Tower defense has always been one of the more polarizing genres. Whether you love it or hate it, you kind of know which camp you’re in as soon as you try it out for the first time. Sanctum 2 tries to get a few more people into the fold by introducing FPS mechanics into the genre with mixed results.
Some tower defense games can be tedious affairs with little to do once the waves start coming. You lay out your towers and then watch them do their job. In Sanctum 2, both phases are equally engaging. To start off, you’ll place your towers just like any other game of this type. It’s when the enemies start to flood onto the battlefield though, things become very different.
You’re free to step into the fray and usually do as much of the job as your towers. By using a fairly varied inventory of weapons and perks, you’ll be able to now down the incoming hordes in what manages to be a relatively satisfying shooter.
Like I mentioned earlier, you’ll have free reign to create loadouts that suit your playstyle. Also factoring in is the character you pick. Each of the four characters has his/her own primary weapon and their own abilities, like a double jump, for example.
Obviously, this works best when all four characters are being utilized in co-op, which is sort of Sanctum 2‘s downfall. Over the course of the game, I always left my matches open for others to join, but the most that ever joined was one other person. Matchmaking proved no different. I would often try jumping into someone’s game, but a third or fourth player would never show up.
As far as I could find, there is no server browser, either. I can imagine this game would be incredibly fun with four people, but I never actually got to experience that.
I also was never able to get the flow of the game in multiplayer. In solo play, between each wave one box of currency and one box of individual walls are dropped. The currency is used to buy turrets while the walls are used to force enemies into longer routes and, of course, to place turrets on. In multiplayer though, it seemed that sometimes two of each would drop, but the vast majority of the time, only one of each would drop. Even in a multiplayer setting.This would cause a frantic race back to the center of the map, trying to get control of the resources and place more defenses.
This is kind of a dilemma, because Sanctum 2‘s largest accomplishment is building a tower defense game with two equally entertaining phases. However, in co-op, which seems like the way the game was meant to played, only one person usually gets resources, leaving the other to just, kind of, stand there.
That’s not to say the game isn’t fun — it usually is, especially in co-op, even if the balancing of resources can be a bit frustrating.
Single-player is a bit more hit-and-miss. Many levels have multiple lanes and it can be a bit too much to keep up with alone. Certain enemy types require quite a bit of firepower from different angles, as well, which always leaves the player spending the entire wave trying to take them down and hoping the turrets take down the smaller guys.
Sanctum 2 is a game best played with three other friends, communicating during the game. I never got that experience however. The matchmaking in this game just doesn’t do it justice. If you can manage that end on your own with your own friends, I would highly recommend Sanctum 2. For everyone else, it’s a unique game that’s far more streamlined and enjoyable than its predecessor, but feels empty when playing alone.
[+Interesting Take On Tower Defense] [+Streamlined Over Original Game] [+Satisfying Shooter Mechanics] [-Best With Three Others] [-No Server Browser] [-Players Must Compete For Resources]