Defenders of the Mystic Garden (DotMG) takes elements from the tower defence genre and tweaks a few aspects to help differentiate it from others. Like most entries in the genre, you’ll control a limited number of units to fight against hordes of incoming enemies, but DotMG has movement on its side. Instead of units remaining stationary, players will be able to either command their defenders to stay in place, move to a new location or patrol an area.
The list of defenders contains a warrior for close range combat, a ranger for long range combat, a fire mage for multiple targets and finally an ice mage to reduce movement speeds of the enemy. This balance of classes combined with the ability to change their locations adds a nice amount of strategy without a steep learning curve.
DotMG contains 12 different stages in the world map with four different maps. Each stage will contain a certain number of waves in which players must defend a set number of strawberries from incoming insects.
Hiring new troops and levelling up existing ones will cost money which can be obtained by slaying monsters or completing waves. As you only have a limited number of units to place on each stage, levelling up units is critical. Stages won’t take very long to clear, so it adds a slight amount of replay value to play different stages with different classes to see which works best and allows you to achieve the highest score. For those who just want to complete the stages and move on, you’ll be moving rather quickly.
Each of the four different worlds are brightly coloured and offer enough variation to help keep them from getting old too quickly. Depending on the stage picked, different paths will open up or close to adjust the difficulty of those particular stages. With three difficulties, denoted by one, two or three strawberries, there's enough of a challenge for all gamers of any skill level.
As PlayStation Minis don't offer Trophies, it’s nice to see titles like this with their own set of Challenges for gamers to unlock. There's also a gallery of all the creepy crawlers encountered throughout the various stages and a helpful chart with stats of each of the four characters at various levels.
Each stage loads quickly and the controls are smooth and responsive, allowing you to easily perform tasks throughout the game. While the default camera is not placed in a very appropriate location, pushing Triangle will relocate it to the top of the map allowing for a full view of the battlefield.
The music is forgettable and each character has unique voice over tracks with minimal sound effects from enemies. Because characters play a sound every single time they're selected, you’ll likely be glad to know there is a setting to turn off voiceovers in the options menu, because after a few matches, they start to get repetitive and annoying.
Even with the amount of gameplay low to moderate, Defenders of the Mystic Garden is a nice mix of strategy and simplicity for both fans of the tower defence genre and people just looking for a quick game to play from time to time.
I played this last night - it was free for US PS+ members last week - and I turned it off during the first level when I realized I could only make 3 units at once and the 2nd or 3rd wave just ran right thru them. I really like TD games - Fieldrunners was awesome - but this looks blaech. Since you gave it a 7 though I'll go back and retry it w/ upgrading. I'm used to upgrading in a TD game, just never so early in a level. And 3 units seems a tad harsh.
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