The current generation is full of indie games and they are not only great, some of these can easily rival a classic blockbuster. They have also helped subside some of the loss of small or mid-budget games from the large publishers. Aegis Defenders is the latest release to hit the Nintendo Switch, which is without a doubt, the indie platform of choice. Aegis Defenders originated as a Kickstarter project and was initially pitched back in 2014. The developers have taken their fair share of time to get the game out and it does seem like the years of hard work has paid off with the final product.
Aegis Defenders is a hybrid mix of a side-scrolling shooter with tower defense. Perhaps it has been done before in some other games, so I wouldn’t really call it a new concept, but the way the developers have worked it out here is actually a pretty good implementation of both genres integrated into one. The tower defense aspects of the game are directly connected to the platforming and both work in conjunction to offer an interesting mix of gameplay mechanics.
Aegis Defenders revolves around building a variety of gadgets and traps that are used during the tower defense phase, however the game doesn’t limit the player in any way to use them when they explore a level. Each level offered in the game is full of secrets with collectibles to be found that require you to use your newly acquired gadgets to reach them. These are unlocked through rep points which are acquired by playing through the story mode. As you complete levels, you will unlock more variety of gadgets and traps and can even upgrade their level to increase their power.
Each level deals with collecting resources and then ends with a tower defense phase where you are free to build gadgets and traps for the oncoming onslaught of enemies. The game offers multiple difficulty modes for challenge while the normal difficulty is actually pretty easy once you learn how to properly utilize your skills. The tower defense phase works as you normally expect from the standard difficulty. A time frame is given at the start of the each wave of enemies that lets you gather resources and then use them to build your gadgets and traps. Once it ends, you can still use your characters to attack enemies making sure that they don’t reach the main objective of each stage.
There are cutscenes that advance the story and detail some of the plot usually end with giving the player a choice to select from multiple answers. Depending on what you answer for a question, you might get a set amount of rep (RP) points which are used as a form of currency. At the end of each level, you can see the rewards for completing certain requirements including finding all secret collectibles.
While the general gameplay is enjoyable, it also tends to get repetitive during the Tower Defense phase. Once you have built up a strong arsenal of weapons, most of the enemy attacks will be useless against your traps and gadgets. To perform upgrades for your weapons or to get new ones, you will have to collect gems. To do the same for your gadgets including unlocking the new type of gadgets and upgrading old ones, you will have to gain rep points through the story moments.
You will control multiple characters in Aegis Defenders, and they are all switched with the press of a single button. Puzzles sometime revolve around the character switching mechanics but they are mostly simple. During the tower defense phase, this plays an important role since if you place a character at a location and switch to another, they will keep attacking the enemies coming in their direction and line of attack. The computer controlled AI is not exactly helpful in this regard so you will be left out trying to survive each wave on your own.
The visuals of Aegis Defenders are part of the charm of the game. They don’t exactly look like 16-bit pixels that you usually see in most indie games, and instead the art style attempts to emulate the same visuals as of the classic games but with a modern touch. However, one aspect of this art style is that it makes everything appear a little too small, but perhaps this was an intentional move by the developers. I am not an artist so I wouldn’t really know the concept behind why they settled on this art style, however when it does work, it looks pretty good to say the least.
There aren’t any major problems with Aegis Defenders on the Nintendo Switch. The game supports native resolution when using the portable mode and works well upscaled in docked mode, however the art style seems to be made for a small screen so this is where it works best for me as well.
Aegis Defenders Review (Switch)
Game description: Take on wild beasts, ruthless soldiers, and ancient gods in this 2D Action-Platformer inspired by Tower-Defense combat.
An enjoyable experience featuring light RPG mechanics, platforming and tower defense all in a single game. Aegis Defenders is a must have for fans of the genre.