The land of the dead will always have the last laugh.
It is hard to be excited about a tower defense game. The last couple of years have seen the genre flourish on Nintendo systems. This makes it hard to be surprised anymore, which is a shame. From the moment I saw Defend Your Crypt, I knew things were going to different. It looked like an interesting setup and the combat seemed interesting, and for the most part it panned out.
Defend Your Crypt sees you controlling a deceased Pharaoh, who wants to protect his final resting place. The tomb constantly gets visited by pesky adventurers who want to steal the treasures within. As the head honcho the intruders have to fall at the hands of the defenses you establish. The kills come by activating traps on the touchscreen. A simple tap might be easy enough, but the big thing here is timing. If you do this too early or too late, the adventurer will avoid it. Some traps can only be used once, while others need time to restart. Knowledge of how the traps work is vital, which the game does a good job of giving.
There is a limit to the decisions you can make as well, which adds to the challenge. All the trap require a certain amount of skulls, which are earned by destroying adventures. Resource management is a big thing here and learning from mistakes is the key to victory. This is because the levels in Defend Your Crypt aren't random. There are predetermined patterns in place that will never ever change, regardless of how many times they’re played. At the same time, this creates the dilemma that most levels are only fun once. It’s hard to justify replaying a game when the solutions are a known quantity.
The fixed patterns also stop it from being anything bigger than a puzzle game. There’s no upgrading or changing the location of the traps. This will cause the feeling of repetition to kick in now and again, but ultimately I had enjoyment playing through the thing. The gameplay is perfectly suited for both the Wii U GamePad and Nintendo 3DS – I did play both versions - but the handheld does get the upper hand in this scenario. There’s a nice, wide view of the tombs in the game and having an overview across the two screens is quite handy. It helps that the graphics are colorful with some decent sprite work. Sadly, the music of the game wasn't memorable and I would usually avoid turning the audio on.
Defend Your Crypt is more a puzzle game than anything else. It has the tropes of a tower defense game, but the package is different. The focus is on figuring out patterns and seeing how it all comes together in that perfect run. Once you master the timing, it’s easy to go on a long run without dying. That being said, it is disappointing that the game wasn't shooting for anything grander. In its current state, I only saw myself playing short sessions before moving on to other games. All in all, I would recommend it more if you want to play it on the Nintendo 3DS. That is where the game shines the most.