Horn Swaggles Island review. Developed by Pencel Games
This is how the Kevin from Pencel Games described the game.
“It is a pirate-themed RTS game with puzzle elements that has its roots in the tower defence games. The player is in charge of defending a series of islands, and making careful use of each island’s geography and buried treasure adds an interesting puzzle twist to the game.”
You can read a full interview with Kevin over at www.xblaratings.com
I initially approached Horn Swaggle Island with some trepidation as I do not play many tower defence games(TDG).
I am sure like many others out in Xbox land, when you are not used to TDG the amount of options available just seems overwhelming. After a few goes of fumbling round trying to develop some defences the game is over. This can be a big deterrent to giving a game the time it deserves.
On initial looks Horn Swaggle Island(HIS) seemed a little simpler and the old school graphics and pirate theme definitely attracted me to the game, so I decided to take the plunge and have a go. I was amazed at how easy it was to get into HSI and within a few minutes I was building guns and canons to my hearts content. Unfortunately without much success.
I started on Captain difficulty, this turned out to be a bit of an error as after several hours play I was finding it very hard to beat Island 3 and I decided to change the difficulty to Cabin Boy. I would suggest any new comers to TDG do the same. I also decided to search the net for some tips on HSI.
It turns out that I was making some pretty basic errors, I was building too many weak defences. Less is definitely more in Horn Swaggle Island. The game uses a very effective powering up system for your defences, you pay for upgrades to increase the power of your turrets and they also increase power through experience. This means that you can do a lot of damage to the enemy with a few very powerful turrets. Used in conjunction with the Bunnacle that fires magic to slow the enemy down and the Jolly Roger that increases the power and firing range of the turrets I found myself starting to beat off the pesky little pirates.
A great feature of the game is being able to pick up your turrets and place them somewhere else on the map, this was a life saver on more than one occasion. Indeed it was the fact that you could work on your defences in real time that I found very engaging and it definitely added a sense of panic and urgency to the game.
Another feature is that every island is different and has it’s own challenges and the layout of them needs some puzzle solving to find the best way to defeat the enemy. Some have buried treasure that can give you money or power ups, these can be the difference between beating an island or not. X marks the spot, so be sure to make the enemy pirates walk over them.
After getting used to the game I moved up a difficulty to Captain and found that the skills I had learnt work well, but it made you think much more about the layout of the island and your defensive mazes, which made each island much more of a challenge. I dread to think hard Pirate King would be, I would imagine even the most hardened Tower Defence gamer would find Horn Swaggle Island worth playing.
I have already had many hours of game play from the game and I know I will play it for many more, at 400 MS points you are getting a lot of game for your money and I would recommend that you give Horn Swaggle Island some of your time.
I am give Horn Swaggle Island 5 Joysticks – Excellent.
You can read another HSI review at Indie Game Blog