so I’ll be a little more concise whilst describing them.
- Block: Basic structure. Must be placed before anything else may be. Used for mazing; incredibly cheap.
- Televator: Used for TAB teleportation and lifting the player.
- Slow Field: Standing in it is so fun and trippy. Seriously. Heh.
- Kairos: Slows air units via temporarily spawned fields.
- Amp Field: Increases damage dealt to whatever’s inside the field.
- Killing Floor: A self-rearming landmine, basically.
- Holo: Monsters can’t get through, but players can shoot through it.
- Gatling: Cheap, weak, but wonderful when bought in large numbers.
- Anti-Air: Missiles everywhere! Slow but potent, with big explosions.
- Penetrator: Line ‘em up and knock ‘em down. Nothing stops these bullets!
- Lightning: High damage, low rate of fire. Upgrade it and it’ll chain.
- Mortar: Arc and boom! Slow to deliver, but oh, does it deliver.
- Scatter Laser: Attacks air and ground. Upgrade to increase accuracy.
- Violator: Air and ground. High powered single shots. Slow rate of fire.
- Accelerator: The longer it shoots a target, the more damage it does.
The name of the game is keeping aliens from the core of the stage. You’ll know what to defend; it’s big, spherical, glows, and your health percentage drops when an enemy enters it. The bigger the creature, the bigger the pain, so don’t let the huge guys through.
That leads me into the very abridged description of the enemy types. Don’t worry, I won’t do another list. I’m just going to give you the gist of what you need to prepare for, okay? You see, the game provides you with an encyclopedia of enemies, and a little window that depicts which enemies you’ll encounter in the coming wave. You have speedy enemies, swarmy enemies, tanky enemies, enemies that can only be hit from behind, enemies that need to be hit with a high damage weapon to have their shields removed, jittery flying enemies, and even more! This basically means you need to build your maze with everything in mind. Everything. Start off with short-term reactions to imminent waves, then as you start rackin’ up the cash, level them guns and towers up.
Sanctum’s available on Steam for $10, or $15 as a DLC-heavy bundle. It’s hard to play in large amounts, but still very fun nevertheless; you’re getting your money’s worth regardless of your DLC desire. Oh, and one final thing. The game content is split between the demo and the full game, so if you want to test the game out first (which you should), you’ll have to endure two instances of downloading. It’s only really a pain if you have a somewhat slow internet connection, yeah? Enjoy.
Maurice Tan of Destructoid offers a pleasant review of Sanctum, but warns against the low overall content and simplistic gameplay despite having a 3D plane to work with. I agree that Sanctum feels like a very small game, but I wouldn’t label it as a bad game because of this; it’s more of an ongoing project that can be trusted to improve. Here’s the link for some cross-referencing: http://www.destructoid.com/review-sanctum-198847.phtml