Ever fancied fighting spider robots in the deep recesses of space? Of course you have. Indeed, who hasn’t? Visit the darkest corners of the galaxy in this epic sci-fi tower defence experience. Final Horizon is a fast, strategic and engaging game. Brace your towers and brace yourself – the Swarm are coming.
If you’re a regular visitor to Punk and Lizard you’ll know we have played various builds of Final Horizon throughout its creation and have been privileged to get inside the heads of this rather special team over at Eiconic Games. These guys are no strangers to the PS Vita. Total Recoil was their first self-published full Vita release and they also developed PulzAR for Sony XDEV and self-published Total Recoil in Japan, which was a first for any UK indie company. In other words, we’re in good hands.
Your first visual encounter with Final Horizon is impressive. A staggeringly beautiful menu screen depicts the game’s epic outer space setting in gorgeous detail. Whether you’re playing on the Vita or PS4 you’re in for a treat. In-game graphics are bright, clear and perfect for the wonderful chaos about to unfold. Clarity is so important in games of this style, and the developers have done a stellar job of ensuring the graphics support and enhance gameplay.
Final Horizon is played out over 3 solar systems with 15 planets and over 50 levels throughout the galaxy with each moon offering different defensive challenges. Your task, as defender of all mankind (no pressure), is to defend the human colonists against an onslaught of rather nasty mechanical insects. You could try swatting these pests with a newspaper but instead of a dark splotch on your carpet you’re more likely to get a laser beam between the eyes. These hairy-legged Insectors are powerful and highly advanced. Some will scuttle across the moon’s surface to attack your towers from ground level while others will glide silently overhead. In later stages a further threat comes from below as burrowing Scarabs sneak up from the dusty moon’s core to bite you from behind.
Gameplay is nicely varied. Each level will give you a new mission and various optional submissions. Frantically defend radar stations and escape pods by building ground weaponry towers to blast away the alien attackers. Obviously it’s not going to be as simple as that. You’ll need to think strategically about which weapons to build and where to place them. Know your enemy and position a capable tower to take it out. You’ll require energy points in order to do that so build power generators that will periodically earn you the points you need to build, upgrade, combine and boost your weapons. You’ll only have a limited amount of ‘sockets’ to place units in so you’ll have to balance building more generators to earn energy points more quickly with the desperate need for weaponry towers to defend them and your poor little humans.
You will need to adopt swift strategies to cope with these challenges. This isn’t a build-it-and-leave-it sort of game. You’ll be swapping out units, repairing them, moving them about and selling them for cold hard energy points. Try building a colony of energy stations in the centre-most sockets to build up points more quickly. Surround them with weapon towers, upgrade them and when you’ve got plenty of points left, switch out all but one of the energy stations and replace them with enough fire power to swat every mechanical bug that dares crawl near your people. If you’re lucky you’ll earn the right to unleash killstreak abilities with a big bastard bomb or a switch of POV to 3D or top-down with the opportunity to line up your sights and directly blow those disgusting insectoids into hell. It’s fast, frenetic, break-a-sweat gameplay.
Eiconic Games has made all this touch screen for the Vita version. They want you to get close, explore and touch your way around. All actions can be carried out via button control instead and, don’t worry, there are no annoying back swiping controls. Eiconic know how we like our Vita games.
Although there is a lot to learn, Final Horizon eases you in with a series of VR tutorials that ensure you never feel overwhelmed. New tower and enemy units are carefully explained and demonstrated as the game progresses and you’re given the chance to practice within the game’s virtual reality environment before the real challenge is unleashed and you find yourself covered in creepy crawlies. Reaching the game’s climax and story end is unfortunately a fairly short task, but if you want to 100% every level and gain a coveted platinum trophy then the game offers a much longer and rewarding stay. To further your intergalactic holiday, a clever Score Challenge mode is included where you can modify health, speed and enemy spawn rate. This mode also comes complete with leaderboards. And finally, just to tease you, a DLC pack entitled Dark Galaxy is on the way.
Final Horizon delivers a well-balanced game that is careful to ensure you know exactly what you’re doing when the shit hits the fan. When this game reaches its stride, it becomes a high speed race to survive. Build, attack, repair, dismantle, switch-out, build, attack upgrade and boost – the Swarm are coming, and they’ll require more than a boot to crush them.
SJ Hollis/Blondlizard rating 9/10