Let's face it, South Park hasn't exactly had a great track record with videogames. With the show now in its thirteenth season, there have been several games produced based on it, such as the first-person shooter South Park and South Park Rally. Unfortunately, none of them have ever been really that good, but that hasn't stopped South Park Let's Go Tower Defence Play! from giving it a shot nonetheless. The tower defence genre is a strange choice for a licensed game, but then again South Park has always been a show that's been hard to categorise, so maybe it's fitting that its games branch into weird genres. But will this game appeal to South Park fans, tower defence fans or both?
The plot of Let's Go Tower Defence Play! is pretty basic. Cartman notices that the town is under siege by a whole variety of his most hated enemies, such as Ginger Kids, Old People, Gnomes, Sixth Graders and Hippies. He warns Stan, Kyle and Kenny, who join him and together they try to stop the invading hordes from destroying the town. The story is conveyed through static art that seems to be a cross between an over-the-top anime and South Park's traditional style, and there are some funny moments thrown in here and there. You can also expect to see some of your favourite characters, including Butters, Timmy and Token.
As a tower defence game, the gameplay is completely centered around stopping waves of enemies from entering the town. There'll be several entry points for the enemies on the screen, as well as an exit point to the town which you must stop them from reaching. Enemies cannot walk on snow, so you can build snow walls to create paths which they must walk down, as well to trap them and direct them as you so choose. There are also a variety of turrets you can build, such as baseball-pitchers, laser beams and cherry bomb launchers, all of which can be upgraded into more powerful forms, and placed wherever there is snow.
You'll also be in control of one of the kids from South Park (Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny in the campaign, and others through unlocking), who you can move around the map while throwing and charge-throwing snowballs at enemies. Attacking enemies will build up the kids' special move bar, which allows them to create various helpful effects in battle. For instance, Cartman can create an explosive wave which severely damages all enemies, while Kyle can temporarily increase the attack power of all the kids. While the game starts off fairly easy, it can get very challenging, especially if you're not used to the tower defence genre. However, it's definitely not the most complex game out there, and most of the levels feel very samey, meaning that many players may get bored after a few missions, and will probably leave the game and come back to it later.
There are several modes to play through. There's the campaign, as well as several unlockable challenges. The game can also be played in any of the modes with up to four players online. In single-player, you'll have to switch between all four kids by yourself, but in multiplayer each player is assigned one particular kid. There's also a wealth of content to unlock in the game's 'scrapbook', including details about all the enemy types and characters, and a whole lot of clips from the show's many episodes. While fans of the show, who will probably be the ones buying this game, will have already seen these clips, they're nonetheless a pretty funny selection.
The game's presentation is pretty basic, but then again, it's South Park, and in that respect the in-game graphics look essentially identical to the show. All the characters and locations look like cut-out paper, although they can still pull off some pretty gory effects when enemies blow up or rip themselves in half. There are also some basic special effects with blood splatters and explosions. There's a lot of in-game chatter from all the characters, mostly sampled from episodes, although Matt Stone and Trey Parker do return to voice new dialogue for the game's cutscenes. The dialogue is also all uncut, which means that there'll be plenty of f-bombs flying alongside lasers and baseballs.
South Park Let's Go Tower Defence Play! is a solid and challenging tower defence game, that's got much of the show's humour. For those experienced in the genre, the game will offer little that's new, but for South Park fans it's definitely worth checking out. It's perhaps not something you'll play for hours on end, but the strategic gameplay and humourous lines will definitely keep you coming back from time to time for a quick fix, and the unlockable content is a nice bonus as well.