Developer: Coffee Stain Studios
Release Date: May 9th, 2013
Available on: Mobile, PC
Reviewer’s note: I played this game on the PC. There may be differences between versions.
Sanctum is a series of co-op FPS/Tower defense hybrid games that have seen some success on Steam and the consoles. Super Sanctum TD is a much more scaled down version, only focusing on the tower defense part. Does this scaled down version manage to be as interesting as the bigger games, or should you just avoid it?
It feels kind of obvious that Super Sanctum TD was made more for the mobile end rather than the PC end of the spectrum. Each of the game’s 15-ish levels takes place in a small area and each level only takes about fifteen minutes to complete, not counting time you’ll spend retrying levels. You can go into each level with up to four different towers and four different abilities. Both the tower types and abilities you pick are important, and you can also give passive boosts to either through a skill tree system. Every time you complete a level you’ll unlock a skill point to put into one of four… well they’re more lines than trees, so one of four lines. My only problem is that some of the abilities, like one that makes the “walls” that you can put up free of charge, feel like they’re almost mandatory to have and that you absolutely need to spend the points to get them.
The abilities you pick are going to become important, as the enemies are tough and your towers alone can’t stop them. Abilities run a good gauntlet from area of effect explosions, to freezing enemies in place, to powering up your towers. Each one has some kind of use, and you’ll want to experiment to find the ones most comfortable for you. Your towers still play an important role, however, and you’ll need to be sure to pick a set that complements each other well. Just like the abilities there is a good amount of towers that all do something different. Building the most effective maze with the best abilities and towers proved to be a lot of fun.
The various kinds of monsters that you’ll be fighting will also make you pay attention as to how to build the most effective maze. Flying enemies ignore all types of walls, so you’ll have to be sure to keep some anti-air turrets ready in their way. Some of the big lumbering slow moving enemies can take one hell of a beating and still keep getting up to fight more. Later you’ll see enemies that only take damage when you hit their back, that heal other enemies, or that upgrade other enemies. I sort of wish there was a way for your towers to prioritize targets, since they always seem to attack whoever is closest to them no matter how bad of an idea it is to attack that enemy. It’d drive me insane when a loss feels out of my control and that my well made defenses and mazes fell because my towers spent all day shooting the front of the “only gets hurt from behind” enemy and ignored everyone else.
Still, for its cheap asking price, you can get quite a bit of fun out of Super Sanctum TD. It’s not the best tower defense game but after playing it on PC I think I’d recommend the mobile version simply due to the portability of it as this would make a good time killer during a break or something.