Fortress

a game by Pipedream Interactive

Platform: GBA

Genre: Strategy/War

Overview

How fast can you build? Ever feel like the walls are coming down all around you? Then this is the game for you. Your mission is to build your fortress while under fire and then return the favor by firing back. You have a choice of four themes to play with: prehistoric, medieval, pirate, or space. Each has a different look, but all have the same goal: build while under fire and destroy your enemy. You can win in one of two ways. Destroy your opponent's fortress or be the first to reach the goal score. You get points for completing sections of your fortress or for destroying sections of your opponent's fortress. In a normal game you get extra help in the form of 'Twerps'? every 900 points, so stack up your walls and towers quickly. There is a time period for building at the beginning of the game but you will see how quickly this time runs out the first time you play. Once time runs out you must keep building but now you have to do it under fire. You will get both offensive and defensive Twerps, which are the only way to repair damaged sections of your fortress and the best way to inflict damage on your opponent's fortress. There are other stationary weapons that will drop and you can place them but they do not do as much damage as a Twerp.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

The game is very straightforward. You use the 'A'? and 'B' keys to rotate the pieces and the arrow keys to move side to side and to drop the piece quicker so the next piece will show up. This game will definitely be easier to master if you remember your Tetris skills. Just like Tetris (with some extra cool shapes you always wished Tetris had), you must fill in block groups to get them for form into wall and tower parts of your fortress. You may need to remove the top three rows of your fortress (by pressing the Left button) if things are getting messy or you do not have anywhere else to build. Do this only as a last resort, because your opponent will benefit as if he destroyed those sections himself. Time is everything in this game, so use the up arrow as much as possible and drop those pieces as quickly as you can. Like Tetris, the down arrow will accelerate the drop of a piece but the up arrow will drop it the quickest of all. Once you get used to this you will see how much your game improves. You get bonus scores for making a Wizard's Tower. This is done by getting a tower built three blocks wide by eight blocks high. There cannot be any extra pieces in the Wizard's Tower, so build smart. This is not that hard but it does take some planning and some time.

Multiplayer

This is the second Game Boy Advance game I've played that has a multiplayer option. Now all I need is someone with a GBA and a copy of Fortress to go head-to-head with me. The description of the multiplayer version in the manual seems like this would be the best way to play the game. While I am thrilled that Fortress has any sort of multiplayer option, I would have liked to have seen an option for two players to play using only one copy of the game. This would have allowed me to try the multiplayer option, since I have a friend or two with GBA systems, but neither of them has this title yet. I hope to convince them to add the game to their collections.

Graphics

The graphics are fun. The overall look of the game could have been a bit lighter -- you will need to play this game with a good light source. However, the colors are rich and the movement is nice; the cartoon look will appeal to both kids and adults. The animation is nice on the Wizard Twerps with nice movement and texture. The regular Twerps are a bit small and are often lost in the movement of the game. Thank goodness they work all on their own, so you do not have to worry much about what they are doing, just that they survive the next attack.

Audio

The sounds in this game are fun and can help you succeed as there are special sounds for each thing you do. You will get used to hearing sounds and knowing that something is about to happen or that it just did happen. I did not see any options for changing or turning off the sound but if you do not like the sound you can always turn the volume down. I think the audio adds nicely to the game and will improve your chances for success.

Documentation

Although the book looks the standard size for a GBA game, it is packed with useful information -- I would not attempt to play this game without reading the book first. The beginning can be glanced over for gaining information on what controls to use and how they work in the game. The middle section shows you how to get those all important Twerps and explains in more detail how to use them. The last section is the most important to read. If you only glance through the rest, read the 'Tips'? section in its entirety. There you will find the basics of strategy that will be required for your success and fun. Read The Book! You will thank me after you win your first game.

Bottom Line

I love puzzle games. I love war games. This combines both into a fun, fast paced and challenging game all in one. It has been a long time since I found a puzzle game this fun and sometimes frustrating (in a good way) to play. I especially enjoyed the medieval scenario -- I've always been a sucker for knights, castles, and dragons. I would recommend this to any and all players. It is rated 'E'? for everyone and that is exactly who should play this game: everyone! One other thing that I feel I must warn you about, it is extremely addictive. Great game, Score 91, good job Majesco.

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