Tower defense games are generally a genre of games I spend short bursts of time with. Having a roguelite tower defense game like Guardians of Holme was a fantastic idea to try out. I can spend short bursts of time, and have it help me unlock more things to make the next burst better than the last!
Game Name: Guardians of Holme
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)
Developer(s): MossTech Studio
Release Date: December 13th, 2023
Guardians of Holme’s premise is that the Demon King is sealed away by a legendary hero and the Royal City has pushed his forces away from civilization. One day, the Demon King’s forces return to try and release him from his seal. Your role is to create lines of defense for the Royal City as an artisan and cater your creations to destroy any demon before they can reach civilization. You do this by constantly finding new traps and utilizing them in a way that will protect civilization from the demon hordes.
There is a good variety of cards in Guardians of Holme. In this game, you start with a deck based on the character you choose and you get more cards as you advance in the maps. The basic cards are mainly arrows or darts that shoot enemies within its line of sight. Generally, they are an exact line. There are also spike traps, oil traps to slow enemies down, and floor panel traps that can paralyze and stun enemies. You can customize your deck pretty thoroughly with how often you get the choice to remove one or two cards from your deck on the track. I preferred the fire, acid, and machine gun cards.
Guardians of Holme lets you see the route that enemies will go in for that specific wave and you can alter that route by placing roadblocks in their path. In case the enemy’s route is too close for comfort, it adds another layer of customization that I appreciate. This helps you find the best places to utilize the trap cards you have in your hand. Having the x3 speed button is a godsend. Enemies go rather slow, at least in the beginning of waves, which can be nice if you need to set something up quickly but don’t want to pause the map to do it.
The design of the layouts of your HUD and maps are very intuitive. They are also really simple which helps quite a bit with figuring out what you need to do. I love the animations that help you see the traps activating and the death animations of enemies. A lot of effort was poured into some of the smallest aspects of this game to make it an aesthetically pleasing experience.
Roguelites are well known for being difficult in the beginning as you have to get situated with understanding the mechanics. Guardians of Holme is not like that, oddly enough. It takes a different approach: it starts easy. You have three maps to go down to complete your first burst period of this game. The first map didn’t take much effort at all to complete the full first map. I had a pretty bloated deck on my first playthrough and focused on just upgrading the same three cards so when I started the second map, I got hit by a rollercoaster of experiences. First off, I noticed that some of the boss enemies you find at the end of paths were immune to certain trap types and tiles. This made my fire trap useless on enemies that weren’t small. This did make me focus on the hook trap a bit more. The issue is that these enemies can just make your deck pretty useless if you focus on making a certain deck type.
There being a route that is displayed for the player that enemies take is a great choice to help you with figuring out what traps you need to place. That said, enemies don’t always take that route. If they can fly or move through certain obstacles, they will go in a different direction and you won’t be ready for it based on the limited information they give you on the enemy until they get launched during the waves.
This one is more preference than a bad thing outright, but I played most of my time on the Steam Deck. This felt like a handheld type of experience with short bursts. I was right, but it has issues with placing traps down due to how close it is to the bottom of the screen on Steam Deck. I used my hands to hold and drag traps but the icon is so small once you try to drop it anywhere you tend to place it a pixel off, which can ruin the placement.
Guardians of Holme is a fun time, though it can occasionally feel a little unfair. The narrative gets focused on the premise, but that’s it. The game loop is an important part of the game. If you like tower defense games and feeling power in control, then this is a solid title to get your hands on. The roguelite aspect adds replayability so you can have fun mixing and matching your decks to make different builds.
Guardians of Holme is available on PC.
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Guardians of Holme is a fun tower defense game worth the $13 if you are someone who likes the control aspect of the genre.
- Lots of card variety to build custom decks
- The user interface is clean and helps player understanding
- Good Steam Deck game
- Balance can be a bit jarring making certain bosses feel unfair
- Enemies can surprise you in waves
- Can feel a little too simple at times.