Aksys games is becoming known around the office here as a company that doesn’t just have a pretty diverse roster of games (ranging from beat ’em ups to visual novels), but also a knack for coming up with long titles for their games. After last year’s excellent Code: Realize: Guardian of Rebirth and with Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate on the horizon, this month sees the release of Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault. Here’s our review.
Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault is out now for PS4, PS3 and Vita, but it’s not a cross-buy title. What is definitely is, is cross-genre. The game features elements of city building, turn-based and real time strategy, RPG and tower defense. The good news is that all of these elements come together quite nicely in an enjoyable package, but they might not appeal to genre purists. In order to make this eclectic mix of styles work, they’ve been toned down to “lite” versions – making the game more accessible in the process.
If we had to label Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault as one particular genre, we’d call it “city defense” or something like that. The game takes place in the future, where earth has been invaded and humanity is forced to live in circular-shaped cities. You’re in charge of making sure the city stays operational and intact, and this is where the aforementioned combination of styles comes in. Making sure your citizens are happy is one of the keys to generating enough taxes to build your city and its defenses. You also develop your tech tree to gain access to new units and weapons that you’ll need to progress past the later levels of the story campaign.
You’re also in charge of commanding a team of specialists, which is where the RPG element comes in. Each character has to be developed through the completion of missions and allotment of skill points. They also provide provide banter to the story campaign and give a bit more character and personality to the basic gameplay. This is a good thing, because despite the tech tree and different mission objectives you’ll encounter, the core gameplay can start feeling a little repetitive after a while. It’s fun, but mostly in smaller doses. In that sense, Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault feels a bit like a AAA mobile game – and we mean that as a compliment. It’s toned down the complexity of the genres it’s inspired by to create an easy-to-enjoy game, but delivers it with a lot more polish than you’d expect.
The actual tower defense portion of the game doesn’t come into play until the end of a “turn”, when you’ve set up your defenses and wrapped up your city building duties. It’s here where another dynamic comes into play – the fact that your city is divided up into rings that can rotate. This is especially relevant for the outer rings, which holds most of your defenses against the oncoming alien hordes. You also get an attack/defense bonus when you line up units between the rings that complement each other, which is a novelty at first but becomes a must in the later levels, especially at higher difficulty settings.
Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault is a fun and approachable game that meshes a bunch of different genres together, and it’s a credit to the developers who made it work. It’s not going to win over any hardcore fans of the genres involved and we’d say that tower defense fans are probably going to get the most enjoyment out of this – the game adds a couple of layers to that genre and creates an original and refreshing mix. Those who enjoy playing a more casual (mobile) game every now and then might also see this as a good crossover product. It’s especially worthwhile on Vita and PS3, systems that are getting something completely new in their libraries even though they are approaching the latter stages of their lifecycles.