Daily Independent: Ready Your Towers in Genre-Mixing RTS Revenge of the Titans

The Daily Independent is a recurring feature in which we shine a light into the darkened wilderness of indie gaming, illuminating both the good and the bad of what we find there.

We’re in the dying hours of the Humble Indie Bundle 3 offer — if you haven’t gotten it, go get it, how many times do I have to tell you — and in honor of the package of no fewer than 12 PC indie titles, we’re checking out Revenge of the Titans for today’s Daily Independent. It carries 8-bit stylings, tower defense sensibilities, and real-time strategy concepts. Oh, and there are aliens bent on destroying Earth.

If it sounds like a winning combination, it is. In each of Revenge of the Titan’s missions, you’re tasked with defending a stronghold against advancing enemies. Some die fast, some take more punishment, some are massive bosses — all of them are marching the most direct route toward your fortress, bent on its destruction. The tools you have to stop them are only what you’ve brought with you.

Where Revenge of the Titans excels is not in giving you towers for defense, but in making you choose what you want and need for each new battle. Between each fight, you’ll have resources to spend on a huge Periodic Table-like research tree, and how you allocate those resources can determine how well you do in each mission. Should you research concrete barriers to stop advancing enemies, or explosive weapons? It’s this progression and the huge amount of options that makes building your forces interesting.

Meanwhile, on the battlefield, speed is of the essence. You can’t just rely on the income of killing your enemies to give you what you need to win the day, you’ll need to mine for resources as well, which means making decisions between placing refineries to grow your income (and try to steal all the minerals from a given area to incur a money bonus at the end of the mission) and placing the towers you need to survive. It can go pretty fast — place your towers in the path of the enemy and they’ll be destroyed, or find yourself low on resources with an unprotected flank and you may need to quickly sell off your buildings. Revenge of the Titans manages to be simple in execution and complex in its planning, requiring players to be both strategically minded and quick on the left mouse button.

If there’s a place where Revenge of the Titans falters, at least in the opening campaign of missions, it’s that it gets a little repetitive. But it’s great in short bursts of tower defense goodness, with depth enough to keep players considering their overall battle strategy in each mission. And for the rock-bottom prices available with the Humble Indie Bundle 3 (buy it here for a little while longer, give a little more, it’s for charity), there’s definitely no going wrong with this strategy hybrid.

Check out the Revenge of the Titans trailer below.

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