After the peaceful world of Taurea refused to sell weapons to the warmongering Imperion, they have come under attack by their relentless droid army. As commander, take control of the Prime Cannon and the Taureon droid army to liberate Taurea from the relentless Imperion.
- Play the campaign mode to fight to liberate Taurea from the Imperion
- Take control of the Prime Cannon tower to defeat your enemies
- Use ground and aerial units to strengthen your defenses
- Acquire resources to upgrade your tower and units
- Strategize and carefully choose which battles will give you the greatest advantage
OS: Microsoft Windows 7.1/8/8.1/10
Processor: Dual Core CPU
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: Graphics card with DX10 (shader model 4.0) capabilities
DirectX: Version 10
Storage: 3 GB available space
February 20, 2020
Taur is an indie tower defense game published by the one-person studio Echo Entertainment. It is the first game produced by the studio and boasts a unique artistic vision as well as a solid approach to traditional tower defense combat. That said, the game is equal parts a testament to the power and limitations of a single individual creating a game.
Violence: Friendly and enemy robots will leave little black pools of oil on the ground when destroyed.
Positive Themes: The campaign focuses on the theme of standing up to oppressive regimes and fighting for freedom.
What first stuck out to me when I started Taur was its unique art style. As you can see from the gameplay footage and screenshots, the buildings, units, and environments are all designed with in a minimalistic style. The flat textures and angular shapes are a callback to old strategy games and reminded me a lot of Space Invaders as well as the original StarCraft. The artistic vision for the game is evident and I wish more game developers would be this experimental in designing the look of their game.
The combat and research mechanics of Taur are very intuitive so long as the player pays attention to the tutorial notifications (which I did not early on, and it showed.) During combat, the player mainly uses the Prime Cannon to shoot enemy units while simultaneously building structures that provide extra turrets and produce friendly units. There is a fair amount of strategy that goes into choosing what structures and units will be the most useful for any given battle. It takes a fair amount of experimenting to figure out what works best for any given scenario, but I really enjoyed this aspect of the gameplay.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Taur is the variation in the types of battles you encounter in the campaign. “Invasion” battles are the most traditional as the enemy sends three waves of regular ground units at the player that generally move in a straight line from one location. “Air Assault” battles send a mass of enemy air units at the player. “Siege” battles send large tanks and mobile missile platforms at the player. Finally, “Skyfall” battles send regular ground units at the player from various locations in one massive wave. I personally enjoyed “Air Assault” battles the best as I loved watching dogfights happen between my aircraft and the enemy’s while I was essentially playing the role of an anti-aircraft gunner.
In my playthrough of Taur’s campaign, it took a fair amount for me to get used to aiming the Prime Cannon but I eventually found my rhythm. The Disintegrator is the weapon I used most often as it fires a constant stream of energy that does incremental damage to enemies even after you stop firing on them. I did have some issues getting used to sensitivity and experienced some lag, but adjusting the settings quickly fixed both issues. The game runs very smoothly overall and I never once experienced a game crash or freeze.
While the combat and strategy of individual battles may be fun, Taur’s biggest flaws lie in the overall structure of its campaign mode. I can safely say that Taur’s campaign is one of the strangest experiences I have had playing a campaign mode in any game. At first, the objective seems simple: take full control of Taurea by defeating the Imperion in battles. Engaging in a battle creates the passage of one day in the game. The bar at the top of the screen indicates what percentage of the planet is controlled by your forces and what is controlled by the Imperion. Naturally, I assumed that once I took 100% of the planet, I would beat the campaign. I took over 100% of the planet in about twelve days and was surprised to find that I was still having to fight battles.
I continued from this point to maintain my 100% control. Multiple times I would be beaten back and fight my way back to 100%, but still nothing would happen. Finally, I looked online to see what other players had encountered in their playthroughs to get answers.
It was through research online that I discovered that in order to beat the campaign, the player must survive until Day 50. On Day 50, the player is forced into a battle against the Overlord, a massive ship brimming with turrets and deployable units. If the player defeats the Overlord boss, then the campaign ends and the player wins. However, if the player fails to defeat the Overlord, then the campaign continues beyond Day 50 until the player survives another fifty days so that they can face the Overlord again.
In my playthrough of the game, I reached Day 50 and was thoroughly annihilated in the battle with the Overlord. In the lead-up to the final fight with the Overlord, the battles become increasingly difficult requiring the player to spend more resources in order to acquire new upgrades and replenish their lost forces. This is standard for most strategy game campaigns, but the problem is that the difficulty of each battle is incredibly inconsistent.
There would be many times where I would go on for ten days with consistent wins and then suddenly encounter a battle that destroyed a good chunk of the progress that I had made. The battle options are indicated with markers that show whether you will encounter “Light,” “Medium,” “Heavy”, “Massive,” or “Extreme” enemy resistance as a way to help the player gauge how much of a risk they ought to take. However, I often found myself in situations where I would breeze through an “Extreme” battle but take a hard loss in a “Light” battle. Again, the difficulty ratings for each battle feel arbitrary and inconsistent.
These inconsistent battles wore down my forces to the point where I couldn’t build a strong enough force to defeat the Overlord. After failing to defeat the Overlord, I was thrust into Day 51 and continued on from there. As I continued on, I came to the conclusion that I would not be able to build up a large enough force to defeat the Overlord now that the difficulty of each individual battle had become so high. I then decided to start the whole campaign over so that I could work my way up from the easy difficulty in the early battle so that I could beat Overlord. Overall, this made for a laborious and frustrating experience.
The confusing structure and repetitive nature of the campaign would not be so frustrating if Taur offered other game modes. Unfortunately, as of the time of this review, the campaign mode is the only mode offered to players. There is no mode that focuses on one single battle nor is there any form of multiplayer. The game has a solid foundation in its combat and seems ripe to be incorporated into different game modes. I do hope that in the future there will be updates for the game that will add new modes.
Overall, my experience with Taur was one of initial enjoyment and eventually monotony. The art design is unique, the combat is fun, and the strategy elements are strong in the beginning. However, the combat becomes very repetitive after the first few hours and the random difficulty spikes make the game’s campaign a frustrating experience. That being said, much credit is due to the creator for being able to craft such a solid artistic vision and gameplay foundation all on his own. It is also important to emphasize that this is the first game produced by Echo Entertainment and as such, it is a competent first-outing for the studio. I hope that Echo Entertainment continues to expand on Taur by building upon the foundation that has already been laid. I will also be looking forward to see what original titles Echo Entertainment produces in the future.