Mix the side-on colony management of Fallout Shelter with the trap-laying tower defence of Orcs Must Die, stir both together in a wizard’s cauldron, and you’ll end up with something not far from Artificer’s Tower.
Solo developer RodentGames’ debut puts the player in charge of defending the titular tower from waves of attacking monsters and bigger bosses by filling its rooms full of traps and training its mages from amateur magicians to powerful sorcerers.
‘Tower defence’ is used in a fairly literal fashion here, as it’s the tower you’ll be defending from monsters. While it’s just the one tower, actually, you’ll be able to add dozens of rooms that both provide benefits in the management-sim bit of the game before turning into magical deathtraps when it flips into the defence side.
The rooms can be arranged as you like too, allowing for some fun creativity in what shape you make your wizard’s tower – the ability to zap between rooms using portals means you won’t be bound by the limitations of “doors” and such rudimentary ideas.
Once the monsters subside for a while, you’ll need to keep your tower running smoothly, managing the responsibilities of its inhabiting mages while also keeping them happy by fulfilling their needs and paying their wages. As your mages develop, you’ll also gain new recipes to let you craft ever more powerful rooms and items, as well as automating parts of your settlement.
After five years in development at the one-person Canadian studio, Artificer’s Tower is due to hit Steam this April. Before that, there’s a demo currently live as part of Steam Next Fest, so you can give it a go for free.