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Onion Force Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . With great graphics and a unique mix of role-playing elements, Onion Force has all of the right ingredients for a great tower defense game. Unfortunately, technical problems and a tired formula mar and otherwise fun experience. Rating: 64%
Onion Force
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  • Review Score:

  • B-
Disc jockeys have known for decades that the key to getting a song stuck in your head is heavy repetition. You may not like it the first few times, but a couple dozen plays later you'll succumb to its infectious chorus and simple beat. It's science. I think the same thing is happening to me with tower defense games. I started 2016 sick and tired of the played-out genre, figuring that there was nothing they could do at this point to win me over. But thanks to a steady stream of brand new tower defense games, I am beginning to get that beat stuck in my head.

This time around it's Onion Force, a cartoony take on the genre that adds much-needed role-playing elements to the traditional formula. You control one of three hero characters, each tasked with fighting back waves of advancing enemies and picking up the dropped loot. In typical tower defense fashion, the hero can spend money on setting up towers to shoot arrows, throw bombs, toss down spikes and slow bad guys down with tar.

While none of this is especially ground breaking, it does help having a character to control when the waves spiral out of hand. There's nothing worse than relying solely on the towers you erect and hoping for the best. Onion Force is part of an increasing movement of tower defense games that throws the player right out into the action, and it makes all the difference.

The heroes themselves are simple, often with only a couple attacks. For example, the archer is able to fend off the attack with his bow and arrow, but can also get up close and person with close-quarter attacks. Because these heroes are not indestructible, players will need to build medical tents and keep track of the health meter. It's a wrinkle you don't normally think about in this style of game, and can be a real nuisance with limited space.

Beyond the typical tower defense mechanics, Onion Force employs a lot of role-playing trappings to bring everything together. Our heroes gain experience with each enemy they kill, always working towards leveling up and finding new weapons to equip. You are also able to spend hard-earned stars on upgrading all six tower types, which goes a long way late in the game. It's a lot deeper than I expected going in.

Onion Force (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

It helps that Onion Force keeps things moving, always unlocking new items and changing up the backgrounds. The core mechanics are as dated and repetitive as ever, but at least the environments add some unique challenges. Even after a dozen levels, I was eager to keep going and see what types of enemies they would throw at me next.

That said, Onion Force suffers from some serious gameplay problems. The biggest problem involves not being able to switch into full screen mode, a standard feature in pretty much all PC games. This meant that I had to use my teeny tiny mouse cursor to aim my hero. This made aiming nearly impossible, especially in the levels completely covered in snow and ice. I was constantly hunting for the cursor, to the point where it started to give me a headache.

Onion Force (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

It doesn't help that the game is prone to freak out on the player if they accidentally click outside of the window. I found myself unable to move or aim my character because I accidentally went outside of the border. This wouldn't be an issue if Onion Force offered full screen mode.

These technical issues mar what is one of the better tower defense games on the market. I'm a big fan of the art style and the changing enemy types, as well as the role-playing elements, the large variety of towers and the three heroes to choose from. But not even all those good things can make up for the tired tower defense formula and frustrating technical problems.
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