Robot Entertainment’s orc-murdering simulator is back and after a brief period in the clouds, it’s finally on consoles.
I’m a big fan of Orcs Must Die! 3. I was one of the people who bought into Stadia’s vision early on, controller and all, Orcs Must Die! 3’s blend of tower defence and action hooked me in and kept the Stadia controller in my hands for a long time. I must have played that game daily for a good three months before finally moving on.
Well, now I’m back on the wagon and it feels great to be playing on a local console. Not that it was ever terrible on Stadia – it’s damn impressive – but there’s the comfort of knowing that it’s just going to work right out of the box every time on console that made it an easy purchase for me. Yeah, despite already owning the game on Stadia, I’ve bought it again for PS4. No regrets.
Release Date: July 23rd, 2021
Developer: Robot Entertainment
Publisher: Robot Entertainment
Availability: PSN (Digital)
Orcs Must Die! 3 is a tower defence game with an action twist. You have a magic portal rit that can only let in a certain number of orcs before you lose and have to try again. Your job is to defend the rift by placing an assortment of deadly traps around the map to help you keep the green buggers at bay. You can also use a variety of weapons, ranging from a blunderbuss shotgun – my preferred weapon – to magical staffs and swords.
The new release on console has brought with it all the prior content updates and then some. There’s the enjoyable story mode with its 18 challenging levels. Then there’s the side story mode which is unlocked after beating the main story. You also get the new Scramble mode, which I didn’t really care for. And finally, the game’s biggest time killer: Endless mode. It’s here where I’ve spent most of my time slaying thousands of orcs.
The game’s beauty is in its simplicity. The maps from the early levels of the campaign are fairly straightforward. Maybe the orc army only approaches from one direction, or two directions, but down one single path to your base. Cool. Just place all your traps accordingly and watch them fall face-first into your poison goo and metal spikes.
Later stages up the ante and work as puzzles by increasing the possible routes to your rift, upping the challenge and forcing decisions from you. Do you carry on setting your traps down both lanes to your rift, or do you block one route with barriers and force the whole army down one narrow path. If you can put a decent killbox together with enough traps, this might work. Lay too few and you’ll be smashing your triggers to try to stem the flow of orcs piling into your rift. You’ll lose.
I love this dynamic challenge that comes with each level, though I did find I would fall into a trap of my own: comfort and familiarity. I’d get so set in my ways and so used to using my favourite traps and weapons that I would overlook useful new additions, just because I didn’t want to try a change. But change is good and it’ll help get through some of the trickier levels in the campaign, as well as getting you further in Endless mode.
There’s a nice reward and progression system in Orcs Must Die! 3. At the end of each level, you’re rewarded with skulls and you can spend these on new traps and weapons, as well as upgrades for both. Going back to earlier story mode levels to farm skulls is nothing to be ashamed of, and I think it’s necessary, actually, if you want to get the best stuff. It’s also handy for getting the game’s platinum trophy.
I played some story missions several times just for the hell of it, and these were the War Scenarios. These are big scale battles where the game gives you a ton of points to spend on setting up traps before throwing hundreds upon hundreds of enemies in your direction. Thousands of orcs will pour from one end of the map and travel toward your rift, and the fun here is in playing the role of the tactician. Placing special traps at key points in the pathway, as well as blocking off certain routes, is the key to success and I loved trying to find new ways of holding off the orc army.
There just aren’t enough good tower defence games on console, but I’m glad that Orcs Must Die! 3 has finally landed to stake its claim. Now, let’s hope Orcs Must Die! 4 doesn’t take the best part of a decade to get made…
Orcs Must Die! 3 PS5, PS4 Review
Overall - Must Play - 9/10
Orcs Must Die! 3 is a must-play game if you have any passing interest in tower defence games. The content on offer is fantastic value and there’s nothing else quite like it on console.
- Great value – lots of content, including a secondary story mode, endless mode, and more
- Looks great and runs super smooth
- Rewarding progression loop with every trap and weapon being upgradable
- Split-screen would have been the cherry on the top
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game bought at the expense of the reviewer. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PS5.