Unleash has a simple premise: build towers to defend your base and spawn monsters to attack your adversaries. The mechanics are easy to learn but hard to master, and with the sheer amount of variation for towers, walls, and monsters, it can be remarkably easy to find yourself knee deep in plans and combos, wondering where the time went. Hordes of monsters, strategy, epic base-building – these elements work in tandem to deliver a game greater than the sum of its parts.
Sprawling campaigns might not be a thing in Unleash, but it’s bolstered by multiple game modes and maps to keep you occupied for a good amount of time. If battling a single bot seems too meagre an offering, don’t fret, because the game allows players to duke it out with up to seven Bots simultaneously. Those craving multiplayer experiences will also have their itch scratched as the game allows you to play with anywhere between one to seven friends. However you choose to play, either option is guaranteed to deliver an intense, competitive experience.
Unleash is a game where minutes can stretch into hours due to the ruthlessness of the AI. The road to victory is a rocky one, and even easy Bots can give you trouble if you’re unprepared. The more challenging ones could serve you on a silver platter, complete with rosy apple and curled tail. Beginners and veteran players can expect themselves to be thoroughly challenged.
My first match saw me going up against a bot, and I was confident I could win without effort. It had the word ‘easy’ tacked on at end of its name, so my expectations were low. I randomly inserted towers or walls into the grid-based map and hunkered down to await the horde.
The first wave wasn’t hard to defend against, but as the minutes ticked by and the number of waves climbed into double digits, monsters began to blitz past my walls, rendering my defence moot. I’d also neglected to build anything past the first few lines – convinced I wouldn’t need them – resulting in a panicked scramble to finish off those that got past. I restarted the match when the stragglers ended up biting off a decent amount of my health.
Despite how difficult things can get, the game remains surprisingly fun. Being walked all over didn’t feel trying or upsetting, quite the opposite in fact. Losing just made me come back for more.
The game offers no tutorial but one can learn a fair bit from exchanging blows with Bots. It’s startling how often I’d get thrown for a loop. For example, I had no idea I could chain tesla coils until I saw my opponent doing just that. Placing two tesla coils opposite of each other produces a deadly chain of lightning between them. The bot’s base was structured in a manner that forced my monster spawns to walk from one end to another, and by putting three evenly spaced tesla coils, the effect it had on my horde was tremendous. They never reached the other end.
Sending monster spawns that require certain weapons to damage them is another thing the Bot did. It would spawn Snowrippers to attack when my base had no flamethrowers. Snowrippers need to be doused in fire before machine guns could hurt them, and I found myself scrambling once again to unlock the specified weapon.
Monsters can also be evolved, resulting in veritable tanks. Doing this early in a match produces spectacular results. It’s cathartic to see your horde waltz through an opponent’s defences without as much as a scratch. I really like how Unleash provides numerous opportunities for you to devise strategies and turn the tide in your favour. It can make a world of difference to familiarize yourself with the advantages and disadvantages of each monster, or tower.
Pair a diesel shooter with a flamethrower to maximize damage. Send a Snowripper to attract gunfire while an acid spewing monster takes down walls. The possibilities are just waiting to be discovered.
The origin of events in Unleash are an intriguing read, but it never comes into play. Knowing X and Y happened is cool, but it doesn’t affect the player if they go into the game without knowledge of it. There is potential in its setting, it just isn’t fully grasped yet. Players wanting deep, engaging lore will be disappointed.
The story, as of now, is also non-existent. I enjoy the gameplay immensely but fighting faceless enemies can get old, I’d be more invested if the Bots have some manner of personality or backstory. DeSync studios seem to be in for the long haul, though, so things might change with future updates.
Overall, Unleash is a great game, well-worth your attention and support. It’s not the best looking title, but with such solid and addictive gameplay, I’d be a fool to dismiss it.