Sanctum 2 is way better than Sanctum 1 was. I remember vaguely playing the first game, unbalanced weapons and towers against quickly impossible missions, things of the sort. This second game adds much to discover with level-gated weapons, towers and perks to equip to different characters in order to blend the genres of tower defense and first person shooting once again. I'm a big tower defense fan!

This game is not without flaws, as it withholds too much information for my taste. You're never shown any statistic of any enemy you encounter, but what's worse is that you're only shown icons of them before fights, which can lead you to be confused as to what's going to happen. Regardless, the game will happily show you fake paths that enemies won't take if they're flying or if they're bosses that destroy towers in front of them, so be careful of what's coming next! The enemy variety is otherwise reminiscent of Sanctum 1, but made a bit fresher with the addition of multiple enemy types. My favorites are probably Soakers - balloon-like enemies that just take more and more damage as you shoot them. But you'd better be mindful of Mutators - enemies that boost other enemies, and other flying/crushing foes.

The goal of the game is to prevent these enemies from reaching a big glowing orb on the map. Some maps are simpler than others, some have weird geometry. I have to say that I'm not a big fan of the movement, falling into bottomless pits is surprisingly easy on some stages while others have weird jump pads and things of the sort. One character can double-jump, but that's about it. You have to build mazes of blocks and put towers on these blocks so the enemies take the longest time possible to get to the end of the maze and they die to the towers while they navigate it. You have four tower slots that you unlock through the game, from long-range but slow sniper towers to machineguns and missile pods, some work better against certain enemy types than others. There are plenty of towers to unlock and while I find some simply useless (towers that drop mines for you to pick up and set, for instance) it does offer a vast deal of customization based on your play style.

As for the guns, the choice is a bit less vast - although there are still a bunch to unlock - and each character has their own special gun that you can't switch. All guns also have alt-fire modes. The assault rifle shoots grenades, the shotgun charges up shots, the rocket launcher throws time bombs. I'd assume the gun choice is mostly one of preference, if you like going up close, the shotgun is a good bet, otherwise you can also snipe or shoot bouncing lightning. My only issue with guns is the reloading system. Since you can equip two guns at once, when you're done shooting with one, you can switch to the other manually, so you alternate between your weapons instead of stopping completely to reload. That being said, if you switch guns with one bullet left and switch back, it wont have reloaded. If you do that twice, you'll have two useless guns, it's kinda annoying.

Finally, the perks. They also offer many different options to customize your character and my three favorite ones so far are chain lightning, exploding enemies and double damage each 3rd shot. There are plenty of perks, from regenerating the orb to shooting lightning to nearby enemies, improving your movement speed or turn off critical hits for a 40% damage bonus. You'll need these perks as the game is quite difficult, if enemies get in your face and start to melee you, it's hard to get away, also you don't have a life bar, the screen gets covered with strawberries as you take damage. I wish it'd be clearer. You can also hurt yourself by calling a tower where you're standing. Fun times.

I'm having a great time with Sanctum 2. I hope I manage to unlock most of the stuff and I hope it gives me plenty of other options that I'd like to use for my characters. But even with only what I've played so far - up to level 15 - I'm really enjoying this.

AuthorJérémie Tessier