In the days leading up to PAX East, I was getting bombarded with emails about upcoming events and games being showcased. I remember going through the emails dazed and weary, until something caught my eye; Robot Entertainment was going to be making an announcement at PAX. I was both excited and anxious to see what their announcement would be… and when the day finally came, I was so excited to check out their new game Orcs Must Die! Unchained that I showed up a full day early for my appointment.

Orcs Must Die Unchained - Incoming wave

Facing a wave of baddies head-on is risky, but always exciting.

Orcs Must Die! Unchained is a fortress-siege game that sets two teams against one another in a battle of wits, strength, and tactics. When I was brought up to the station and the game booted up, I learned that I would be playing a stout warrior-type class that buffed the armor of allies and dished out melee beatdowns. I was satisfied with that. The biggest advantage I had was I had one of the game’s designers standing with me, literally coaching me through every stage of the game. Usually you’d have to pay good money for that kind of coaching, but here I was, playing Orcs Must Die! Unchained right after its announcement, with the designer, and you’d better recognize that I was kicking ass.

Orcs Must Die Unchained -Traps

Setting a myriad of traps is still a big part of the gameplay.

The gameplay was simply a ton of fun. The classic lure-and-trap mechanics that made Orcs Must Die! such a success are still here, which was fantastic to see. The animations were wonderfully fluid and the art looked sharp as enemies stormed into our keep into a volley of arrows and tar pits. I buffed our minions to ensure that they were fighting to maximum effectiveness, and once the first round was over, I was coached to run over and upgrade our minions.

This is where the game got really interesting from a tactics perspective. As a team, you invest in upgrading your minions and each player is responsible for filling their own segment of the wave. The overall strategy changed depending on what types of minions you were sending out, but at the same time, you wanted to be sure that your team had a balanced attack. I was a warrior, so I figured I would keep pushing out front-line grunts to absorb some punishment. Eventually, once we had upgraded our base enough, I was able to send out these cool-looking bears that really threw their weight around. These top-tier troops, alongside my buffs, proved too much for the opposition and we were victorious!

At the end of the day, I came away very impressed with Orcs Must Die! Unchained. It’s still early in development, and yet the game I played felt great. The game is already in wonderfully playable condition, and it’ll be interesting to watch as Robot Entertainment continues development and polishes it even further. This is a game you’ll definitely see me streaming as soon as I can get my hands on it.