Game: Bugvasion TD
Genre: Strategy, Tower Defense
System: PC (Steam)
Developer|Publisher: Full Screen Games
Age Rating: PEGI 7+
Price: UK £5.19
Release Date: 18th February 2021
Review code used, with many thanks to Full Screen Games!
Aliens Got Our Insects!
Aliens are at it again and this time they are controlling the bugs. A teenager was just minding his own business playing video games, when some army guy calls him to duty through the television to save his house from the incoming bug invasion. It’s a pretty silly premise but then, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. Between levels expect to listen to plenty of cringey dialogue between the teenager and the army fella, often making jokes about the odd circumstances surrounding the game. It’s short and doesn’t interfere with the gameplay.
Take Up Defenses
The entire game is controlled by mouse. Each of the levels are based around a room, like a bedroom or attic. A white line on the floor indicates the route the insects will take when they spawn. Sometimes they’ll arrive from multiple routes, so you need to keep your eyes peeled. Around the area are various designated spots where you can plant defenses. You have a limited amount of coins to start with, so you need to choose carefully.
Once a wave begins, the insects start crawling through. You need to prevent them getting to the end of the level. Every insect that does so will remove a health point. For each insect you defeat, you gain more coins which can be used to buy more defenses and upgrade existing ones. When you complete a level you get a star rating out of three, as well as some points to unlock new defenses.
Graphically the levels are hand-drawn and do the job. With levels being set around a house, they feel pretty plain. They just don’t really do anything particularly special, and sometimes it seems odd that you can place defenses on areas that don’t look like they can hold them; for example, fallen bottles.
The insects are appropriately creepy. Needless to say, if you’re not a fan of insects you may not like this game, though one could argue taking lots of them out may potentially help you overcome a phobia. While all the action is playing out, there is a pretty epic soundtrack playing while you stress over how to overcome the insect threat.
There’s a variety of defenses which feel cleverly homemade, such as electric shock towers which shoot ground and flying bugs, gas sprays to slow enemies down, and poison towers to damage any bugs in the area. Each has a description of what they are effective against so you can attempt to plan your strategy.
Early on, you can get away with using lots of electric shock towers but that soon changes. For me the trial-and-error approach worked best. Just play around with different defenses to see what works. But the same strategy won’t work for every level.
Bugs come in all shapes and sizes with flies, spiders, cockroaches etc. Certain defenses are much better than others on particular bugs. Just when you think you have a hold on things, occasionally big boss bugs with massive health bars will spawn. You get a little bit of breathing space between waves of enemies to take a minute and check defenses. I often found myself skipping these, though, and continuing the fight as soon as possible.
It’s not just about the defense towers. You can also use abilities which charge up through the level. These include a big old boot or fist to an area of bugs, which can really help out in a pinch. Additionally you can usually make use of the level environment to activate items like glue to temporarily slow enemies down.
This is a tower defense game where you need to constantly monitor everything, with little time to sit back and let the defenses do all the work. It amounts to an engaging and fun experience. But if you haven’t been a fan of tower defense games in the past, this game is unlikely to win you over.
Niggles and Bugs
The game runs fine on PC. I encountered no bugs (excuse the pun) or performance issues. The developers have hinted that they intend to bring the game to other platforms. With the design of the game I feel this would be right at home on mobile devices or the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. Touch controls feel ideal for this experience. But for now, the PC mouse controls are responsive.
The game offers multiple difficulty settings and 20 levels to conquer. Getting those three stars was not easy. The main challenge I tended to find later in the game was making sure initial defenses were correct. Once things were prepared and upgraded, it was much easier. Still, I did find myself replaying levels to try to aim for full three stars to unlock new upgrade points. With a simple control scheme, this is a game that is quite easy to dip in and out of without having to learn too much.
Bugvasion TD feels like a pretty standard tower defense game, which is unlikely to win over new fans to the genre. It’s a hard genre to really reinvent but the developers clearly put a lot of care and attention into this project. The game keeps you interested by making use of the environment and firing off skills at the right time to keep you engaged with the tower defense experience rather than sitting back and just watching.
If you don’t mind your insects then there is a solid gaming experience here. I sure won’t be able to look at bugs in my garage the same way again for a while.
Final Verdict: I Like It