A Really Clever Take on the Tower Defense Style

User Rating: 8 | Lock's Quest DS
I'm going to keep this relatively short, since I've already discussed the game elsewhere. But it's a game that certainly deserves attention, and I hope fans of this type of gameplay give it a look-see.

Lock's Quest is based upon the Tower Defense style of gameplay, but you also have direct control over Lock during skirmishes. There are two main phases during events: Building Mode and Battle Mode. During the Building Mode, you're given a short amount of time to construct and repair defenses, lay traps, and research new items. Once that phase is over, you move into the Battle Mode. What makes this part so enjoyable is the control you have over Lock. You can command him to repair towers or engage enemies in one-on-one combat. During both activities, Lock can either add special abilities to his attacks or more quickly repair tower pieces by successfully playing through a variety of micro games. They're cool, little tidbits thrown into the furious action, and it's what sets this game greatly apart from any other take on the Tower Defense formula.

In-game graphics aren't great, but they aren't terrible, either; they're just plain and uninspired. But the presentational cutscenes are beautiful, and the sound effects add a really visceral quality to the micro games. The music is nothing special, but the instrumentation is top notch. The story isn't console quality, but I'd say it's almost on par with Golden Sun, sans the epic length and depth.

There are a couple of drawbacks to the gameplay, however. The main culprit being the pathing for Lock during Battle Modes. Since this is mostly a Tower Defense-type game, there are lots of environmental objects on the field, and Lock gets hung up on them often. In the later levels, it really can become quite frustrating, though it rarely hinders gameplay to the point of failing a skirmish.

In the end, though, the game has so much originality and so many truly fun ideas thrown in that it's just really enjoyable to play. The whole production is very polished, and the package offers a lot of bang for your buck. It gets pretty dang hard later on, but it remains fun pretty much the entire way through.