We all know how tower defense games go. Build up your defense, fend off the enemy, rinse, repeat until you win the level. What if you decided to throw a twist into that formula? A twist that looked like a big, green troll.
One Troll Army puts you into the role of a troll who was ever-so-rudely awakened by some goblins looking for an answer to nomads trying to invade their home. They ask you, the troll, to help them in return for letting you sleep as much as you want when everything is all said and done. While you could just eat them all and be done with it, you decide to be a nice troll and lend some goblins a hand.
At it’s core, One Troll Army is definitely a tower defense game. Between the waves of enemies, you’ll need to organize your goblins to perform various tasks such as building, harvesting materials, repairing your village, and looting enemy corpses. This will aid you in building up your defense even further, aiding you in handling the tougher waves of enemies. When the evil nomads come to attack, the goblins will run into hiding, leaving you out there to fend off the invaders.
The troll’s combat feels extremely stiff. Perhaps a result of playing on the controller, but I often found myself not going quite where I wanted to go, leading to taking a lot of unneeded hits. The skills that you are able to slowly purchase over time can help with taking down the enemies, but I also often found myself not being able to land them as I’d like. I’m not sure if this would have been easier to accomplish on mouse, but seeing as they are all clicked skills, it still seems like it’d end up being a bit awkward to actually pull off.
One thing that really annoyed me about One Troll Army is the way in which difficulty scales. As you win levels the difficulty will quickly ramp up faster than you are able to build up your defenses. Luckily there isn’t really a punishment for losing other than losing any loot you may have earned off the bodies. In fact, losing actually helps drop the difficulty considerably. This puts you in a situation of wanting to lose more so that you’re able to actually maintain a balance of getting building done. Unfortunately, to me anyways, this feels more like poor game design in which you get more heavily punished for trying to actually do well.
When you complete a wave, you’ll be able to assign goblins with the task of looting the bodies of the enemies. Unfortunately, these bodies like to vanish faster than you can actually loot them. The troll does eventually get an ability to loot the corpses… if you can actually aim it properly. Whenever I tried to do it on controller, the troll would constantly move himself to face a direction that definitely didn’t have a corpse in it, resulting in looting nothing at all.
When I first launched OTA, I found that the controls were generally pretty smooth. Well, there was (and still is) the issue that the game never remembers that I told it I wanted to use gamepad and constantly unchecks that box. Somehow after an update or two this changed for the worse. The first change was the addition of locking the mouse to within the window with no way to turn it off. The second was making controlling the game with a controller absolutely awful.
For some reason, after a patch or two, the game made it so that your cursor from your controller will stay on the menu option you last used. If you’re trying to do things fast (for example, to fight and manage mercenaries at the same time), this will cause those windows to constantly pop up instead of actually letting you get fighting done. Often times between rounds after you’ve done your managing of your goblins and your buildings, the camera will get stuck in place, and the best way I found to fix it was by using the mouse.
One Troll Army does have potential to be an interesting take on tower defense games, but I kept running into issue after issue while playing it. The fact that one of the best ways to advance is to just keep losing is disappointing. The fact the game remembers what wave you were on with a previous map and carries that over to the next map is also quite frustrating, since none of your building upgrades carry over (troll upgrades do). I enjoyed the game for about the first 20 minutes, and before quite a few patches happened that kept breaking things or added frustrating elements. The game is worth giving a shot since it is free-to-play, but be warned that you may run into quite a few issues in your time playing it.
One Troll Army Review Score
I was provided a key for reviewing purposes.