When I am asked to play a game for review, I'm usually aware of its existence in some capacity before acquiring it. Even if it hasn't had much media coverage before hitting the market, at the very least I will be aware of its name. This was not the case for the latest title I received. Upon seeing the name McDroid
, I had absolutely no idea what to expect, so don't be surprised if you're in the same boat as me. Previously released on PC with positive reception, the game has now come to consoles. Despite my personal unfamiliarity with it, is McDroid
worth a look?
McDroid You'll find no fast food here
is a tower defense style game that has you playing as a small four-legged droid called McDroid. McDroid has come back to his home planet from an unknown location with his giant shuttle friend. While the droid says nothing more than random robotic utterances, the shuttle does all the talking for you in an attempt to create comedic moments. Calling McDroid "baby pooh" is one of the many odd things you'll be hearing, but thankfully it doesn't become extremely irritating to hear, just rather peculiar.
The story itself is just as strange, if not more so. Upon landing back on their home planet, McDroid and the shuttle realise that something is wrong. The planet does not respond and unusual creatures like giant snails, worms, spiders and other oddities begin to attack. Before you ask, yes, the planet apparently talks and the game throws you right in without any explanation as to what is happening. There is definitely confusion as you begin the game for the first time as things aren't particularly clear and everything just happens immediately. After finally getting to grips with the basics of that gameplay, McDroid and the shuttle will be travelling across the planet through various levels to eradicate the evil wildlife that has taken over so that the planet can begin to heal and get back to her radiant self. The story is most definitely an odd one, but that's partly because it takes time to actually make any sense.
Dialogue can be amusing, but also very weird
The game will swiftly try and teach you the jist, but just as quickly you will be thrown straight into the core gameplay of McDroid
. As previously mentioned, this is a tower defense game but with a twist. A number of turret stations will be placed in each level and it's up to you to use McDroid to build up a strong enough defence so that our shuttle friend won't be destroyed by the enemies that appear. The game plays out in waves, each getting progressively harder as the level goes on. McDroid will have a number of abilities and accessories from which to choose and with them you will need to kill enemies, keep turrets and weapons from being destroyed and, most importantly, make sure that both you and the shuttle are out of harm's way.
To be able to actually gain access to those means of defence, though, you will have to buy them first. In every level, McDroid will be able to pick up green blobs that are scattered around and plant them in dirt patches in the arena. These shortly grow into strawberries, which are then gathered up and taken back to the shuttle to be used as currency for in-game items. Your guess is as good as mine as to why it's strawberries but the shuttle seems to love them, as well as McDroid and the planet, so nonsensical plot devices seem to be the norm here. You will need to continue gathering these strawberries as they grow so that any destroyed weapons can be replaced or new ones put into effect.
As you go through the story, you will gain access to new items for use and these range from your basic turret, rocket launchers, helper droids and even special "bliss engines", which are trees that increase damage and overall effectiveness of anything to which they are in close proximity, as well as making the ground safe from corruption so that McDroid himself isn't damaged. These trees end up becoming invaluable on harder levels as enemies can quickly overwhelm you if you're not prepared.
Be sure to have plenty of turrets ready for battle
The research centre will soon become available as well and you will be able to use special diamonds dropped within levels to research new items and unlock them for purchase as you play. McDroid will quickly become immeasurably useful to the fight, placing giant turrets and little droid dogs that shoot rockets all over the place, and you will regularly be racing through enemies to grab strawberries for the shuttle while also repairing any damaged weapons. This is on top of buying new weapons and defences so that you and the shuttle can be in tip-top shape. It can be extremely chaotic when 30-40 enemies swarm onto the field and it can be tough to follow everything that is happening, considering all of the objectives that you need to be performing. However, at the same time it is unusually entertaining to watch ten massive snails exploding into a pile of diamonds while McDroid continues to spew out large missiles from the weapon on his head, as well as letting the turrets fire lasers at anything that moves. It's a simple, yet complex enough concept, but it's only when you have a vast array of weapon choices that the game comes into its own and is fun to play.McDroid
can be difficult to master and just playing the normal levels can present a challenge as you move onto the later ones, but if that's not enough for you then you can go one or even two steps higher. Challenge levels, harder versions of the main levels, will unlock after completion of the respective main level. These are no joke and ask you to use all of the knowledge and resources at your disposal to eliminate the threat. If you come out victorious then you will be able to take on the biggest challenge and play a nightmare version of level. It doesn't take a genius to know that this is rather insane and isn't for the casual player. Don't feel like you have to try these out, though, as they never feel obligatory. There are also arenas to try out that are essentially an endless mode, and you'll be doing your best to survive as long as possible before the inevitable happens. These are completely optional too and you'll no doubt be drawn more towards the main levels until completion of the story.
The game is presented in a cel shaded fashion and this works in its favour, adding vibrant colours and effects to the gameplay, but underneath the charming aesthetics and simple enough gameplay, a couple of issues arose. There was a point where the game didn't clearly indicate how to exit a particular segment and so it led me to believe it glitched when it was something much simpler -- I exited out of a level the wrong way. There were also multiple occasions where the game didn't recognise the collected strawberries and so items couldn't be purchased, causing victory to be impossible. The only workaround for this was rebooting the game completely on the Xbox, so it's definitely something of which to be aware as it wasn't a one-time occurrence. McDroid
is host to a total of 18 achievements and it looks to be a challenging task to get them all. There are a number of story related achievements for simply playing through the game. While some descriptions are a bit obscure, others appear to be a lot tougher. ALL NIGHTMARE
is probably just as it sounds, and this will take a lot of skill to accomplish. Other achievements will also require some dedication, like making it through 50 waves
in one of the arenas, so don't expect a quick and easy completion when starting this one up.
gives little clue as to what is going on when you first load it up. The first hour fails to impressand players may wonder if it is worth continuing onwards. After overcoming that hurdle, there was enjoyment to be found in the game. The mixture of resources and weapons can create exciting scenarios as rockets and lasers fly across the screen, but there is still a large element of strategy in what you're doing. The game leans more towards those who are a fan of the genre and others won't feel the need to play past the story, but it still does a serviceable job at trying to cater to a wider audience. The cel shading gives the game a more unique feel alongside the very strange but amusing story and dialogue, but glitches have been found of which people will need to be careful. For its price, McDroid
has a decent amount of content and won't set you back much, but if you decide to pass on it, you won't have missed too much.
- Cel shading adds charm to the game
- Enjoyable gameplay when given access to many different weapons and resources
- Nonsensical story
- Frequent glitches arising
- Casual players of the tower defense genre will find it forgettable
The reviewer spent 5-6 hours gathering strawberries, diamonds and blowing up a lot of angry creatures while earning 5 of the game's 18 achievements along the way. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.