When I picked up Onion Force, I wasn’t sure what to expect, from the name it gives absolutely nothing away. I hit up the Steam store page for the game and saw that it was an “Action, Adventure, Indie, RPG, Strategy”, first thing that came to my mind was “Tower Defence RPG?”. Well, after spending a few hours with the game, I can tell you that this is the closest thing to a true description of this game as we’re going to get.
So, what is Onion Force about? There doesn’t appear to be any story, your goal is to stop the monsters from getting to your king who is, inexplicably, stood inside a square of rocks. Not a castle, not even a log cabin by the lake on a royal holiday, just, you know, a square of rocks. Anyway, the enemies walk set paths as in every “tower” defence game, the difference in this game is that you don’t get freedom to put your towers where you want to put them, there are set positions to place the towers, speaking of towers, as you play the game, you get stars which you can spend to upgrade your towers. The towers do different things, for example, the Sniper Hut is a tower that will shoot arrows at your enemies, it isn’t very strong but it is relatively fast, or the Bomb Tower that fires bombs that attack with splash damage, it is much slower but rather strong. Now, when you upgrade your towers, the game does nothing to tell you how much extra damage, speed or range you’re getting for your stars, in fact, it doesn’t even give you a base damage number which I find strange. That is only the start of my issues with this system, once you place a tower, you can’t sell those towers, so if you place the wrong type by accident, or find as the level goes on you need a different type of tower now, you’re out of luck.
Well if the Tower Defence aspect isn’t the best, how is Onion Force as an RPG? I’m glad you asked. So, you can pick from 3 characters, a Warrior, Bowman and a Wizard. As you play you will find occasionally the enemies will drop weapons for your characters, as far as gearing goes this is it. Sometimes the weapons will have suffixes, for example, I found a “Wooden Shortbow of Luck”, what does the “Luck” do? The game didn’t actually tell me, however sometimes when I would pick up the gold dropped by the enemies I would get “Lucky” and it would drop another 4 or 5 coins. So, I can only assume that the suffix Luck would give me a higher chance of getting more coins dropped, but since the maps only had 6 or 7 spots for towers, you don’t actually need that much gold. The characters have ammo, this also includes the Warrior, sword durability maybe? The game doesn’t actually tell you that you have limited attacks, other than a tiny bar above your characters head which you have to refill by using a healing tower, which then takes up one of your limited and permanent tower slots. Your character does have stat points that you can see at the character selection screen, this is also where you equip any weapons you pick up.
There are and I quote “30 levels of butt-puckering mayhem!”, 30 poorly designed levels with rather bad pathing. Some fences are breakable by your character where you may occasionally find a chest that has gold and possibly weapons, other fences aren’t, even though they look relatively the same. Tower positions aren’t placed very well, which is why most tower defence games give you the freedom to place towers where you feel is best. It feels like the game is trying to hold my hand through some aspects and others it’s throwing me into the wild and hoping for the best, as an example the game will only allow you to play a new level on “Easy” difficulty, even though there are 3 difficulties, easy medium and hard. Cool, guide me through it, break me in gently, however when you do this, the NPC “Guiding” you through it calls you a wimp? Well, if you allowed me to play the game on any difficulty I wanted maybe I wouldn’t pick the easiest difficulty? Another thing is that the levels are over way too quickly, just as you put all of your towers down, it turns out you only have 1 wave left to go and the monsters will barely make it halfway down the lane. Graphically the maps are boring too, bland colours and no real thought into the lanes. On the subject of graphics, the characters look like something out of an NES game, the design of the pixie that guides you through is strangely over sexualised and the menus are clunky.
The music in this game is, weird. At times it sounds retro, then it’ll switch to more techno tones and then a sharp turn into dubstep. The track changes if you hit a boss wave, but the music didn’t make me feel hyped or anxious, it was just meh. I noticed, right away, that there is no real transition between music in the menus, it just flicks from 1 track to the next, not even a simple fade and when you win a level the tune sounds like it’s ripped straight from the countdown, but a poor version of it. Eventually, I turned the music and effects down to 1/10 in the settings before I continued playing, at one point the game crashed on me and when I reloaded the game hadn’t saved my previous settings so I got deafened briefly, which was fun. I tested to see if it was just because of the crash, however even closing the game properly caused my settings to be erased also.
Depending on the platform, the price of this game varies as follows;
Play Store: £0.99
Apple Store: £0.99
Based on the steam price of £3.99 I just can’t recommend this game, honestly, with the problems I’ve found during my experience, I just can’t, if you’re looking for a tower defence RPG for PC, I’d pick up something like Dungeon Defenders 2, which is free. If we go by the Apple/Android price of 99p, I guess it’s not a huge loss, there are better options out there for tower defence, but I don’t think I’ve come across a tower defence RPG on my phone, so I can’t make a true judgement.
Out of 100, I would probably give Onion Force a 15. I CAN see what the developers were going for with this game and I could appreciate it if it was executed in a different way. I would like to see the developers review this game and improve it, at the very least fix the issues with the hitboxes, the settings not saving and the pixie telling me I’m a wimp for playing the only levels allowed! But maybe that last one is just me.
Onion Force is available now on Android, iOS and Steam. If you’d like to know more about the developer you can check out our recent interview with them HERE.
This guest review was written by our good friend Stuart Hannon. If you liked his work, you can follow him on Twitter HERE and let him know.