First and foremost, Savage Moon is a “tower defense” game. It’s actually quite a good one, but there’s nothing here to woo players who just can’t get into this type of title. That being said, there are oodles of bug-splattering goodness packed into this little gem, and the price makes it almost impossible to pass up for fans.
On first glance, there’s really not all that much to Savage Moon or any other title in this genre. On a given map, there are spawn points for alien creepy-crawlies of all kinds, and there’s a base to protect. In a series of waves, these space bugs emerge from their lairs and crawl or fly across the map, attempting to destroy the base. Players try to prevent this by installing various offensive and defensive towers in the bug’s path. Each tower costs money, and there are a limited number of tower drops available. Killing bugs gains more money, to be used to buy more towers, to kill more bugs. As dry as that sounds, this all happens at a breakneck speed, with funds always too limited and the bug swarms always on the brink of overwhelming.
In each map, players start out with access to a basic machine-gun tower. As funds increase, players may spend money researching many more powerful tower types, as well as upgrading current towers for increased firepower. Each tower type has its specialty, focusing on air- or ground-based targets, attacking groups or single enemies, or bolstering other towers. Towers may only be placed in limited areas of the maps, so players must carefully consider how best to arrange their defenses to blast the waves of enemies as they march toward their target. Should too many bugs get through to the home base, it’s time for a restart.
In an interesting twist to the tower defense genre, Savage Moon allows players to make a global change to all their towers on the fly. This setting allows players to concentrate on increasing cash rewards for bug kills, increasing damage of their towers, or increasing the tower’s durability. Since nothing is ever easy, choosing one of these settings lowers the other two. I would often find myself setting up for more cash on the early waves, and then toggling between attack and defense later, depending on the types of enemies currently swarming the map.
For a budget title, Savage Moon looks great. The controls are also very smooth and intuitive, allowing players to access the various menus easily, even when frantically dealing with an insect onslaught. The sounds of the little buggies going “squish” were fun at first, but after a while they grew a bit stale. As for difficulty, Savage Moon is just plain brutal. The first few levels are a nice, hand-held walk in the park, after which the game smacks players around for another ten or so maps. Several playthroughs are necessary for each level, so players can learn the attack patterns of the various waves. And the end-wave bosses are appropriately rough, often requiring several waves of preparation themselves. Of course, those preparation waves are the toughest of the level, meaning players must continue to hold off the hordes while frenetically attempting to hammer together a final defense (one that sometimes comes from a completely new spawn point on the map). This is not for the faint of heart, nor for those with little patience. Fans of the tower defense genre, or those wanting to check out what all the fuss is about, would do well to give this title a look. For a bargain price and a quick download, Savage Moon will leave players blasting those little buggies with glee.