A Poor Defense

Radiant Defense
Reviewed On
Available For

‘Ello Time Wasters!

I’ve confined myself to my tower (okay it’s just a cubicle, but let me dream) this week as I ready my defenses against the evil alien lords and their hordes of minions. That’s right my friends it’s been awhile but I’m ready to tackle another tower defense game!

Radiant Dawn is a spinoff of Hexage’s top down shooter Radiant. Radiant is a homage to the age of Atari. Filled with classic sound effects and many familiar faces, the game really brought back that classic feel. That being said, does Radiant Defense meet the high standards set for it?

No, it doesn’t.

Using the classic sound effects and graphics combined with a similar type of gameplay was a great way to market Radiant. Unfortunately though, Radiant Defense it a completely different type of genre. It lacks the familiar feel of the older games by bringing in a whole new genre of play. Of course this could still work if Radiant Defense was a top notch tower defense game, but it isn’t.

Gameplay in Radiant Defense is sloppy at best. When your whole entire game is focused on the AI of your towers you might want to actually put some time into making sure they can do the job. The towers aren’t set up to prioritize targets that are closer to the base. Let’s say, for example, we have a turret that is placed on a wall that is near both the path for the beginning and end of the route. There is an enemy that is about to make it into your base and destroy it and then there is one who just entered the level and reaches the turrets firing range first. The turret will end up shooting the enemy that just entered the level until it dies or is out of range. This leaves the other enemy scott free to run into our base and destroy it. It’s shoddy programming at work!

Not stopping there, I’ve noticed that the turrets also aren’t programmed to predict the enemy movements. This results in way too many instances of our turrets firing where the enemy was instead of where it is. I’m not talking about the occasional shot missed here or there though. I’ve had times where two turrets will fire after an enemy five or six times until the enemy finally rounds a corner and the change in direction gives the turrets a chance to catch up.

What really gets me more than anything though isn’t that the AI for the turret is bad, it’s that you can tell the developers did it on purpose. Radiant Defense is a free game to download, but if you want the extra weapons, such as explosives or flamethrowers, you’ll have to purchase weapon packs. This might not be enough in itself to incriminate the developers, but they incriminate themselves easily enough. After dying to a certain enemy that our turrets couldn’t handle, the first thought would be "I need to switch up my strategy". Instead though we’re shown a screen of a certain weapon with text reading "Having trouble with this enemy? Buy the we-are-a-bunch-of-cheap-dicks weapons pack to defeat it!".

I’m not against developers wanting to make money. Let’s be honest that is what business is all about. What I am against though is developers using underhanded tactics to get that money. With improved AI on the turrets and the weapons fully unlocked I’d more than happily drop a couple of bucks or so on Radiant Defense. With all of its problems though I don’t feel like I should have to pay to make up for deliberately poor programming.

The future of games is changing. Producers and developers are always looking for new ways to squeeze every penny out of the gamer. I for one am against it. Games aren’t just there for people to make money off of. Games exist to entertain the audience. Do you go to a movie and pay the normal price only to realize all the special effects are gone and the only way to get them back would be to buy an extra ticket? Of course not!

There isn’t a way to get around saying this. Radiant Dawn is a bad game because it was designed to be bad. My advice? Don’t play it. In fact, the gamer community should boycott companies like this. This time it’s an indie developer, a child of the industry if you will, but we all know that their "parents" started this idea. We should stand against the bigger organizations like EA. Not doing so only shows the new indie developers that this type of business model is the right way to go.

Whew, started ranting a little there. Okay back to the review.

Radiant Defense is a poorly designed game made by a poorly ran company. Nice graphics and references to the past generations of gaming aren’t enough to cover up it’s horrible programming and the slap in the face it gives to the gamer community.

Radiant Defense crawls to 1.5 GiN Gems out of 5, and that’s being generous.

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