The idea is that little creeps run through this hedge maze, and you must stop them before they can exit again. You build defenses like arrow towers and cannons to pummel the creeps as they run the maze. If too many make it through, the game is over.
It’s deviously simple and single-minded, but the fact that your biggest source of income is interest earned on money you still have makes the game very interesting. The money you save now will build on itself later, which encourages you to push your luck and avoid building as much as you might need.
I got the link from Jay. I finally managed to beat the game, with 17,810 points and $8,631 in the bank. Is that good? I dunno. The author keeps mucking about with the game and making balance changes, which means you can’t compare yesterday’s scores with today’s.
Obsessive over-analysis follows:
Several factors affect the difficulty of a wave of creeps. First is the number of hit points each one has. The game starts with 10hp creeps at level one and ends with 30,000hp creeps at level thirty-eight. The second factor is the length of the line – how many total creeps there are. The third factor is the speed at which they move.
Early in the game you can build cannons, which will tear through a long line of slowly-moving creeps, but will be inneffective against a short line of fast-moving ones. The game keeps switching these parameters around, making the lines shorter or longer and the movement faster or slower. This can create a false sense of security on one level, leading you to get overwhelmed in the next.
Placing defenses in the middle seems tempting, but after some trial and error I see this is misleading. A tower in the middle gets to shoot at everyone once. To look at it another way, the line has to pass by it once. Lines are generally short enough that a tower on the right side of the screen will be more effective because the line will pass it twice. The last guy will have moved out of range by the time the guy at the head of the line comes back into range. So, I found towers along the top (which can reach both the entrance and exit) and along the right (which must be passed twice) to be the most cost effective.
In my picture above, the tower on the far left is the most wasteful. A lot of its coverage is wasted because it is so close to the edge of the board. The creeps have to endure it only once. The fact that the maze takes them all the way around it helps, but in the long run this just isn’t as helpful as making them walk by it twice.
It is possible to build water towers, which slow down the enemy, but once in a while you get a level where the creeps are immune to this. Since you have to cope with these levels from time to time, I found it was better to not waste money on water defenses.
There are also “flying” units that attack. They still follow the maze, but cannons can’t hit them. So, rather than try to balance two different types of defenses (air and ground) I just built a whole bunch of arrow towers, which can attack both. Arrows aren’t as effective as cannons or anti-air towers, but you can make up for this by building lots of them.
My own solution was to increase my interest rate for the first few upgrades, and then buy fire towers. I wish the author would settle down and stop fiddling with the game, as it would be fun to compare strategies and see what works.
The Mistakes DOOM Didn't Make
How did this game avoid all the usual stupidity that ruins remakes of classic titles?
Let's ruin everyone's fun by listing all the ways in which zombies can't work, couldn't happen, and don't make sense.
The plot of this game isn't just dumb, it's actively hostile to the player. This game hates you and thinks you are stupid.
Diablo III Retrospective
We were so upset by the server problems and real money auction that we overlooked just how terrible everything else is.
The Witch Watch
My first REAL published book, about a guy who comes back from the dead due to a misunderstanding.