McDroid - A Tower Defence game?

McDroid, the first release from Franco-Californian studio Elefantopia it is a mad fusion of arcade and strategy, with a heart. Originally released on Steam back in the September of 2014, it has become yet another title that is independently developed trying to break in to the current generation of consoles. From my experiences, tower defence games have not been overly flattering on console. They generally feel like they should have a home solely on PC or even on a mobile platform. For all the reasons these games feel clunky or underdone on the PS4 (in my case) has been contradicted by McDroid.

Before going in to greater detail as to why it belongs on the console, I will give a little back story. We are introduced to McDroid and her Shuttle on their journey back to their home planet known only as M. When a piece of space junk collides with Shuttle, the pair are forced to make an emergency landing for repairs. It is here that the protagonists realise their home world has been overrun by a parasite like species and the realisation kicks in. It is now up to McDroid to restore the planet back to a harmonious place.

Upon crash landing we are introduced to the gameplay mechanics via a clunky yet friendly tutorial. But it is here where the true relationship between McDroid and Shuttle develops and through verbal interactions and then their common goal is conceived to help save the planet. The mechanics of this game is what really sets itself apart from your cliché type tower defence titles. You have full 360 degree movement control, with resource gathering and combat being completely player controlled.

Each level typically starts off with you being required to plant strawberry seeds. Strawberries being one of the two main currencies in the game. Cultivating and collecting said strawberries allows you to craft offense weapons, armour upgrades and buffs. Once enough strawberries are collected you can purchase your chosen weapon/placeable. McDroid's back is where the items first arrive and then can be placed at specific drop points outlined on the map by little mechanical base like structures. When the items are on your back they are still fully functional and even can be aimed. This means that when an enemy spawns that will keep spawning enemies until destroyed, you have to take matters in to your own hands and mount a laser and go deal with it manually.

The second currency that needs mentioning as it is overall the most important, is the diamonds. These are generally claimed from enemy spawn locations, blueprint chests and after volcanic eruptions. Diamonds can be spent on the fly to purchase slightly more desirable offensive options such as mines and pet robots with heat seeking missile technology. Unlike the unspent strawberries collected, whatever diamonds remain in your stash at the conclusion of any level stay in your possession for later use.

Due to the fact that the tutorial was a little clunky, the controls were a little difficult to grasp quickly, but soon enough everything seem to click. Considering control schemes are something that tower defence titles usually struggle with when transferring over to a controller, McDroid has been able to counter that with the mechanic of a single character being responsible for all actions and placements instead of a cursor style grid placement mechanic. Whilst on the notion of clunkiness, one of the hubs was a research facility. When visiting the research facility you can spend diamonds to obtain new weapons and armour. Also all weapons and armour have upgrades which means coming back here often is a requirement. What made it feel so clunky was that each item description was very cryptic and you never really knew what you were getting. Obviously it will either be new or better than what you originally have but there's no real indication of damage or damage type. One thing that did make me chuckle though, is every weapon and armour description was delivered in what I can only describe as an old 'Shit Talker' computer program, where what was written was read out by a computer generated voice.

McDroid was delivered in a very colourful cell shaded graphic style which seems to be slowly becoming a more used resource today, especially in the Indie scene for reasons I can only assume. These reasons may be for lowering the overall size of the game coupled with the ability to present a beautiful title. This by no means is a knock, as it really delivers visually. Audibly likewise is delivered with a certain level of quality. The saving grace of having to listen to laser fire and bomb explosions is the interactions between the characters. This being said only the Shuttle and an evil entity speak English. McDroid's communication consists of a mixture of primitive noise with a mechanical touch. This being said conversation does flow and the Shuttle's apparent ability to understand McDroid aids in the ability to hypothesis what is actually being said.

For those who know me and my gaming habits would all agree that given a five word description of this game and it's genre, I wold normally pass it up but I genuinely feel the need to set the record straight. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the overall presentation and delivery of this game and can firmly give it my backing and recommendation. I would love to hear your feedback on this title, especially if you have fond memories of previously released tower defence titles either below in the comment section or across at our Facebook page.

Cheers Red

To Top