South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play! Comic-Con 2009 PreviewBy Sterling McGarvey - Posted Jul 25, 2009
The only way to describe the gap between South Park titles is as something resembling nuclear fallout. Acclaim saw fit to piledrive the franchise into the ground with a series of half-baked atrocities during the early part of this decade. Call it reticence on the part of South Park Studios to get burned again, but it's been a long, long time since we last saw a South Park title. Microsoft announced that it was at work on an Xbox Live Arcade title last year at E3, but all has been quiet until now at Comic-Con 2009. I managed to pop down on a cozy couch Thursday night and try out one of the most self-descriptive games in quite some time, South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!
As Kyle, Stan, Kenny, or Cartman, you attack invading hordes with flurries of snowballs, which you can throw in several directions. In this tower defense game, the tower is South Park itself, and you must protect it from waves of miscreant children and dirty hippies. No, seriously, waves of dirty hippies will test the durability of your laser turrets, tennis ball launchers and man-made barriers. The game includes multiplayer for up to four players, which fits the roster of South Park's young heroes perfectly. If you don't quite have a full team, you can tap on the right bumper to switch between characters.
SPLGTDP (wow, that's quite the acronym) offers up plenty of tower defense action, it's also slightly reminiscent of other games. The way that characters move recalls some recent space shooters. Once you clear a stage, all of the engineered weapons explode into a burst of coins. You and you friends scramble to collect them all within a time limit. It's a quiet nod to the classic early 90s Konami beat-'em-ups like The Simpsons and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
It boasts some great visuals that capture the feel and presentation of the show. I'd even go so far as to say that it beats the fidelity of many of the episodes on Xbox Live Video Marketplace. Many of them are standard def, and this game touts crisp HD graphics. I couldn't hear any of the dialogue during the loud press reception -- when Halo 3: ODST and The Beatles: Rock Band are ten feet away, you wouldn't hear much else -- but I was assured that it will feature some very authentically South Park moments.
2009 seems to mark a year that stigmatized licenses are breaking the cycle of awful tie-in games. This year, we could be perilously close to seeing a Batman game that doesn't suck. And finally, nearly a decade after the first-person stinker that was the first South Park game, Microsoft is seeing fit to deliver a potentially awesome licensed title. Not only that, but it could be the first tower defense game to wean me off PixelJunk Monsters. No small feat.