McDROID sees you crash landing on a hostile planet with aggressive worm-like creatures roaming its plains. With most of your resources depleted upon landing, you quickly find yourself outnumbered and yet, you’re never outgunned thanks to your charismatic ship who tells you to grow the only fuel source available... strawberries (yes, you read that correctly). This fruit is your ship's main source of fuel and the only way to create more turrets and weaponry against the growing worm horde!
I was pleasantly surprised by McDROID's complexity. The first few levels are mostly tutorials which slowly explain the game's main mechanics; introducing you to the worm invaders and new unlockable equipment that can be found in hidden chests located around certain stages that reveal new blueprints to unlock new weapons and items. These worms will burrow out of the ground after a short amount of time (which is indicated by a timer) and head towards your spaceship to destroy it, resulting in a game over.
After the initial opening segment, you're shown to the main hub world which will gradually expand as you unlock more levels throughout your adventure. This reveals a winding yellow-brick road which will fork off in branching paths and additional challenge stages, adding extra replayability and the chance to unlock diamonds which allow you to upgrade your existing equipment.
Each stage see’s you landing on the surface within an enclosed arena and having a few minutes to prepare your defences. You’ll set up turrets and secondary items that will assist you during each wave. However, there’s a little more to it than just that; you’ll need to control McDROID to gather green seeds and plant them in the ground in certain patches of soil. Over time, they will grow, producing strawberries that you can then collect and return to your ship, allowing you to purchase more turrets. You'll also be able to upgrade your secondary items, such as: improved armour, a helper robot called The Doll which can walk around the arena and gather resources and plants that can improve your weapons effectiveness, bless the ground which keeps away corruption which can be spread by fallen enemies and larva.
While placing turrets, building up your fortifications is your top priority. You can also place hold turrets above McDROID’s head for some extra firepower, allowing you to become a moving turret. This is especially handy when enemies start using spawn points, meaning that you’ll need to leave the safety of your ship and fight out in the open spaces.
McDROID has a colourful, lively aesthetic and the interface is simple to use once you get the hang of the game’s intricacies. I found that repeat plays on previous stages and challenge stages helped me to understand the game’s mechanics better, as well as what each turret was capable of. There are also additional items to customise McDROID in the hub world, allowing him extra buffs in battle.
- Great depth of gameplay
- Tower defence with a twist
- Colourful aesthetics
I occasionally encountered some unexpected crashes during intense waves which was unfortunate as I had lost all of my progress for that current level.
The tutorials don’t give much time or detail on how to actually play the game; before I knew what I was doing, I was thrown into the deep end and I was expected to overcome huge hordes of enemies, which was quite overwhelming.
Difficulty spikes are frequent; this isn’t a game where you're going to sit back, set up a few turrets and watch the fire-works unfold like most tower defence titles. Your activity is involved in the whole process: farming, gathering, building and repairing bases, collecting items and constructing additional turrets - it can all get overwhelming very quickly and may put some people off.
The game’s wave indicators are quite small and sometimes, I thought I had more time than I actually did, leaving me open to an attack. While the controls are simple enough, the interface can become a little cluttered,which often made me miss out on certain aspects like weapon selection (as I didn’t know I could scroll up and down); it all came down to trail and error.
- Occasional game crashes
- Difficulty spikes
- Ambiguous tutorials, UI and visual indicators
Final Score: 7/10
Despite McDROID often being very overwhelming, it’s a double-edged sword; you’re either going to love the hectic nature (like I did) or you’re going to find the experience overwhelmingly difficult. However, I would recommend sticking with it as despite there being a lot to learn, the game soon becomes a blast with its intense exchanges from both sides. The extra challenge stages adds extra replayability, especially with the dreaded Nightmare difficulty. It’s not your traditional tower defence title; it’s different enough that someone looking for a different take on the genre will certainly get a unique experience out of it.
Thank you for checking out our McDROID Switch review, thank you to Elefantopia for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
- Andrew Caluzzi (Inca Studios / Camped Out)
- Bel Cubitt