Sanctum 2 is the sequel to 2011′s highly original and unique blend of strategic tower defense and action-packed first-person shooting. The budget was obviously higher this time around and we got a more polished game with more content. Whereas the original provided a solid foundation, the sequel manages to build upon every single aspect.
Before each wave begins, you do everything you normally do in a tower defense game. You learn the map layout and then proceed to set up walls and towers to prevent the aliens reaching the core. There are 15 tower types ranging from gatling guns and lasers to rockets and amps that boost power. The aliens also come in a wide variety including some pretty large and tough bosses.
However, the strategic part ends as soon as each wave begins. That’s when you’re expected to go head to head with the aliens and help out. You can choose from four characters each specializing in a different weapon such as the assault rifle or sniper. Each character also has an optional secondary weapon such as the laser or a rocket launcher. You also choose three perks to help you out. All of this allows for a pretty customized approach and trying out different tactics. For the most part, you can stick with your preferred character/weapons/perks, but certain maps will force you to change this up a bit.
The controls and the shooting feel much tighter this time around which is particularly good news seeing that, unlike the original, the emphasis in Sanctum 2 seems to be the shooting in a lot of cases. Sometimes to a fault as there are some instances where you need to take out a huge and tough boss all alone before it actually reaches your defenses and pretty much destroys them. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to a feeling that your tactics play second fiddle to the shooting.
The production values are much higher this time around. The graphics are a lot more detailed, the art-style seems more distinctive as opposed to the very generic original. The soundtrack, while unassuming, fits the theme very well. There is also a story here told in a comic book fashion, but it is largely irrelevant.
The campaign itself is pretty lengthy, there are 16 levels which will take you at least 15 hours to complete if you stick with the normal setting which can be pretty challenging. After that, you can replay all the levels using all the towers/weapons/perks you earned throughout the game and you can enable 5 feats of strength on each map which basically increases your challenge as they make the aliens stronger, faster, etc.
Sanctum 2 is a classic case of a bigger and better sequel which has not lost its unique and original flavor.