AegisM - Intense But Addictive Tower Defence
By Chris F | 02 Aug 2018
AegisM have brought a new level to tower defence games. As a huge fan of the genre, playing some of the classics like South Park: Tower Defense Play and Plants VS Zombies, I find myself addicted to this game. I'm on the edge of my seat throughout, thriving to get the best score possible.
When loading up a game mode for the first time in AegisM, you a greeted with a tutorial, which goes through how to assign skill points, buy weapons, build towers, use magical powers, and upgrade your base. The tutorial is very brief but provides enough information to be able to go into the game and be comfortable with what you are doing. I think the fact the tutorial is forced is a positive, as user perception of the game without the tutorial may be poor if they don't understand how to navigate the UI. Aurox Studios, the developers, have done well indeed.
The primary game mode in AegisM is Survival Mode. In Survival Mode you a presented with a choice of 2 maps, Forest and Desert. Each has multiple variants suitable for various group sizes. You can team up with up to 3 additional people, so 4 players total, to tackle the wide variety of enemies you will encounter during a game. If you want to be absolutely prepared for whats to come, you can look through the Bestiary on the main menu which shows you some of the unique enemies and what their abilities are -- a pretty cool feature if you don't like surprises!
Once the game begins, you start off at your base. Here you can assign your skill points, Reload Speed, Magazine Size, Movement Speed, or Build Cost. This is a really cool feature and you do notice the difference as you level up each skill, however, I'd like to see you gain skill points as you progress and further be able to reduce build cost.
The first goal is to ensure lanes have some defensive towers -- this is a tower defence game after all. You only begin with a pistol with 50 bullets, which, will disappear really quickly if you don't have towers up! Each player has 10 coins, each of which can be used to spend on either towers, guns, ammunition, or base upgrades. Enemies will start to appear within roughly a minute of the game starting, so don't spend too much time contemplating your skill points! Fortunately, you do have a few magical powers. The default being a slow dome -- which simply slows everything down within the dome (use spacebar to activate) -- and also a large cool-down spell which allows you to decimate any enemy in basically one hit. Use this sparingly as the cooldown is extremely long!
One of the features that I love the most about AegisM is the huge variety of towers you can build. You can tell a lot of thought has been put into the development of the towers, with everything ranging from Arrow towers, which can be switched for ground and air units, to Kappa towers, that fire a green beam at individual enemies and increases its damage over time.
It will take a few games of experimentation to work out which towers are most efficient against which enemies. Personally, I find Tesla and Flamer towers have the most impact against smaller mobs, with Kappa and Rockets combined with an Ice tower to slow the best option for the larger boss enemies. Don't forget that Coin Generator towers really help your income, so try and build them in your lane whenever you have some spare coins.
As you progress through and feel confident in your ability to fight off waves of standard mobs, boss mobs and air units come into the mix. Most the time they will throw your whole strategy into disarray. Take note, don't forget about air defence!
This AegisM allows for countless hours of fun, with different challenges available by selecting different maps. Every game I played has a different outcome, which makes you excited to replay. I would like to see a "Replay" button which starts the game mode again, rather than having to resort back to the main menu and create a new online lobby.
Just to add to the array of features, if you don't like working with your friends, there is also a PvP option awaiting you.
The second game mode available in AegisM is Challenge Modes. These provide another addictive element to the game; I must have replayed Challenge Mode 1 at least 50 times. You are presented with various scenarios, where you have to complete objectives/survive in order to get the highest score on the leaderboards. In Challenge Mode 1, you are stuck in the middle of a room with just a pistol and unlimited ammo. You have to fight off waves of enemies that are coming to get you. It gets increasingly more difficult, and intense. Make sure your shooting is on par, as even 1 shot off target can change your fate to death.
AegisM is genuinely brilliant!
This is an incredible first game from a dedicated, talented studio. So much time and effort has been made to ensure this game is super competitive, with many different features and game modes which will keep you engaged for hours. It has so much replayability, as you constantly feel driven to increase your score on the leaderboards. The game is still in Early Access, so many more features are yet to come. I'd like to see more involvement with skill points throughout the survival game mode, with a larger variety of maps to choose from, maybe with different enemies for each specific map. I feel the base upgrades are generally under-utilised, so maybe combining the tower critical damage and critical strike chance into 1 tiered upgrade, and have the UI promote that an "Upgrade is Available" at different stages as you get further through Survival might make this feature more used. Graphically I feel the game is perfectly made, it looks good enough as to be detailed but also simple and runs well. The in-game music is very relevant to the game type as well. Maybe some audio warnings, or better audio balancing, when the large bosses spawn would be useful.
The best bit? Incredibly this AegisM is only $12.99/£9.99 on Steam. If you're looking for an engaging but challenging game to play with your friends, look no further than AegisM.
Addictive, with hours of replayability
Early Access means way more features on their way
Huge variety of towers and enemies
Very well priced on Steam
Skill points to be utilised more in Survival
Some more UI indications for Base Upgrades