Orcs Must Die! 3 review

Need to know

What is it? A tower defense game where you slaughter orcs.

Expect to pay £23.79/$29.99

Release Out now

Developer Robot Entertainment

Publisher Robot Entertainment

Reviewed on Windows 10, Intel Core i5-6500, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060

Multiplayer? Yes

Link Official site

Occasionally, as a new wave of orcs washes in to crash against your fortifications, you’ll catch a moan from a despondent greenskin on the breeze: “Feels like we’re never gonna get there.” It seems like a moment of realisation about their doomed role in tower defence, but invariably it’s a thought they don’t get to complete: they’re dashed against the rocks, tarred and burned, or electrified so that their skeleton flashes through their skin. 

Recently freed from the shackles of Stadia, Orcs Must Die! 3 isn’t usually a thoughtful fantasy game. It makes little effort to contextualise its maligned title characters, to ponder where they come from or why they do what they do. Yet it is a thinking person’s game—a strategic siege simulator that rewards careful arrangement, inspired solutions, and a willingness to toss away past assumptions and approach a problem from a new angle. It’s a game that makes you feel smart, even as you swing your mouse desperately to slug an imp in the eye with a bolt of magic.

Imagine you’re an interior designer, but in a universe where one of the tenets of feng shui is murder. Using a pre-allocated budget, you begin each level by buying, rotating and placing the traps of your choice in a small dungeon (or, less often, a large field), with the aim of causing as much damage as possible to any orcs who might pass through. 

(Image credit: Robot Entertainment)

Then it’s open house: the doors smash inward, and enemies run down the hall and up the stairs, displaying a remarkably low aptitude for hazard perception as they do so. The traps they trigger come from the Tom & Jerry school of slapstick comedy, flipping orcs through the air or stinging them with beehives; those awaiting the upcoming Jackass reunion will find themselves well served. Afterwards, with all the orcs dead or absconded through the portal you’re supposed to be protecting, you go again—building out your designs until the final wave.

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