The tower defense sections of the Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing series by NeocoreGames might not have been the main focus of the games, but they were certainly a lot of fun. Deathtrap however reverses the formula by making the tower defense the main focus of the game and then layering on all kinds of action RPG goodness to make it even better. The end result is a highly addictive title with plenty of depth that will keep fans of both genres hooked.
Deathtrap was initially released on Steam Early Access with only the single player mode, first three maps and map editor in place. In contrast to many Early Access titles we have seen where development slows to such a crawl that it sometimes seems as if the game has been abandoned, the development team behind Deathtrap has a well planned roadmap to which they are sticking. The game has already been updated with new character classes, a co-op multiplayer mode, leaderboards, crafting system and PvP multiplayer mode.
Although set in the same universe as the Van Helsing titles, Deathtrap is a completely stand-alone game where no prior knowledge is required to have fun. It follows the basic tower defense formula of placing traps to stop the waves of evil creatures that are hell-bent on reaching the gate that you are protecting. Traps require essence to build and the small amount that you start each level with is supplemented by killing the creatures. Traps come in the tower or ground variety and can either be magical or mechanical. You can also built creature traps which unleashes beasts to fight on your side. Although traps can only be built on pre-defined spots, which means you can’t lead the monsters on a merry chase around the level, the variety is impressive. Enemies will however deviate from their set paths if you attack them with your character and the game doesn’t shy away from the blood or gore when it comes to the gruesome nature of the traps.
While the large, varied maps and beautiful visuals are certainly impressive it is the amount of detail that has gone into the game that really sets it apart from other titles in the genre. Even in this Early Access stage of development it is clear to see that NeocoreGames isn’t simply treating Deathtrap as a quick Van Helsing spin-off. The three character classes, mercenary, sorceress and marksman each comes with fifty unique skills and 100 levels of character development. Thanks to their different skills and powers the three classes also play very differently which makes for even more variety. The game features 40 monster types, including some huge boss style monsters, and maps that can be explored for side quests or loot between waves. Add in the huge inventory of items you can find or craft and you are looking at a game that can suck up hours of your free time.
While the single player mode is fun, players who enjoy something a bit more social will appreciate the co-op and versus modes. Co-op has specially designed maps where players can work together and use the unique skills of their chosen class to assist each other. Versus on the other hand pits player against player with one given control of the attacking waves while the other prepares the traps and defenses. The ability of the attacker to possess any creature and then use their skills to boost friends or weaken foes is a highlight of this mode. Even the map editor is extremely easy to use and newcomers will have mastered the basics in a matter of minutes.
If this Early Access version is anything to go by the full version of Deathtrap is going to be a must have title for fans of the genre. The regular updates from the developers also mean that anyone opting for this version well already get their money’s worth. Seeing as how active the developers are on the forums and how well they are managing to stick to their roadmap gives us a lot of faith that they have every intention of making Deathtrap into a game that fans will love.