Like many of the other staff members here at Co-Optimus, I've been enjoying Monday Night Combat. Blending the flashy pizazz of Smash TV with a class-based third person shooter, and then tacking on a healthy dose of tower defense, Monday Night Combat is a hybrid of many things that gamers love. This last aspect, tower defense, is becoming extremely popular, and for good reason. There are few genres more appealing to a casual gamer than tower defense, and today we'll take a look at an Xbox Indie game that, like Monday Night Combat, blends several genres into something unusual and compelling: Murky Horizon.
The formula for Murky Horizons is something like this: take a healthy dollop of twin stick shooter (think Zombie Apocalypse), mix thoroughly with a "build your own maze" tower defense game (such as Desktop Tower Defense), and add in a hint of the "stay in the light or die" mechanic from a few levels in Gears of War. It may sound like an odd conglomeration, but I was pleasantly surprised by the end result.
The storyline, such as it is, is presented when the game begins by a scrolling note addressed to "Sis". Colonists settled a new planet, hoping to study the indigenous life, and things don't turn out so well. Attacked by waves of reptilian, yet catlike creatures, the colonists hope to survice long enough for the military to arrive and save them. The story is reminiscient of many other tales, but you probably aren't expecting Bioshock-level narratives from an Xbox Indie title anyway, right?
Two different game modes are available: Defense, where a central hub of some sort must be maintained at all costs, or Survival, where the only objective is to avoid a grisly death at the claws of the attackers. Waves of lizards spawn from all over the edges of the screen, and at first, your only option is to shoot them with your gun. As you fight, money is earned, which can be spent on walls and one of three different types of towers. Rockets and Lasers are the meat of the defensive forces, while Ice towers slow down the onslaught. Force fields are scattered around the map, and allow humans to pass while blocking the alien critters.