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Sentinel 3: Homeworld
by Paul Byron on Tuesday 15th Mar 2011

When Humans Attack

Coming in their droves, they battered the defences and broke down the fortified walls until we could take no more.  Yes, Tower Defence games have taken over the App Store, but can Sentinel 3: Homeworld turn the tide and produce something different?

The first 2 Sentinel games (Mars and Earth) were each standout titles in the Tower Defence genre. High on strategy and a great art style, they were the jewels of the genre.  Since then there have been many other pretenders to the throne, but Sentinel 3 has no problems putting them in their place and taking up the crown once again.

 

Sentinel 3

The game starts off with a continuation of the Sentinel story in the typical fashion.  We’ve defeated the aliens on Mars and Earth, but they keep coming.  Discovering a way to reverse-engineer their tech, we take the fight to their homeworld to rid humanity of them once and for all.  Not that any of this really matters, it’s just an excuse to get back into those trenches and build another bunch of towers, and rightly so.

The game as a whole hasn’t changed much; defeat hordes of oncoming enemies before they reach their goal.  In the way are your defences, which you plant before and during each wave.  More kills equals more credits to spend on another tower.  In addition, the Sentinel games added extra barriers to protect and drones to repair them or collect mineral resources for extra credits.  In Homeworld, though, you have a commander who mans these gates and drones come in at a later stage. 

Sentinel 3

The Commander changes the game dynamic by both being able to fire on the aliens and being upgradable to repair, jump between multiple gates and add extra weapons.  The upgrades come with levelling up, defeating waves of aliens will earn him points on a dial and once he reaches a set amount you can get to choose another upgrade.  These are closely linked to the maps themselves, with some upgrades helping immensely on later maps.  The trick is to replay a level numerous times before moving on to something harder.

Even just being able to move around makes a difference.  Weak defences on one wall and only enough credits to build towers somewhere else?  No problem, just send the Commander over the other side to take care of things in the meantime.   Weapons can be upgraded and new ones bought in the same way as the Commander can be upgraded, but the difference here is that you’ll need to buy slots to put these weapons in.  At times it can seem tedious going back to earn more money in order to buy a weapon space before you even think about buying a new weapon, but it simply adds another layer to an already packed game.

 

Sentinel 3

Graphically, Sentinel 3 improves over the previous games slightly but noticeably.  Sometimes the lack of a clear path makes it hard to plan where the aliens will attack first, but this is solved by replaying the level, which you’ll need to do a fair few times in some cases.

Difficultly levels do tend to rise fairly steeply as you progress.  The four difficulty modes are welcome and even the easiest will prove a challenge for some players.  But having that fallback to an easier difficulty (which you can change at any time) and being able to replay early levels to level up your character and buy new weapons adds longevity to the game.

With both Openfeint and Game Center supported, high scores can be compared and achievements unlocked, adding yet another reason to keep coming back.  Origin8 have packed so many features in to this game and have really pushed for a more strategic approach that, even with the bulging numbers of Tower Defence games on the App Store, Sentinel 3 still stands tall as the leader of the pack.

Metacritic

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  • Sound: 8
  • Graphics: 9
  • Gameplay: 9
  • Longevity: 9

9

Superb


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