McDROID made me feel very old.
Don’t get me wrong I know I’m ancient, but the first hour of this game made the heavy partying I did in the 90’s weigh heavily on my gaming shoulders. As I started the game, suddenly I didn’t know what was happening or what I was seeing. I remember there was a lot of noise, a lot of colour, and then some more noise and I was left planting strawberries for some unknown reason. Confused? Welcome to my world.
What is McDROID? Well…from what I can gather it’s a tower defense game about a robot (you) and his spaceship, coming to a planet to save the wildlife from parasites and creatures. You basically set up defenses in forms of lasers, armor and other special defenses around the selected level map. You then plant the infamous strawberries, which grow, prior to then being harvested and counting towards getting more resources for your mission. In waves , normally six, the creatures attack you and you have to defend your spaceship, yourself and of course your strawberries. Why strawberries? I have no idea.
The game mechanic itself is very much like other games of the genre, whilst you can only really compare this to Plants vs. Zombies in its style and tone. You run around the map and plant your defenses, and when they attack it’s like a game of spinning plates as you run backwards and forwards trying to save everything from going bang. This task feels even more complicated than a normal tower defense game because of the added gathering of the strawberries, which while a nice touch, soon becomes very laborious. In the latter levels the strawberries are normally miles away from the spaceship you’re meant to take it to, so you find yourself trawling back, not being able to do anything useful while being attacked by giant snails and seeing your laser’s turrets being destroyed. It feels like I’m having a horrible day at work and the task ahead being downright impossible.
The upgrade system is pretty well made and it seems that each new level has a new weapon or set of skills to work out. You buy new upgrades with diamonds and in the field by harvesting strawberries you can purchase your weapons. This all seems great until you’re surrounded by enemies, or can’t get through a stonewall because your strawberries have run out and you can’t afford a weapon to get through it. AHHHHH…did I mention that I was old?
I need to be positive now, because from the words above it sounds like the ramblings of a maniac. So here goes…the graphics and style reminded me very much of Borderlands with its cell based dynamic. It looks very colourful, with everything coming out of the screen like a Nickelodeon cartoon. It’s very pretty on the eye even when there are a thousand things going on at once. The sound work is good, even though the tracks during the levels can grate somewhat, but the voice work is fun and enjoyable. There also feels like there is lots to do as well as the main story. There are challenge modes for the real gamer who likes even more pain than the main story can deliver. There is a research center that has you spending enough diamonds that can unlock a wealth of new weapons and gadgets to use in the field. These include giant turrets that can kill a huge snail in a flash, and my own personal fave, a rocket shooting droid dog that would come in real handy where I live in London. All these extra incentives hopefully make you want to progress through the story and improve your gameplay. When you get all these goodies the game really comes into its own and it becomes fun to play. The question is whether you will last that long.
I found while playing through McDroid that it just started out too confusing and was far too complex for me to enjoy. But that’s alright, I don’t think I’m the market for this game and the tricks it has. I’m a person who loves a story, great game mechanics and a slow gradual difficulty curve and this doesn’t deliver any of these well enough for my liking. I think the game is aimed at, and will appeal to, tower defense fanatics as it tries to do something different and new with the format, while giving the player a challenge that is deep and rewarding to master. There is even a nightmare mode for the madder among you; those who love to make their eyes bleed in frustration. The game makes a decent attempt to cater for the mainstream with its cool look and interesting tone, but it’s still in a very crowded market.
The price is however very good and for your hard earned money, McDROID does offer a huge amount of content for the cost. It’s hard to recommend this game or even condemn it because I see some very good intentions and nice ideas in there, it’s whether you can last that that first hour and the madness it brings.