Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cursed Treasure 2 Review and Interview - FREE Tower Defense Meets RPG Web Game

Awesome, fun art right from the beginning!
Cursed Treasure 2 (with the awesome, impossible-to-resist-singing subtitle of 'Hey! Heroes! Leave us Gems Alone!') is a free Flash game that places you in the role of an evil overlord that must protect gems from the invading, annoying "good heroes" that always try to spoil a good/bad time. While the game is a Tower Defense game through and through, you gain experience after each level (whether you win or not!) that help you out, making the game great for both Tower Defense lovers AND RPG fans. I won't hesitate to say that I'm absolutely terrible at Tower Defense games myself, but I fell in love with the original Cursed Treasure. As soon as I heard the a sequel had released, I spent the next several nights absorbed in getting stars from levels, upgrading skills and annihilating do-gooders with unending fury!

Surely the first thing you'll notice in this game is the great artwork. The entire game takes on a whimsical, colorful-yet-dark art, and it carries over to the humor of the game and the "evilopedia" that keeps track of stats and info for everything in the game.

There's a LOT going on in this level, and it's only level 6!
While the game begins simply enough, you'll quickly run into nifty, unique challenges that challenge your strategies. For example, level 6 has a Gold Mine, a Town, a Castle, a Mana Pool and a Tavern. Altogether, it would take 23 Cut Out spells, but even with the proper skills mastered you can only use the Cut Out spell six times before enemies start rolling in. Will you destroy the Town so less enemies attack? Will you take out the Mana Pool and the Gold Mine so you can cast the spell more often in the future and earn more money, but have lots of enemies attack? Or you can take out the Tavern so that enemies will be slowed down as they pass instead of healed, making them easier to kill. I prefer to get more Mana and money so I can take the others out more quickly, but that might not work with your strategy. In fact, even going back to the level to master it and earn all three stars, my strategies changed from when I played it initially.

The skills trees are independent of one another, so you can 100% the Undead skills without even touching the others, for example. You'd be insane to do so, but you can!

You'll spend a good amount of time in the Skills section adding points to specific skills. Skills can make upgrading towers cheaper, let you start with extra money, make bonuses more likely and all sorts of other awesome stuff. You can also change where you have points placed at any time, which comes in very handy with later levels where some skills are more vital and others might be entirely useless. If you entirely max out your rank you'll be able to entirely max out your skills too!

And for those of you who love a challenge, each level has a Night Mission Mode as well, where you can only place towers within the ring of light that your gem base and other things under your control give off. Placing more towers means illuminating more area, but it can also mean wasting money building towers that can barely reach enemies just to get one situated just right.

The Interview!

Because I typically don't like Tower Defense games, yet absolutely couldn't get enough of this one, I just had to have a chat with Dmitry Pavlenko, CEO of IriySoft. Questions are in bold.

First things first... If you were stranded on a deserted island, somehow magically had electricity but couldn't use it to get home for some crazy reason, and could choose any three games from any video game systems to play for the rest of your life, what games would you choose?

First of all I don't play much... I mean I play Flash and mobile games a lot but unfortunately I have no time for big PC or console titles. Alright, my choice is: Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS), Fallout 3 (PC) and... probably it will be Starcraft 2 (PC), I bought Wings Of Liberty long time ago but didn't launch it yet - being on a deserted island can give me an opportunity to play it at last %)))

2. What gave you the idea to play as the bad guy in the game and have to fight away the "good heroes"?

We were looking for something that will let our game stand out from the crowd. I can't say it is an original idea - a lot of games let you play as a bad guy, but it was one of the features we came up with. Besides we are fans of Dungeon Keeper and the game name originally was Dungeon Master but then we found that there was a game with the same name already and renamed it.

3. What made you decide to make a Tower Defense game in the first place? Is there a particular game that inspired you to make one yourselves?
To be short: we made several tower defense games before and we wanted to reuse the code and experience in making this type of games. But the actual story is longer. In 2009 we noticed that you could sell your games pretty well if you make it by yourself and then sell it on Flashgamelicense (now We were working for hire these days so it was something new to us. We decided to try it. We wanted to make a couple of games which would reuse our existing code because we had to invest our time and we wanted to finish the games sooner so we made a tower defense game (Cursed Treasure) and a tilty bike game (Atom Heart). Additionally we made a physics puzzle a bit later - Aqua Dudes. Physics puzzles were really popular and at the same time really simple compared to what we have now so you could make a great hit in a week. Only Cursed Treasure was successful %)

4. All of the Cursed Treasure games, including the Level Pack, have over 4 stars on Kongregate. Apparently you've really done things right with them! What would you say gave your team the edge on making a fantastic series of Tower Defense games?

We played other TD games a lot and we were trying to find, what we dislike. For example, it was always strange to me, that the enemies just pass by and you lose. Why do you lose, what happens when they pass through and leave the screen? So we invented the gems and enemies stealing them :) We really invented them, but later we found a couple of existing games which had a similar idea... Another thing is that we were trying to invent something new, something that we haven't seen in other TD games. So we were talking a lot, we were brainstorming, arguing and later - testing the early builds and then brainstorming and arguing again %) It was fun and it is still fun since we do not plan to stop yet! And I must say thanks to our game designer who worked on Cursed Treasure a lot since the very beginning and spent a lot of time creating this game.

5. Some of the levels are absolutely crazy to try to 3 star; is it crazy to you to actually be able to see videos of people able to master them? How well do you and your team do when you play them

It's always fun to see how the players find new tactics to beat the game, but it's not crazy because we always test the games before launch. So every level can be won for sure :) The problem is: we are really good in our own games so we have to ask other people to test them. Sometimes we make mistakes - for example the latest levels of Cursed Treasure 2 were a bit too hard and luck based and we had to re-balance them according to players' feedback.

6. Are there any plans to release a level pack for Cursed Treasure 2 as well, or even a Cursed Treasure 3: Sha na na na, hey hey hey, leave my gems alone?
We plan to continue Cursed Treasure development for sure, but I don't know yet what it will be - level packs, or a new version, no plans yet. Right now we want to try and port the game to Apple devices and then probably to Android and then maybe Steam etc. etc. %)

7. Aside from the Cursed Treasure games that you've created, what game or games would you say are your favorites that you've created?
I like Takeover, we will definitely make a sequel, Band Of Heroes has a story and nice characters, Tequila Zombies series is great, we'll do more of it too. Stormy Castle is worth playing for sure.

8. It was great to be able to get some answers on such an awesome game! Any last words you'd like to leave us with?

Stay tuned, we are going to create more awesome games and we hope you will like them. And thanks for playing!

Available for: Web (free!)
Developed by: IriySoft

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