Dec 30

Written by: Thryon
12/30/2009 11:06 AM  RssIcon

Box Art
52 Weeks of Canadian Gaming - Bonus
Shield Defense
Release Date: June 26, 2009
Developer: Pitch Mobile
ESRB Rating: N/A
Reviewed by: Brian Wray
The main objective of my 52 Weeks of Canadian Gaming challenge was to bring awareness to the huge variety of games created in Canada. I had made the conscious decision a long time ago to focus on retail titles knowing that this would not cover the entire spectrum of the Canadian gaming scene. Canadians are a huge part of the independent game development world. One such indie game developer, Pitch Mobile from my hometown of Moncton NB, asked me if I would cover their Xbox Live Indie game during my challenge. At the time of asking, my entire line-up was already established, but I still wanted to bring much deserved attention to the devs and decided to use my "day off" to spotlight their game “Shield Defense”.

Shield Defense is part action / part strategy title that will require quick reflexes as well as a quick mind. The main objective is to defend a secret military base against enemy tanks using nothing more than a shield that repels enemy artillery back at them. The game comprises of 25 rounds with 12 enemy thanks per round that must be eliminated.

Enemy tanks come in various flavour each shooting a different type of artillery or shot pattern. Some will fire regular rounds that move fast and produce little damage, while others will shoot missiles that are much slower but way more powerful. Some enemies will fire weapons that can cause secondary damage which are often more devastating in the long run. For example are the tanks that will fire EMP burst that cause little physical damage, but will disable the bases’ main shield leaving it a sitting duck for a quick and painful death.
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At the completion of each round, once all 12 enemy tanks have been eliminated, the player will be rewarded with money and possibly special upgrade points. The money can be used to purchase upgrades for the existing base's infrastructure such as a more powerful shield or faster artillery bounce backs. Upgrade points on the other hand can be used to purchase new base accessories such as defense against EMP or fire based artillery.

The visuals in Shield Defense are extremely simplistic. The models are all 2D sprites with a simple backdrop that does a great job at allowing all enemy fire to be easily spotted. While it would have been nice to have HD graphics with a beautifully rendered terrain and 3D models, all these things would not have changed the gameplay and therefore not actually required.

The audio is acceptable for this type of game. I would have preferred to have huge explosions that shook up my entire room, but this is nitpicking.

The controls are very responsive allowing for quick movements that is essential to survival at the higher difficulty level. At one point the gamer will need to master the use of both analog sticks. Even then the controls are quite responsive.
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My main complaint about the title is that the game difficulty level ramps up quite slowly. The game did not begin to be challenging till about level 15. Now to offset this slow progression there is a difficulty option implemented into the game to allow a more challenging gameplay from the start, but even on hard it was still quite easy going with the main strategy being to acquire the sticky shield then it was easy sailing till the final level.

Shield Defense is a simple game. Do not mistake the word simple for boring. Pac-Man, Peggle and Tetris are all simple games that are extremely addictive and enjoyable. The game will not achieve cult status as the above listed titles simply based on limited re-playability factor, but it is all the same an addictive title that will keep the average gamer busy for several hours. This is not a bad deal considering the asking price is less than the price of a cup of Timmie's (80MS points to be precise).
--Brian Wray

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