Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
It's like some kind of unspoken rule that floats through the universe: good guys build towers to the heavens, and bad guys build underground lairs that go down, down, down. Wicked Lair by Stefan Pratter is all about building a hideout that stretches down into the Earth's molten bowels.
If that's not enough of a hint, let's just say it outright: Wicked Lair casts players as a lair-loving bad guy. And that's OK, because foiling goodie-goods with a trapped underground hideout is as fun as it sounds.
Wicked Lair is a mash-up between tower defense and tower building. Players assume the role of a berobed baddie whose subterranean lair is under constant threat from heroes that don't know how to keep their noses in their own business.
The lair starts off with a single room that serves as a heart. If the heart falls, the game is over. Therefore, the player needs to build rooms in between the dungeon's entrance and the heart, because what kind of quest immediately funnels into the boss room? It's just not right.
There are several different rooms that can be built, and each one has its own traits. Forest rooms heal minions, the bandit camp produces gold, and the cursed tomb slows invading heroes down. In the same vein, each room spawns its own minions - including bears and wolves in the forest room, undead in the catacombs, and orcs and goblins in the citadel.
Each minion has its own skill set capable of slaying (or at least damaging) heroes. The player can also access spells that enchant rooms or summon powerful guardians. Interestingly, Wicked Lair lets players summon low-level minions for free right from the outset. Upgrading minions (or buying minions that are already upgraded) is what costs gold.
It doesn't pay to be a cheap Lord of Evil, however. As the minions slay heroes, said heroes come back stronger than before. They learn new spells and new skills. Before long, regular grey wolves don't cut it as guard dogs. It's dire, or it's nothing.
Wicked Lair offers lots of gameplay modes and options, and it carries a solid sense of humor (watching heroes burn while exclaiming "ow ow ow!" is fun for everyone - except the incinerated hero). That said, once the player is settled into a routine there's not much to do except a lot of watching. Moreover, playing the game on an iPhone is a bit headache-inducing thanks to all those tiny sprites.
Nevertheless, Wicked Lair is a unique tower defense game with some fun twists to the regular formula. Give it a try and make a paladin question his faith while he burns in a demon-induced inferno.