Review by solaris32
"A unique tower defense and FPS hybrid worthy of your time."
Sanctum is a tower defense game at its heart. You build towers and create mazes to stop the waves of enemies. All of this is in done in first person and when the wave starts you can use your 3 guns to personally attack the enemies. As the developers have said this is the first game ever to have this combination and it sure is fun!
The graphics are pretty good all around. It can be taxing on older computers so it should be noted that the developers have thoughtfully allowed you to edit the engine files to reduce the graphics even further. To me this is a huge plus because if I couldn't do that I couldn't play this game. My only complaint is that the lower your resolution the fuzzier the text gets. I can barely read it at 800x600. The higher your resolution the harder the game is on your computer. That said this game lets you go down all the way to 320x200! So if your computer is real bad you can turn the resolution down that far and play with ease when you start the wave, then turn it up in between waves to build.
There are some nice sound effects when you build and do things like that. The gun sounds are kind of lackluster but this isn't heavily focused on that. Nothing bad about the monster sounds either. The music is actually really good and doesn't get repetitive or annoying.
No score because there isn't a story and tower defense games don't necessarily need one. I think they have released some lore and stuff in preparation for the sequel but I haven't read any of it. All I know is that you're a girl and you have something on your left arm that allows you to build towers. Your goal is to stop the invading monsters from getting to the giant blue core. What that core is I don't know.
TOWER DEFENSE ASPECT: 10/10
As I said this game is tower defense at its heart and it does not disappoint. There are several tower types, all useful to varying degrees depending on your play style. Something this game does that sadly few TDs do is allowing you to build a maze that the enemies are forced to run through. This allows for even more strategy than just simply building at certain spots outside of the enemies' route. On most maps you can create their route! You also have a set amount of towers equipped that you can then use to build on the level. This means even more strategy.
FIRST PERSON SHOOTER ASPECT: 9/10
This game is a shooter at a distant second. When you manually start the next wave of enemies you can then shoot them with your own weapons which you choose before the level starts. This part of the game is pretty basic as expected. The weapons are simple but each one does have an alternate fire which adds more variety. You can also upgrade them with your money to make them stronger. Despite shooting not being the main focus it's still essential for beating the levels.
What gives this a 9/10 instead of something lower is the fact that all enemies have a weak spot that can be exploited by you for a great increase in damage. Further, some enemies can only be killed by hitting them in their weak spot, something that isn't easy for your towers. There is an enemy that can only be hurt from its back. A tall enemy with a bobbing head that only takes damage from attacks to its head. Still another that has armor that greatly reduces damage to it and the only way to temporarily remove the armor is for a single concentrated shot (sniper) to hit it in the head. All this means a lot more strategy and player input is required than just simply shooting the enemy. Unfortunately if you have horrendous aiming skills you may have trouble, but there is an easy difficulty for you to enjoy.
There are more enemy types than the ones listed above, and they're all distinct. There are also flying enemies which pay no heed to your carefully made mazes. The designs are unique and interesting and follow a similar theme.
LENGTH AND REPLAYABILITY
There are several maps to enjoy including a few free ones and others you must pay for (worth it). Each map has 4 difficulties as well as various survival modes to play. On normal a map will take an hour or so to beat. There is also multiplayer but I never messed with that.
FINAL SCORE: 9/10
This is a must play for any fan of tower defense, if only to check out something new and unique in the genre. Even if you aren't into TDs check this game out (so long as you at least like FPSs) and who knows it just might get you into the genre. I got this game on a sale and it's worth it even at full price. There is a demo so if you aren't sure give it a spin.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/18/12
Game Release: Sanctum (US, 04/15/11)
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