Day 162: Sol Survivor

Posted: 2011/04/20 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #162, and today’s game is “Sol Survivor”.

Anyone who knows me at all knows I’m a huge fan of Halo Wars. One of the more interesting elements of the game to me is that you select a leader character to play as in multiplayer, and that the strategies change dramatically depending on which character you choose. Sol Survivor does that as well, elevating it above most tower defence games in so doing. Add in some of the best graphics available in a downloading game on the Xbox (whether XBLIG or XBLA) and a ridiculous wealth of options, and Sol Survivor is a great buy both for tower defence fans and for people like me who have mostly stayed away from the genre until now.

First, from the developer (Cadenza Interactive):

“Sol Survivor: Defend the Sol Paragon colonists with an arsenal of turrets and orbital support abilities. Survive the Ascendancy onslaught on 20 maps across 4 planets. Compete online with up to 8 players in 4 modes, or play the campaign cooperatively with a friend. Use speed and strategy to survive! v1.3”

Like all tower defence games, you are facing a horde of shambling enemies working their way towards your base, and you set up an array of weapons to destroy them before they get there. The weapons auto-target the enemies, so the gameplay is in what weapons you use and how you let them out along the path of your enemies.

Some people like the charm of “Plants Vs. Zombies”, or of “South Park Let’s Go Tower Defence Play!”, but I’m a sucker for the hard science fiction setting of Sol Survivor complete with rail guns and the other trappings of modern pseudo-realistic SF. The presentation in general is very strong, not just the graphics but the audio. The entire package is very slickly delivered, and the plethora of options underscores that well. It supports one or two players per Xbox 360, system link for 2 to 8 players, custom soundtracks, co-op play for two players (in two distinct co-op modes), Xbox Live play for 2 to 8 players, and the whole experience is delivered in 1080p video.

Back to that Halo Wars comparison. You choose your second-in-command (XO, short for Executive Officer, in Sol Survivor parlance) from a group of 10 subordinates. Each XO has their own selection of turrets they can build, and a unique mix of “Support Functions” to augment them with. These upgrades include firebombs, homing missiles, an array of orbital bombardment options that you can call down on an enemy, increases to the fire rate of turrets, and even an upgrade that can cause enemies to briefly retreat, among other upgrades. This plays into the co-op mode of the game, such as in “Duo Campaign” where one player controls the turrets and the other the special abilities as they play through the story mode together (this mode supports online play, as a bonus). In Co-Op campaign, 3-4 players (depending on the map) play together against a huge horde of enemies. Again, locally or online. The game is also enjoyable as a singleplayer tower defence game, but is definitely at its best played multiplayer.

Sol Survivor has received strong post-release support, most recently upgraded to version 1.3. This was an 800 Microsoft Point game when it first came out, and had stayed grandfathered at that price for some time when the new pricing structure came out, but has been recently dropped to 400 MSP. It was worth 800 points, but is an even better deal at 400. This is without a doubt one of the most polished and complete games released on the XBLIG channel and anyone with even a passing interest in strategy games is well advised to check it out.

Click here to download “Sol Survivor”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.



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Comments
  1. David Loves Sandy says:

    This game is why I am reading your blogs. Thanks for introducing me to this game. I would have never found it had I not been reading these. This is the one of my favorite type of games to play. Reminds me of Defense Grid on XBLA with better graphics and strategy at a much better value at only 400 pts. (I paid 800 for Defense Grid and then some additional points for the expansion packs)

    • When you finally get caught up and you’re reading only one or two a day, it’ll be a shock to the system for you. ;) If you haven’t already, soon you’ll start hitting some of the interviews I’ve done and that will slow you down a bit. I plan to do more interviews, but I likely won’t do any over the summer as it’s my busy time at work and will be the toughest time of year for pounding out the reviews.

  2. I usually don’t like tower defence games and I’m terrible at strategy games, so I habitually avoid both. This looks like it might strike a playable balance for me though. Hmmm.

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