As the Spongmonkeys so eloquently warbled, ‘We love the Moon’ and I am especially fond of the Savage Moon, a PSN title released back in December 2008. A variant of the tower defence genre, Savage Moon mashed up turrets and laser cannons with monsters reminiscent of sci-fi epic ‘Starship Troopers’ to create an engaging but ridiculously hard game.[drop]The aim is simple – defend the mining complex from Insectolyte attack using an array of upgradeable defensive weapons. These include laser turrets, cannons, mortars, mine droppers and anti-air turrets to help deal with the flying beasts.
Towers can only be placed on rocky outcrops, the exception being defensive wall blocks which can be used to deflect the Insectolyte flow. The wall blocks can be built upon for additional protection but stronger enemies can attack and destroy the structures.
A key feature of the game is that the Insectolytes evolve, starting as low armoured creatures and as the game progresses gaining extra speed, armour and weapons. As the majority of your defences are perched atop rocky outcrops they are out of the way of most attacks, that is until about half way through the campaign when you will encounter heavily armoured slug beasts who like nothing more than spitting homing projectiles at your armoury.
Savage Moon starts as ‘taxing’ but by the mid point of the game it’s harder than titanium encrusted Jason Statham. This is not a game you can win by luck, some serious thought has to go in to where to place your units and which to upgrade.
As you would expect, killing beasties gains you more cash to spend on towers and players can gain extra money buy using a sliding modifier. This can be set to give you more cash for your kills but the pay off is that the towers will be weaker, moving to a defensive stance will give your buildings more hit points but the cash flow will reduced.[drop2]When a level has been completed it is unlocked in ‘Vengeance Mode’ which launches a never ending stream of creatures against your precious mine. To give you an indication just how tough the game is, to achieve the Vengeance trophy you must fight for over thirty minutes.
Graphically it’s pleasant enough, in as much as a desolate moon full of monsters can be, and has some wonderful sound effects. As the Insectolytes get splattered across the moonscape they emit a chorus of grunts, screeches and squeals – imagine poking a pig with a taser and you’ll get the general idea.
The game has online leaderboards but does not have any multiplayer component, somewhat of a shame as Savage Moon is perfect for online co-op.
If the game sounds like you’d want even more a DLC pack was released nine months after launch, entitled ‘Waldgeist’, and a PSP version of the game, ‘The Hera Campaign’, has also been released.
Savage Moon is a hard, sometimes depressing game but if you are looking to test your brain as well your trigger finger, this could be the PSN title for you.