Tower defence games have been around for a long time, bringing a lot of differences between them. It was only a matter of time before the concept was reversed so that the player would be on the offensive, and that came with a game called Anomaly: Warzone Earth. While I don’t exactly know if the game was the first to reverse the concept, there doesn’t seem to have been as many notable games using it.
Tower defence games have you defending against incoming waves of enemies by placing units of your own in or outside the path that the enemy travels. In tower offense, you are the units travelling on the path, with the enemy defences already in place. In the case of Anomaly, you can change the path your units travel to tackle the defences how you want.
Now, this first idea of mine has you not acquire any credits for buying new units during a match. You will be able to buy reinforcements between matches, and to help you decide what you need you’ll see all enemy units for the next map, but in the matches, you’ll be stuck with what you’ve got.
The enemy units will already be placed on the map, and you will have a list of all your units available at all times. You can deploy a unit at any time, with each unit having the usual statistics applied such as attack, defence, range, and speed. The units you send out will be unable to be stopped, so keeping an eye on the field and which units are engaged in battle will help to reduce losses to your team.
You need to keep the offensive going, and avoid losing too many units, as if you are unable to make it to the next base, you’ll have to work back up to what you had before using the starting amount of credits for the base you launched from. There are also no upgrades, as the bases you take give permanent buffs to all units depending on what they are best suited for.
The second idea uses a side-on view instead of the usual top-down viewpoint. There would be no tanks here, as it would be within an interior setting. Instead, there will be a variety of turret units to face off against, along with the normal soldier units.
The idea behind this comes from an idea for a platformer game I had, but I feel it would be better suited to a tower offense game. In the game, you would be a squad of four fighting through the corridors of a cruiser to take back control of it from those who had assumed command. At the end of each section, there would be a boss.
Now, how would I be able to turn that platformer idea into a tower offense? The four squad members are the only units you will have, so you need to look after them. Each of the four have different weapons that are good against various enemy types, but only the person in front will be able to fire their weapon.
At the end of each mission, you’ll accrue credits that you can use to heal up and upgrade the four units. If one or more of the units fell in battle, you’ll need to use credits to revive them, meaning less available for upgrades. If all units fall, you’ll start the mission again with all at full health, though with a further reduction in credits.
Bosses would play out with each boss having a particular favoured turret that they would place between them and the squad after a certain period of health taken from them to allow them to run away to the next point, where more turrets have to be dealt with before more health of the boss can be taken.
Now, if the entire game takes place on a cruiser, how are the visuals of each area going to be different? By not having every area be a corridor. And even the corridors would offer slight differences depending on where they were on the cruiser. You would be going all over this cruiser within the story to make sure no-one remains on board.
It’s the upgrades that matter with this one, but strategy still plays a part if you want to earn that greater reward. And it’s the upgrades that are part of this third idea – to a much greater degree.
See, this third idea is a non-linear approach to such a title. But at the same time, it also slightly breaks the idea of strategy. The region you live has been invaded. Cities have fallen, with everywhere now in control of the invaders. Small pockets of survivors rest in the forests of the region, but have no way to connect with each other as the invaders have set up camps between routes.
In a small section of forest, three of the colonists decide to fight back, and it is these three who you start with. You control where they go, tackling any route out from the patch of forest they reside. They will battle against the invader camps with nothing but branches to start with, and should you wish can be called back to home at any time.
As the survivors defeat a camp, they earn experience to level themselves up and items with which to craft better weapons and armour. As they progress through the region, they can find other survivors who will join the cause, and once enough have joined you can start setting up multiple groups to journey the region. You’ll still need to task them individually by swapping between them, but you can always see their condition and order a retreat no matter which group you currently control.
Once you have built up enough strength, you can start to tackle the cities, which offer larger rewards than the camps and allow you to start building up explosives. See, while you might defeat a camp, the invaders will rest and be ready to fight again unless you blow it up. Once it’s blown up, it will be permanently defeated. Cities will not be reclaimed until you defeat the leader within it, but leaders won’t show until all invaders have been removed from it.
The leaders roam the city, so it’s best to have multiple groups on hand to trap the leader in position before striking. In taking back a city, you will get more recruits to help, access to more powerful equipment, and an additional perk such as additional health or smarter recruits. Once you take a city, it can be set as the base of operations, though any recruits left elsewhere will remain until tasked to move. Once all the cities have been taken back, the main game has been won.