Trolls vs. Vikings seems familiar.
“This looks like Plants vs. Zombies,” Thomas Sorensen, lead designer at Megapop games, said. “That’s the elephant in the room.”
Aesthetically, mechanically and tonally, the Norwegian developer’s upcoming tower defense title definitely nods toward the critically acclaimed Plants vs. Zombies of the same genre.
The developers at Megapop are well aware of this. It drives design throughout the creation process. Sorensen demonstrated how the current towers and level layouts work, how the defending Trolls –– commonly mistaken for malevolent beings –– fight off the infringing Viking invaders.
Parodied Norse mythology and quirky humor aside, Trolls vs. Vikings is taking itself seriously. And it seems to be working.
There’s a balance to the towers and offensive enemy units. Megapop is still early in the development process, but the title is refined, save a few hiccups here and there.
Sorensen slides his fingers across the patch of grass under contention. Patches of snow are scattered across the field, hinting at the seasons mechanic Megapop are using to vary gameplay conceits from level to level. Freezing winter climes might freeze towers, but crashing lightning in the fall is an immediate threat as well. Both require quick player taps to eradicate. Defense is designed with these variations in mind, lending environmental tactics to Trolls vs. Vikings as well as unit interaction.
“I think one of the things in the tower defense genre that they don’t do enough, is they don’t use the touch-based interface,” Sorensen said. “[We’re] going to have a lot more reaction-based gameplay.”
Trolls vs. Vikings has an unannounced release date, but Megapop is aiming to complete it before the end of 2013.