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X-Morph: Defense Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . X-Morph: Defense brings together the best elements from tower defense games and dual-stick shooters. And while it's occasionally frustrating and often repetitive, the shoot-em-up action is fast and satisfying. There are some good ideas here that aren't fully explored, but there's still a lot to like about this action game. Coming from the developer best known for Zombie Driver HD, I think it's safe to say that X-Morph: Defense is EXOR Studio's best game yet. Rating: 71%
X-Morph: Defense
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  • Review Score:

  • B
After so many years of protecting Earth from the scourge of space aliens, part of me just wants to see the world burn. I'm sick of being the only guy on the frontlines all the time and wouldn't mind seeing what it feels like to jump sides and use advanced alien technology to wipe out humanity once and for all. That's why I'm glad I came across X-Morph: Defense, a brand new action game that plays into all of my most sociopathic desires. It's a dual-stick shooter that shows the fight from the alien's point of view, giving us a chance to tour some of Earth's most iconic countries ... and then blow them up. Those little humans have no idea who they're messing with!

This is the story of an alien species that has traveled all around the galaxy in order to find a planet with the minerals they desperately need. The good news for them (and bad news for us) is that Earth has the gravity, geothermal energy and minerals they need, so they've decided to send down a bunch of harvesting cores to mine the planet until there's nothing left to take.


Obviously the puny humans aren't going to let a bunch of outsiders suck their resources dry, so they deploy their armies to blow up the harvesting core so that they can get back to watching trashy reality TV shows and stuffing their faces with fatty foods. Thankfully, the aliens have anticipated this response, and that's where you come in. It's your job to fly around in a surprisingly agile spaceship and protect the core from an onslaught of tanks, choppers, jets and more.

What we have here is a fun variation on the tower defense genre. The idea is to fight off several waves of enemies that travel on a few predictable paths. Between waves, our little spaceship will be able to set down and upgrade towers, not only giving you some much needed cover fire, but also allows us to block off paths and redirect those pesky humans in different directions. Once the fighting starts up again, the game turns into an action-packed dual-stick shooter full of different weapons, upgrades and charge attacks.

Like so many tower defense games that came before it, X-Morph finds creative ways to make each location harder than the last. It seems like every time you earn a new upgrade, those terrible humans find a way to counter. There's a fun back and forth built into this game, where the humans will come up with a new idea and you'll have to figure out a new strategy. The action will definitely heat up as they throw bigger and tougher tanks and jets at you, as well as a few bosses that will test your dodging skills.

X-Morph: Defense (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

What I like about X-Morph: Defense is that it adds just enough shoot-em-up action to never feel like a proper tower defense game. While you have to be strategic about where you position your towers and the direction you corral the humans, you're mostly just flying around and gunning down bad guys like any other dual-stick shooter. It's an exciting mash-up that never gets so bogged down in nuance that it takes away from the arcade action.

Oddly enough, that's one of the issues I had with X-Morph. Don't get me wrong, I love that the developers have kept the strategy elements simple, but it would have been nice to see a little more depth. The game is slow at introducing the upgrades, and even then there aren't that many to choose from. It's all pretty basic stuff, which is a little disappointing given what they could have done with the alien technology.

This leads into my other big complaint -- X-Morph is far too repetitive. Part of this is due to the tower defense elements making sure everything plays out in the most predictable ways possible, never veering off in a surprising or unusual direction. It's fun to see all the new tanks, planes and mechs the humans throw at us, but the rote structure got to me after a while. I think some of this could have been helped by giving us stages with more iconic landmarks, because so much of the fun in alien invasion fiction involves destroying the buildings and monuments we all know and love.

X-Morph: Defense (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

While the locations aren't as iconic as they could have been, I will say that the graphics look great and the cities blow up in a lot of fun ways. There's a good diversity of backgrounds to fight through, and I like how all the buildings can be destroyed and deformed as the battle wears on. The action is also fast and intense, giving you a well-crafted dual-stick shooter that doesn't feel like the Geometry Wars and Smash TVs of the world. This is a good shooter, and the faults this game has are mostly connected to the tower defense side.

X-Morph: Defense brings together the best elements from tower defense games and dual-stick shooters. And while it's occasionally frustrating and often repetitive, the shoot-em-up action is fast and satisfying. There are some good ideas here that aren't fully explored, but there's still a lot to like about this action game. Coming from the developer best known for Zombie Driver HD, I think it's safe to say that X-Morph: Defense is EXOR Studio's best game yet.
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