I got a chance to check out the new title by Nival, the company behind Prime World and King’s Bounty: Legions. Nival has always been successful with their innovative gameplay, and, once again, they don’t disappoint. Their new title takes place in the same universe as their previous game Prime World. Titled Prime World: Defenders, they created a classic tower defense game with an interesting new twist: a collectable card game.

While Prime World: Defenders captures all of the great gameplay elements of any tower defense game, it also includes a very strong storyline that follows the Prime World universe. Prime World is about a planet that is enveloped in a magic known as Prime. The world split into factions that evolved around the magic in different ways. One faction used it to build technology, and another learned to channel it into spells and more traditional magic. The storyline is very refreshing for any role-playing game fan, but isn’t intrusive if you want to just skip over it and enjoy a great tower defense title.

Most tower defense games are very simple. A large amount of them are even in browser or Flash style games. There is also a large mobile tower defense market.Capitalizing on the fact that this title is an installed game, the developers created a beautiful, high-poly, and immersive environment. This forces you to go into the game with an open mind because as soon as you see it you are willing to spend a few minutes digging a little deeper.

Towers holding back an army of baddies

The gameplay of this title is what makes it truly unique from other tower defense games. The actual placing of towers and waves of enemies don’t differ all that much from tower defenses that you are familiar with. The difference is in the way you power up and get stronger between levels. Every time you beat a level you are given random collectible card. These cards can then be used to gain spells, towers, and power-ups when you’re in missions. You can then combine these cards to increase the potential of your towers while you are defending.

One of the things that can get a little bit stale with tower defense games are the mediocre maps and levels. As soon as you spend too much time playing them, you tend to get a rhythm and the game seems to fall short. This is where Prime World: Defenders shines. The missions that you play are randomly generated. Although there are only a select number of maps, the missions will have different wave orders, power-up locations, and difficulties. Some of the maps have a mechanic that requires the enemies to path through them in both directions before they get out of the gauntlet you have built for them. Every so many missions you get to encounter a boss battle. The difficultly of these encounters vary wildly; they can prove to be either extremely easy or very hard.

All in all, the beautiful world and interesting tower defense and card game hybrid creates a gameplay that is unmatched by other tower defense games. The thing that truly sets Prime World: Defenders apart is the dynamic gameplay that creates more replay value than tower defenses are usually able to offer. Prime World: Defenders will come marching onto Steam May 21st.