Xmas Defender is an attempt at a Christmas themed tower defense game.  The world discovers the location of Santa and all of the bad children decide that they must attack him so that they can finally get an equal amount of toys as the good boys and girls.

Tower defense gameplay is usually straight forward and simple.  You should have a field of battle, a spawn point, an objective to defend and a ticker of some sort that lets you know how many enemies have gotten past or a life bar of some sort on your objective.  On the field there may or may not be obstacles but they are usually easy enough to work around.  In Xmas Defender that is not the case, sure you have the spawn point, field and objective but after that it just goes downhill.

The field that the units march across is littered with misshapen stones and rocks; this would be OK except for the technical issues that seemed to accompany them. The user is unable to build towers near the rocks and thus it makes it difficult to create a path for the units to go down. This is extra rough because the timer that the waves of attackers come in on does not seem to work.  The time between waves does not seem consistent with the timer.

Once the attackers begin to get past you and into your objective the screen will begin to dim making it harder to play.  This is the ‘life bar’ mechanic that Xmas Defender uses. It is a huge detractor as you can’t really tell how much you have left or how much each unit takes away. The dimness also makes it really hard to play the game.

For an Indy game the presentation is not too bad.  The audio was decent and the graphics were okay. The only thing that seemed lacking was that the units were animated rather poorly, the cars didn’t turn smoothly and it all seemed to just slide around.  Instead of turn they kind of just change angles rapidly and jerk around when they get somewhere and are unsure of where to go.

While a solid attempt at a tower defense game Xmas Defender falls short due to largely design flaws.  The only technical issue was the timing of the waves and everything else can go under poor design.  Hopefully the developers won’t give up and will take this as a learning experience for their next game. That said this title was so hard to stomach it was hard to get through the first few levels.

Xmas Defender costs 240 :MSPoints: and you can find more information as well as the trial and full version of the game on the Marketplace.

Review by Jolly Buccaneer.