Far too often are we put in games where we are defending the planet from aliens or zombies or whatever terrifying creatures are here to claim this dull rock in the middle of nowhere as their home. (Think about it, if we were important, we'd be getting a lot more visitors. We're the Montana of the galaxy.) So it's always awesome to be playing on the other side of that coin and bringing whatever destruction to this place as possible. We get to try our hand at it again as we review X-Morph: Defense.
X-Morph: Defense is a combination of a shoot 'em up and a tower defense game with a skill building mechanic. You are an alien species that invade the Earth with the sole purpose of taking over the planet. The humans, while your enemies are considered an afterthought in the entire ordeal and it is up to you to basically exterminate them and move forward with your plans. To do so you'll drop towers down in cities at key locations, where the military will send in their forces to chop you down to size and put an end to your devious plans.
Part of the game will have you building up defenses like shield grids and laser guns that will help aid in defending the tower, while you primarily roam around in a single fighter ship doing most of the work to defeat them by moving around and shooting everything that comes at you. You'll switch between "ghost mode" so you can fly around the area and gather resources to help build new stuff, and "fighter mode" where you'll enter into a twin-stick shooter mode to defeat the humans. Over fourteen different missions, you'll build, blow up, defeat enemies, grow more, and repeat the process all over again.
One of the biggest hassles in the game is figuring out what weapons to best use against certain enemies and converting them into the materials you need, so there's a lot of resource management being handled in the middle of a battle. Every mission will earn you bonuses and upgrades to weapons that you desperately need, especially in side missions that are optional but aren't really optional if you wish to progress further on. Especially when you hit boss fights, which will become the bane of your existence in X-Morph: Defense, as they are some of the hardest enemies to crack if you're just going through the campaign and not getting anything else to help you in your battles.
Another issue I have with the game is that you can see the path that enemy soldiers and vehicles will be taking to get to you, and they will always get to you. You can try blocking off the road they're traveling, but once you cut off a way for them to get in, the game will form a new path around it. As if to say "no, you don't get you wall yourself in, you have to take the hit." If I'm a smart alien, I'm walling myself in, regardless of who the hell comes down the road! Why force an encounter with me when I can stop it from happening?
X-Morph: Defense is a fun little title, but it comes with its fair share of problems that will make you despise the AI and loathe the building mechanic as you race to help your tower stay alive. There are three levels of difficulty to add a challenge and even a local co-op mode if you're feeling overwhelmed and need some help, but these additions can't make up for the game's weird behavior when it comes to forcing you into certain foxholes. It's a hell of a challenge if you're up to the task, but be aware, this is the kind of game that could cause many a keyboard or controller to find their way to the garbage.