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5 Defensive Games like Orcs Must Die: Resist & Rebuild

James-Brindley-authorTower defence games are relatively cheap to build, so you’ll find them everywhere. However, if you’re looking for games like ‘Orcs Must Die’, you may have to look slightly harder. Personally, I recommend ‘Dungeon Defenders 2’, ‘Sanctum 2’, and ‘Team Fortress 2: Mann vs. Machine’. ~ James Brindley

If You Want Something Done Right…

Despite the fact that tower defence games are a dime a dozen, occasionally a company gets a spark of inspiration, drawing from other genres in an effort to make a beautiful composite. These games tend to incorporate FPS and occasionally RPG elements, making the action much tenser since you’re right in the thick of it.

This is what makes a game like ‘Orcs Must Die’ so enjoyable. Similar games are incredibly rare, so no title on this list will be the same, but each you’ll discover to be brilliant in its own way.


Games Similar to ‘Orcs Must Die’…

‘Dungeon Defenders 2’ (Trendy Entertainment, 2014)

We’ll start off with the closest thing you’re going to get to ‘Orcs Must Die’ (other than the sequel obviously.) ‘Dungeon Defenders 2’ sticks with a familiar cartoony, fantasy feel, pitting you against orcs, goblins and monsters of that ilk.

You’ll have limited time to prepare by filling the arena with traps before the onslaught begins. Once that happens, it’s time to start running and jumping- unless you want to take a spear to the face.

Similarity Match: 90%
‘Dungeon Defenders 2’ is massively similar to ‘Orcs Must Die’, with a host of fantasy archetypes to fight and choose from. The only real difference is the size of the traps and towers you’ll be placing down.

‘Sanctum 2’ (Coffee Stain Studios, 2013)

This is where we’ll begin to take a couple steps away from the fantasy-esque tower defence archetype. Like I said, these games are unique. ‘Sanctum 2’ continues with the theme of first person shooter meets tower defence albeit with a heavily sci-fi feel to it.

In this game you’ll actually have a hand in the creation of the arena as well. By placing walls and barriers, you’ll be choosing the direction the monsters will funnel, giving you responsibilities beyond simple tower defence mixed with running-and-gunning.

Similarity Match: 80%
‘Sanctum 2’ is science fiction with guns and robotic towers rather than fantasy, but you’ll still be in the thick of it against a variety of monstrous foes.

‘Team Fortress 2: Mann vs. Machine’ (Valve Corporation, 2012)

Sometimes companies decide to add massive facets to their game post-launch, like in ‘Team Fortress 2’, Valve’s incredibly popular FPS title. Not satisfied with the game as it was, they decided to patch in an addictive co-op wave-based defence game type.

Though you won’t have any towers to maintain (unless we’re referring to the Engineer’s turret), you’ll have to work as a close-knit team. Without the right combination of different classes, you’ll surely be overwhelmed by the horde of robots moving against you.

Similarity Match: 70%
This game puts a greater focus on the FPS aspect than ‘Orcs Must Die’, and the experience is more thinking on-the-fly, but you’ll still have to defend against waves of difficult enemies using all your strength and cunning.

‘Defense Grid 2’ (Hidden Path Entertainment, 2014)

Here’s where we’re forced to take a step away from FPS entirely. There simply aren’t a lot of combination games out there. However, that doesn’t mean that there are no brilliantly realised tower defence games. For example, ‘Defense Grid 2’ still gives you a number of special abilities beyond just towers.

Whether you’re calling in orbital strikes to decimate your foes, or applying a healing wave to repair your towers, you’ll never feel like you just have to sit back and wait once preparation is over.

Similarity Match: 70%
Despite the lack of FPS elements, and the resulting detachment from the action, this game will still challenge you in real time, as you react to developing situations in novel ways.


If You Like ‘Orcs Must Die’, You Will Like…

Everyone knows the tower defence formula. Set up, place defences, wait for the horde to approach. What if you were the attackers though? This game takes the standard genre and flips it on its head.

‘Anomaly 2’ (11 Bit Studios, 2013)

In ‘Anomaly 2’, you’ll be the poor saps having to constantly move through entrenched positions. In order to make this interesting, you’ll be able to morph your units to deal with different threats, in addition to laying down supporting abilities from a command perspective.

Fair warning to potential players though- the maps and enemies don’t always play fair. Towers occasionally have a habit of changing and popping up in places they shouldn’t.

Shouldn’t be a problem though, right?

You won’t be playing from a first person perspective, but you will be in the thick of it, as you go against the towers you’d place in other games.


Get the Hell off My Lawn

No two tower defence games are the same, but that’s what makes each experience so brilliant with these sort of games. You never know what you’ll find, and you’ll frequently be pleasantly surprised, right before the horrors pass your hopeless defence and overwhelms you.

Can you think of another game like ‘Orcs Must Die’ that I’ve missed?

Be sure to tell me in the comments below!

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