Summer of Indie – Games Review: Sanctum

For a while it seemed like every almost every indie developer under the sun was trying their hands at a Tower Defense Game, where you build a network of guns and blocks to stop waves invading monsters/aliens/zombies from reaching your rear area to wreak havoc. And equally quickly they reached saturation point, as with a few exceptions they’re all largely the same. But now we have one with a real twist – billed as the first “First Person Tower Defense Game” – with Sanctum.

Sanctum has been out a while, but launched a reputation for being a bit buggy, and lacking a four-player multiplayer mode. Like a lot of small studios relying heavily on digital distribution, the game has been steadily patched and updated, and is now a very steady and smooth experience. The core gameplay is simple – like most Tower Defense games you have an objective to defend, and waves of monsters will spawn and try to reach it. Each one that reaches it reduces its health until it reaches zero and then you are treated to a nice graphic of them wearing Top Hats and doing their victory dance. Cute.

The twist is that you play this from traditional FPS perspective. You want to place a block? Run over to the location and spawn it there. There are two alternating stages in the gameplay, the first you place and upgrade blocks and turrets with points you earn in the second, when a wave will spawn and march through your maze whilst you run’n’gun in support of your turrets. As you might expect there are a variety of different monsters, some of which the turrets are rubbish at dealing with, so you make a real, tangible difference with your gun-toting activities.

The main thing with Sanctum is that I’ve rarely played a game that is so much more fun with other people. Single player is fun but gets fairly repetitive quite fast but with 3 other people building and shooting (and more monsters of course) it’s a blast. The same levels, just amped up. And of course the “puzzle” element of any Tower Defense Game, the questions of what to build where, and which zones to cover with people, rather than turrets, make for lively debate (at least with my freinds) and success and failure shared is always going to be sweeter.

As seems to be the case increasingly in the indie games section, Sanctum is burst of fun ideas fused together in an interesting way – it’s not faultless, it’s not as polished as it could be, the monster designs are pretty standard for a Tower Defense Game – but it is fun, especially with freinds, and it’s trying to move in new directions that the “A-List” companies seem unwilling to experiment with. And I’d take interesting every time.

Sanctum is available via Steam

GS Reviewer: Matt
GS Score: 3/5 (single player) 4/5 (multiplayer)

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: