It was absent from the usual release schedules, and was therefore not in our weekly list of upcoming games, but Sydney studio SMG has just released their take on the tower defence genre: Over The Top Tower Defence, for iOS and Android.
I've been playing OTTTD as my go-to mobile time waster whenever I'm out and about and have to wait 5-10 minutes, instead of my usual standing uncomfortably close to strangers and breathing heavily. It's quite the polished little thing, and while anyone who knows me knows I'm a sucker for anything tower defence, it's still a genre rife with experimentation and OTTTD is no exception.
With fixed positions for towers, and some micromanagement required to control the on-field heroes, project head Ashley Ringrose describes it as "moreso an RTS with Tower Defence mixed in, rather than the other way around."
Maps in OTTTD can get quite large, and you'll be rushing your heroes to different hotspots to put out fires, but their overall strategy and upgrade paths need to work with your tower placement. I placed several rocket towers towards the back of my base - useless on their own in that position - and when combined with my Recon unit's ability to mark targets and have rocket towers blast it from anywhere on the map, it was a good little combo.
Of course, it goes without saying that things get out of hand. Giant turtles or crabs wearing hard hats, undead flying mecha-sharks, and copious body parts as more and more mobs get blown apart are regular occurrences. The humour injected into the game is also most welcome (Fail screen: "Did you forget to read the mission brief? The goal is to win.")
It also happens to be one of the first full games to be released with the help of the recent round of Screen Australia funding, coming out not only as a good game that will likely pay back a considerable portion of the money, but creating work for Australians in the process. But we'll have more on that later this week, as we speak to more independent developers whose labour, supported by the funding, is just beginning to bear fruit.