Fortified Brings Sci-Fi Camp to Base Defense

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Fans of Mars Attacks! and Orcs Must Die!, and other things ending with exclamation points, will appreciate the campy sci-fi base defense game, Fortified.

I spoke to Clapfoot‘s Art Director Adam Garib at PAX 2014, about the studio’s 2015 3rd person base defense title, Fortified. I’d never heard of either the studio or the game, so I went in completely blind, and was pleasantly surprised at what I found. A 10-15 minute hands-on demo showcasing a single level and two of four planned classes showed off the hilarious 50’s sci-fi camp aesthetic, complete with building-sized robots and fanciful defense structures.

I’ve played a lot of Orcs Must Die!, so I was fairly well prepared for the challenge of the demo. I got to try out the Rocket Scientist class, equipped with a laser pistol and rocket launcher, as well as a number of defensive structures, namely a Turret, Tesla Coil wall trap, Inertial Dampener that slows alien movement, and good old-fashioned exploding barrels. The various structures and weapons don’t exactly bring anything new to the genre, but the Rocket Scientist also comes equipped with a jetpack of sorts, which allows you to fly – flight times are limited, but recharge quickly – offering the most mobility I’ve ever seen in the genre.

My partner in the co-op game, a member of the Clapfoot team, was on the other available class, Captain, which is more of a field commander than a solo-defender. The Captain has its own distinct structures, like sand bags, which can redirect the flow of invaders; Anti-Tank Gun, which shoots a high-powered shell in a straight line; and Soldiers, which deal low damage, but can be controlled by the Captain during a wave, allowing them to be called to a weak point in the defense at a moment’s notice.

Each of the four planned classes will have four weapons and 12 structures, all of which will be upgradeable. The Anti-Tank Gun, for example, can be modified to shoot in a cone, instead of a straight line. You’ll see familiar Cold War era weapons, as well as fantastic sci-fi weapons and structures, like the Rocket Scientist’s laser pistol and Tesla trap.

Fortified is in pre-alpha at the moment, and it was fairly obvious from the demo that there’s still plenty of work to do, but the team has apparently come this far in only a few months, and they have several more months before the anticipated Spring 2015 release on Xbox One and PC.

Despite how much fun the demo was, I’m still cautious in my optimism for the game’s potential. I only saw one map, and a plethora of different maps (and ideally modes) is imperative for this sort of game. We’ll see closer to the target launch whether the Clapfoot team can bring it all together and offer a robust base defense experience.

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