Orcs Must Die! Review

Orcs Must Die! 
There are few certainties in life, but one of them is surely that Orcs must die. They’ve caused nothing but trouble over the years.
My first encounter with these bothersome green monsters was in Warcraft 3, where they would form huge, grotesque armies, invade my lovely bases and steal my lovely gold.

Then there was Dawn of War and Dawn of War II; a similar situation, involving gruesome armies of the snotty buggers and mass genocide.
More recently they’ve been on the warpath once more in Space Marine. The situation seems to be getting out of hand.

Until now that is. Orcs Must Die! is here to restore the balance.

The premise of OMD is that you are a young and (I think) slightly retarded apprentice War Mage, forced to defend your kingdom from the green plague, due to all the other War Mages being horribly slaughtered.Your mentor is a freaky old dude, with Gandalf style long, white beard and patronising attitude. He has little faith in your ability to overcome the odds and doesn’t mind saying so.
Though, I don’t see him helping out when the proverbial shit hits the fan.

So, you are alone and defending your 24 fortresses, each one grander than the last, from massive armies of insane and murderous Orcy Worcys. How on Earth will you ever do that? Surely that’s impossible – the odds are stacked against you, what with being alone, very stupid and all. With traps of course! Super duper, sexy Orc destroying traps. Oooooh yeah!

The concept of OMD is that of tower defence. Tower defence games go waaaay back to Warcraft 3 and a type of mod that remains hugely popular. Traditionally, TD games have a top down view of a map and the player adds defensive towers along a route that will hopefully destroy the relentless hordes of oncoming enemies before they reach your base and steal all your goodies. OMD breaks the mould by presenting us with a third person view of the action. I’ve always loved traditional TD games and welcome with affection this new twist on the genre with open arms and a wet kiss.

Instead of towers, OMD employs traps, and there are currently 19 deadly traps in total, each one with it’s own unique method of slicing, burning, flinging, crunching, piercing…I could go on, but you get idea; the traps are extremely efficient at terminating Orcs using a multitude of blood curdling methods.

Also at your disposal are 6 weapons and spells, each with it’s own strengths, to assist in the extermination process. This is helpful, as there are 11 unique variations of increasingly vicious Orcs attacking you.

To begin with, you are confronted by your common or garden Orcish lump of much muscle and very little brain, but it would appear Darwinism has poked it’s annoying little nose in and created progressively bigger, cleverer and deadlier Orcs that have the nonce to use flaming arrows as well as developing the ability to fly. Oh dear.
Don’t cry though, for you can pay for the services of arrow shooting Elves and tank like Paladins to help out. Take that Orcs.

The story based campaign is brilliantly constructed, with each fortress (or map) taking around 5-10 minutes to complete. Meaning that failing and repeating maps is no bother at all. Infact, doing the same map over and over again is highly enjoyable, as you learn the layouts, improve efficiency and beat your friend’s high scores on the impressively implemented leaderboards.

There are 3 levels of difficulty, each earning you skulls (a rather bulky currency in my opinion), which buy upgrades for your arsenal.

Pleasingly, OMD incorporates the Steamworks system, meaning there are easily accessible Steam achievements, stats and high scores to compete with – not only that but Robot have beautifully, and I mean beautifully linked the Steamworks stats with their own website in such a smooth and delightful fashion that I shed a tear of joy upon discovery.

This game is fun with a capital FUN. I just looked at my play time on Steam and am a bit shocked to see it’s at 18 hours! I’ve completed the apprentice level campaign and am around half way through the next level, ‘War Mage’.

The thing is I can’t get enough of this game, and I’m not alone in feeling this way. For all intents and purposes, OMD is totally unique. I’ve never played anything like it before and it’s a while since I’ve enjoyed a game quite so much. This game is a breath of fresh air in an all too stagnant and familiar pool of pc releases.

Orcs Must Die! was a ‘Best of E3’ nominee, which is excellent news for the developers, Robot Entertainment, as it’s their first release since forming the company. The whole game is incredibly well produced. The graphics are vivid and extremely pleasing to the eye – the Orcs look exactly as Orcs should. The sound is spot on and the game mechanics need no improvements. Playing is comfortable and intuitive.
I’ve not experienced any bugs at all, either.

OMD is ferociously addictive and replayability is guaranteed. The weapons are effective and satisfying – headshots with the crossbow being particularly rewarding, or if you prefer, melee attacks with a massive sword. The traps are highly varied and great fun to use, and not forgetting the spells, unlocks, upgrades and helpful comrades!

Community interaction from Robot is second to none – they are extremely active on Twitter, their own forums and Facebook.
There are DLC packs planned for the very near future, which will add to the offensive arsenal, I believe.
There is also a demo available.

I cannot find fault with this release. It is truly fantastic and has provided much, much fun for me this past week.

OMD is a single player game and inevitably I would love to see a multiplayer, online co-op aspect to it…but who knows what could happen in the future.

Score: 9/10

Orcs Must Die! is developed and published by Robot Entertainment.

Released October 11 2011

Official Website

Buy Orcs Must Die! on Steam 


PC Used:

AMD 4200+ X2 2233 MHz CPU

ATI HD4670 512mb GPU

Windows XP SP3

This entry was posted by Ian Brown.

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