Aug 1, 2012

[Games] Lair Defense: Dungeon (Android)

So I've been trying out various games for Android ever since I purchases my ASUS Transformer TF101, and it has certainly been a rather interesting experience. And I'll admit that I have a certain penchant for tower defense games ever since Tobie first introduced them to me some time back.

But the nature of the Android Market Google Play Store means that there are a lot of, well, less than ideal games. And while this game rates a respectable 4.6 stars based on user feedback, for some reason the game just didn't quite appeal to me. I guess this will be one of those dissenting opinions.

The basic premise behind Lair Defense: Dungeon is simple enough. For one reason or another humanity wants to steal dragon eggs and so the dragons are trying to defend their nests. You're fighting on the side of the dragons as you work to keep those filthy humans away from your precious eggs.

Now that does sound like a decently interesting fantasy premise until you jump into your first stage and see just how the dragons will defend their eggs. This is where it starts to get weird.

So you have three different types of dragons that you can, well, place to defend your nest - fire, ice and poison. And once you place said dragons, they act like any other tower defense style turrets. What is a little ridiculous is the fact that the dragons thus pivot around the spot where you install them as if they were sitting on old LP turntables. It's not the most dignifying way of representing dragons.

The learning curve of the game is rather steep since they don't even tell you clearly what the dragon types are at first. You just fight off your first horde and learn as you go, which felt weird given how almost every other tower defense game that I've played has made sure to have some sort of a basic tutorial. But I guess they thought they didn't need to since those three dragons are your only means of defending yourself. You won't earn any more dragons over the course of the game.

The game also features a skill system that relies on the primary currency - food for your dragons. I felt this was a rather vague means of measuring your resources, but what else can you give your dragons as payment, eh? Upgrading skills has a cumulative effect in each type of skills which correspond to the three different dragon types. Unfortunately, there is no way to upgrade them so they don't look like idiots being able to almost instantaneously turn to chase after the next available target.

Speaking of targeting, I don't quite get how the dragons select their opponents. You'd think they'd always target the enemy closest to the nest but it doesn't seem to do that consistently. And it's hard to feel the true power of these dragons as they twirl and spew fireballs and whatnot without the appropriate sounds. But maybe that's just my impression.

On the whole, Lair Defense: Dungeon may be a decent game if you get over the learning curve issues of the first few levels, you ignore the silly dragon spinning and you have the patience to repeatedly play levels in order to make up for the very slow coin-earning rate. As fir me, I found the game to be annoying a bit quickly and thus abandoned it entirely as 1.5 weird human attackers out of a possible 5.
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