This should come as no surprise: We like Tower Defense games. They’re a great little time waster, and they are surprisingly addictive. Some of the variants are completely derivative, while the best ones introduce a new twist or two to keep things innovative and exciting.
So it should carry some real weight when I say that Ghost Hacker by Core Sector is probably the most polished, and certainly one of the most enjoyable, tower defense games I’ve ever seen. The game is just dripping with attention to detail, and I’m super impressed with how much effort must have gone into making it. Let’s discuss what makes it awesome:
- The game has a programming/hacking aesthetic which I can’t help but eat up as a nerd.
- The neon on black visuals are quite eye catching, and the game is a pleasure to look at.
- There is a great level progression with 25 levels that slopes gently and keeps you constantly engaged. The game rarely feels too hard or too easy.
- The enemies in the game feel distinct and enjoyable. There’s a huge number of them, and it’s always fun figuring out how to deal with new enemy types.
- The game is short and sweet. You can probably beat the whole thing in 2 or 3 hours if you are good. At no point did I feel like the game was just “rehashing” the same crap and wasting my time (like most TD games).
- The mechanic for getting new types of towers works really well, as you unlock new abilities and towers steadily throughout the game. It’s a bit top heavy as the later game weapons and abilities far out shadow the early game stuff, but this is a minor gripe. And it’s fun to go back and destroy earlier levels with high end weapons.
- The mechanic for improving your towers is a blast. Each tower has 2-4 “upgrade” nodes that can be augmented with extra abilities. All the abilities are interchangeable, so you can pretty much turn any tower into any other tower. This allows for lots of customization and strategy, and feels very natural. I’ve never seen this in a TD game before and I really like it.
- If you beat the game there is a bonus mode where you get to play as the creeps. AWESOME
- However, the best part of the game is the currency system. Normally in TD you have to plan out what you build because sell back only gets you a fraction of what you spent. Not in this game! Sell back gets you ALL your money back, just with a brief delay on time. In fact, all actions (like special abilities) result in you getting your money back after a little while. So the game becomes more about timing than about always having the exact right amount of money. You can even move your towers for free with just a small cooldown! This change may not sound major, but it makes the game so much more enjoyable. than standard tower defense.
All of these points make Ghost Hacker stand out heads and shoulders above the tower defense crowd. In fact, my only real (minor) complaint is the plot they try to interject between levels, luckily you can quickly skip it by clicking through.
If you like TD games at all you need to go give this one a shot. Enjoy!