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Cursed Treasure 2 – A supreme exercise in tower defense with moral role reversal

The Eternal Struggle

The dichotomy between good and evil is a balance that is almost always at stake in a majority of games, not the least when looking at the tower defense genre. By its very format, the tower defense genre is a juxtaposition of the good and the evil, the ‘us’ and ‘them’; the player against the rest of the world that is rapidly approaching in a menacing manner. Standard procedure almost exclusively has you assuming control of a set of towers that are a force of good, destined to disrupt, delay, and ultimately eliminate the threat posed by the pesky opposition. The evil ‘others’ in the equation are usually stereotypical in their evil-nness, a caricature of all things menacing and bad, such as the orcs, goblins, mask-wearing monsters, and bumbling trolls of Kingdom Rush: nothing can be more of the norm than noble warriors and sorcerers facing off against the visually and morally ugly enemy. In an Opposing Force-style reversal of roles, Cursed Treasure 2 takes the tower defense concept and flips good for evil: now the player must play as a Dark Lord that has to protect his treasure from the interfering hands of the good: fun ensues, and a ripping good tower-defense time is had by all.

As you will be expecting in a tower defense game, the aim is to protect your precious, cursed gems from the waves of good-guy Gregs that encroach upon them with varying speed and levels of strength/ability. The various nice guys will make their way across the uniquely-shaped levels towards your skull-shaped gem storage area, and will then proceed to make a beeline for the nearest exit. You emerge victorious if you are able to keep at least one gem from being swiped and carried off-screen.

Concept

Continuing with standard tower defense protocol, you have a selection of base tower types that can be built to take down these menacing people trying to take back what is rightfully theirs. In this case, there are three tower types: Undead, Orc, and Demon Towers, which must all be built on hot-spots across the terrain that correspond to the different colours of each tower type. You can also upgrade each of the towers once you gain enough experience points; the towers and upgrades all cost money, which can be attained from killing enemies. Mana is also a limitation in the game: this can also be picked up from deceased enemies, and also obtained along with money from various structures in each of the levels that must be cleared. Tokens are awarded to you after each stage to spend on upgrading each of your towers’ skills, making them yield more gold/mana and a whole host of other advantages that are incredibly fun to discover.

Far From Standard

Cursed Treasure 2 distinguishes itself from the standard tower defense game by being remarkably heavy on the tactics and also extremely taxing on your strategic mind. This is mainly due to the higher-than-average number of variables to consider during the game. The altitude of your towers is a prime example of this, as are the enemy buildings such as towns that produce heroes in addition to the waves of people already trying to steal your treasure. This is certainly a game where the enemy bites back, with foes ranging from standard miners to heavily-armoured guards and magic-wielding fellows. Choosing your towers and upgrades also forms a huge wedge of the strategy in the game, with demon towers firing constant steams of fire against the enemy, orcs firing arrows, and undead towers using mana to fire blasts at the enemy; each tower has different levels of effectiveness against different enemies, requiring that you choose the correct towers for the job.

El Brillianté

Far from being an accurate translation of ‘brilliant’, I have used this section title to denote the worthiness of Cursed Treasure 2 to sit very near the top of the tower defense genre. Not only does it have an addictive tower upgrade process, but the levels themselves are designed extremely well, often requiring you to utilise every single bit of space down to the last millimetre of landscape in order to ensure victory, so there are no easy whitewash victories are to be found here. The aesthetic side of the game isn’t quite top-notch, but it takes a few leaves from Kingdom Rush’s textbook and looks remarkably cartoon-like, and for this it must be praised. An altogether unique tower defense game with things to offer that other games simply cannot.

85/100

 

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