Rest assured, Robot Entertainment’s sequel to their smash-hit tower defense game Orcs Must Die! packs all the strategical mayhem and deliciously destruction as its predecessor. I got my mitts on the game at PAX East and found that everything really is better with a buddy; fan demand for a co-op mode has been answered with flawless execution, adding another layer of strategical shenanigans to the familiar third-person action base.
Joining the warrior mage on his quest to destroy all Orcs is the new sorceress class, a character previously involved but not playable. The action of Orcs Must Die! 2 begins immediately on the heels of the first game’s story, but as of yet the folks at Robot are being secretive about our old enemy’s involvement and why she is fighting alongside her ex-nemesis. Players who dive into co-op mode must lead this pair in cooperation as ugly brutes pour from the rifts.
New traps, tricks, spells, and an upgrade system give players more choice as they litter the battlefield with traps and rifle through their arsenal of magic and weapons. The sorceress can summon the skeletons of dead Orcs to fight for her, as well as snipe her foes with deadly energy by flicking her wand in their direction. New traps freeze Orcs in place, push them off bridges and spear them unexpectedly on iron spikes. It’s like being a hamster ball filled with bone-crunching whoop-worthy death. It’s deeply satisfying in that primal childlike urge-to-laugh-at-cartoon-creatures-biting-dust way.
All this comes in handy against the new-and-improved Orcs, who are now diversified into light, medium, and heavy weight classes. These baddies also have unique tricks up their sleeves, such as splitting into smaller and smaller units that increase in speed as they are killed. The new Troll strain even spontaneously regenerates, which makes it easier to rack up combos, but provide a real nasty challenge to overcome.
The systems have been redone for Orcs, including a complete overhaul of the physics used in the first game. One prominent change is that dead bodies as well as live ones will now trigger traps. Players can use this to their advantage, strategically planning the carnage to set up multiple traps without the advancing Orcs every touching them directly. Just one misstep by one lone Orc and BAM. Game over, you hideous suckers.
Orcs Must Die! 2 is a PC exclusive slated for release this summer.