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Game Info:

Onion Force
Developed By: Queen Bee Games
Published By: Throwback Entertainment
Released: Mar 2, 2016
Available On: Android, Windows
Genre: Action-Adventure, Tower Defense
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Single-Player
Price: $4.99 (Steam); $.99 (Google Play Store)

Thank you Queen Bee Games for sending us this game to review.

Mythology is rather interesting. So many stories can be told in such different ways. One story may be about a knight scaling a massive tower to save a princess; another story can be about gods and goddesses in a never ending struggle for power. Onion Force in particular is about a feeble group consisting of a fairy and three heroes tasked to save the last king from execution by the evil horde.

Onion Force is an action-adventure tower defense game where the simple goal is to prevent the ever-increasing wave of enemies laying a beatdown on the sole remaining king of the land. To accomplish that mission, one must make use of towers placed in specific spots to halt the progress of the horde. Money is acquired from killing enemies and used to buy more towers. Each level has seven waves and thirty levels in total. Levels contain 3 difficulties, but easy is the only difficulty unlocked for the selected stage until you complete it.

What separates Onion Force from other tower defense games is that you have full control of a character instead of the entire interface being manipulated by the mouse. Onion Force gives you three characters at your disposal: the Warrior, who is the sturdiest of the three; the Bowman, who uses quick-firing arrows to attack enemies; and the Wizard, who uses high-damage orbs to do area of effect damage. Since the Warrior does not have a ranged attack, he instead attacks by ramming himself into the enemies, bumper car style. This is the major reason why he has the most amount of health out of the classes. All characters can attack by ramming, but the Warrior takes the least amount of damage doing so.

Eight towers in total can be used, with two towers being unlocked from the start. More are earned as you progress through the worlds. Towers can range from a sniper tower that shoots quick-firing arrows, a barracks that sends in reinforcements to aid you, caltrops and tar towers that slow movement speed, and the expensive, yet highly damaging generators that shoot lightning. Each level, completed appropriately (which typically means do not let the king take too much damage), will earn you one star on easy, and up to two stars on medium and hard. These stars are used to upgrade towers, and towers can be upgraded up to level 5, which makes them more powerful and more expensive. Keep in mind that once a tower is placed, it cannot be removed. Some people may see this as a downside and others might see this as another layer of strategy as it really makes you think of where to place towers.

Onion Force
Highlights:

Strong Points: Fast-paced gameplay; multiple classes; charming art style.
Weak Points: UI has some issues; character balance is heavily in favor of the warrior class; stamina meter adds an unnecessary layer to the game
Moral Warnings: Some language uttered, such as b*st*rd and d*mn; the last levels in the game are clearly based on Hell — featuring pentagrams and raining blood; one class type is a wizard, as well as wizard enemies, skeletons, and demons; bloodshed when enemies are killed.

Onions act as another form of currency used to grant temporary power boosts during levels. Onions are found when breaking through the scenery, sometimes in treasure chests within the levels, can be potentially dropped by slain enemies, and sometimes given to you when a “perfect” level is achieved. Onions can enable such abilities like summoning tornadoes and gusts of wind to blow back enemies, or bombs and fireballs to deal large amounts of damage. Since onions can at times be hard to come across, it’s recommended to only use them when you really need to. The abilities are also a bit imbalanced as most abilities only activate when colliding into enemies, which the Bowman and the Wizard only rely on as a last resort.

Controls are rather simple. WASD is to move around, the left mouse button is to do certain actions such as attack, consume hearts, pause the game, or purchase towers, and the right mouse button is to speed up your movement as well as exit out of medical tents prematurely. The scroll wheel on the mouse can be used to zoom in or zoom out. The controller options are weird and awkward, as the character can only move with the D-pad and not the analog stick. The controller options seems to only exist just so that they can say they have functionality, so it’s recommended to stick with mouse and keyboard.

The gameplay can get rather intense as Onion Force doesn’t give you much room to relax and collect your thoughts between waves. Only seconds are given between each wave, while your fairy companion gives off some form of commentary, such as in a hint of an upcoming enemy or some lore about the world. Slamming into enemies is quite fun, and blasting enemies with projectiles is as well, and the little breaks between mean you have to quickly and constantly come up with new strategies, sometimes even on the fly.

One rather annoying quirk exists within. All characters use a stamina meter, but while the Warrior can still attack with no stamina (he just takes more damage), the Bowman and the Wizard are wholly reliant on using stamina for their attacks, which further adds to the imbalance of the classes. The only way to recover lost stamina is to either use a heart, or occupy a medical tent. With the way stamina works, the game itself feels entirely designed around the Warrior class while the others were afterthoughts. The other classes still manage to be fun, but in their own way, even if they are not as effective as the Warrior.

Onion Force
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 75%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 6.5/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 70%
Violence - 5/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 8.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 3.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Onion Force’s art style is very reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons, and seems to take inspiration from Warner Bros. cartoons as well as artists such as John Kricfalusi. The character designs are rather strange yet expressive, and may not appeal to everyone, but I found the style to be quite charming. The male characters have a silly cylinder shape reminiscent of cans. The enemy design has a surprising amount of detail put into the overall designs. Sound design is pretty standard. There are a handful of tracks within the game; I did find myself liking the last level's soundtrack more than the others.

Even though the graphical style is quite nice, many issues exist within the user interface as well as the resolution. The UI can get in the way of certain actions, especially on certain levels, and the fairy’s text box when she speaks also at times gets in the way when you’re trying to build a tower. Onion Force also only seems to have one resolution, so when the game is in full screen, it can look rather blurry. Neither options have ways to adjust or alter so in the end, you are sadly forced to deal with it. I think an option to make the UI see-through or change the size of it would have been a nice feature, especially in a genre where visual clarity is extremely important. Some of the scenery can also get in the way of vision.

At first, there isn’t much morally concerning in the game. There is some blood when enemies die, one of your playable classes is a wizard, and our fairy companion shows quite the amount of cleavage and leg. It’s better than the alternative as fairies in mythology were typically naked, or topless at the very most. As the game continues, more and more start to come to light. There are a few instances I noticed of the fairy character saying mild swears like d*mn and b*st*rd once. There could potentially be more, but truthfully, it’s kinda hard to pay complete attention to the dialogue and trying to set up for the next wave. Characters start to bleed more often and in larger quantities, skeletons and demons become more common enemy types, and the last area might be Hell, or at least the main villain hired Satan as his home designer. Because of this, there are pentagrams on some of the stones in the levels, and from what I believe also looks like something similar to the Eye of Providence.

Onion Force does have its share of issues, and some are rather annoying. Besides that, Onion Force manages to be a solid tower defense game. I wouldn’t recommend it to people new to the genre as it can get quite difficult in some spots, even on easy, and the flaws may turn newcomers away from the genre. People with experience in tower defense or strategy games can appreciate the strengths it brings to the table. For only $5 and three difficulty modes, its worth the purchase for any tower defense fan, as long as the fans in particular are of a double digit age.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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