Orcs Must Die review

Orcs are stubborn creatures. They're green, ugly, and often want to bludgeon people with giant clubs. They're about as popular as ogres and trolls, only with twice the odor. Their mere presence lowers the property value of the neighborhood castles. On top of everything, they’re constantly dropping by to crash. There's only one way to deal with menacing orcs and that's by exterminating the lot of them.

Orcs Must Die gives players the chance to slay orcs by the dozen.


This tower defense game from Robot Entertainment puts players in the role of a magician's apprentice in a medieval kingdom, tasked with keeping the castle safe from rampaging beasts. The apprentice is armed with a crossbow and a sword for melee combat and must stop the orcs from reaching the dimensional rift in the middle of the castle. Of course, standard medieval weaponry will only carry an apprentice so far. The apprentice is also capable of deploying different traps, which is where the bulk of the game's fun comes in.

The apprentice can use over a dozen different traps and they all range from the practical to the elaborately ridiculous. Among the many different traps that can be used are spiky floors, giant swinging chains, catapults, and arrow barrages that shoot out of the walls when triggered. It plays like an intense, gritty tower defense experience, as the waves of orcs keep coming relentlessly and will often rush head-on into a gruesome demise.

Orcs Must Die uses a cartoonish art style, which gives the game an enjoyable, lighthearted touch. This visual style helps set this game apart from other titles in the tower defense genre, by adding in elements of slapstick humor. It would have been easy for Robot Entertainment to go for a realistic atmosphere, but by giving it this cartoon art style, Orcs Must Die plays out somewhat like the classic 80's movie Home Alone. As intense as the game feels with large waves of enemies spawning in at once, it never loses its sense of humor.

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Sessions of Orcs Must Die last longer than I would have ever expected. As I trampled through waves of orcs, I quickly found myself moving on to new enemy types. The orcs eventually recruit ogres, hobgoblins, and other mystical creatures to their cause and they must all be dealt with differently. Some will prove themselves immune to certain traps, which adds to the game’s strategic element. While there are only 27 stages in the game, time flew by as I played it. With leaderboard support, I had plenty of reason to go back for more orc abuse.

If Orcs Must Die has a weakness, it's the lack of co-op support. This kind of game is begging for a friend to slay mystical creatures with and, unfortunately, that feature is nowhere to be found. Other than that, this is an unspeakably fun game and upcoming DLC packs look to add to the amusement. Orcs Must Die is now available for PC or on Xbox Live Arcade.