Tower defense games are somewhat of an acquired taste. My girlfriend likens them to watching a generic action film. You create the scenario and watch it unfold ultimately. With Defense Grid, Xbox Live finally gets it's tower defense game. While it doesn't break any new ground, it improves on the concept of other TD games and offers a very solid and addictive experience.
The game play is relatively simple. You create towers along a path while enemies show up from numerous locations, grab a power core and then proceed to the exit. Let every power core escape and you lose the game. It is your job to construct virtually a maze of death to stop them and their diabolical schemes of taking over the world. Now along with deciding which one of ten towers to use, you are given the option to upgrade them invariably. Once upgraded they cause carnage on a massive scale. So you are a given a choice, build more towers to maze your enemies effectively or upgrade your cannons to level 3 to decimate any boss monster that haplessly crosses its path.
The single player campaign alone is 20 levels, not including about five to six challenge modes for each level. The Xbox live version also contains 5 new maps entitled "Borderlands" along with their respective challenge modes as well. While it doesn't offer any multi player modes, the resulting experience should last you ten-fifteen hours. Given the truly addictive nature of the game, there isn't anything too horrific with that.
On an aesthetic level, Defense Grid is beautiful. I can't exactly place it, but the level design, the monsters up to the tower animations look and sound amazing. The towers rise up from the ground as they are slowly being constructed, the aliens cast long shadows as they move monotonously from one side of the map to the other. It isn't next-gen technology, but it still proves to be a visual vista for the eyes.
Overall, Defense Grid isn't an innovation in the tower defense genre. However it is perhaps one of the most solid strategy games on the Xbox Live Arcade system. Made even better for half the price of the PC version plus five bonus maps. If you are a tower defense fan, a strategy fan or just a fan of addictive games, then this game is definitely for you. Yes Rasberries are totally awesome.
(score is for arbituary reasons, I do not really place a gameplay experience on a rudimentary number system. However, if you just want to know the simplfied version of my opinion, please read on)
Eight out of Ten