Review: 'Defenders of Ekron' (PS4)

Review: 'Defenders of Ekron' (PS4) CRUNCHYROLL

You know those top down flight shooters you often see in airports or car washes or in arcades way in the back? Those that are so generic and inoffensive that they sit there for a long time without much interaction? Defenders of Ekron reminded me of those games. Let's go point by point.

Even though this is a flying shoot' em up, there is a plot. Eneas is a space pilot (Of big mech-suit things, although I never thought of them anything but spacecraft). Something goes wrong during pilot school, but is given another assignment, something something bad guys, something something destroying a planet. The lines aren't spoken, and are only given with a face and what they're saying at the bottom like more old-school games, but since they come on many times when there's action, you really don't read. It wasn't the greatest of stories, but it propelled you going out and getting dangerous, so hey, it works. It's just really hard to care. It's like worrying about what the plot was of Pac-Man or Avatar. It's good guy v. bad guy.

Gameplay is like Asteroids given a mid-2000's face lift graphics-wise with hints of Space Invaders and other 'Things coming at you' genre games. The gameplay is pretty much in-line with the plot – not much to it, but it works. It's a job...done. I played through and I can't really give much more that sets it apart from the pack. It's an overhead view of the ship as you blow things up, there's upgrades, some strategy and a basic principle of kill everything in front of you. They have there own words for some things, like the upgrade system (Oxus?!), but essentially that's it.


Like I said in the previous paragraph, it's like an 80's game that was re-skinned in the 2000's and given some new bells and whistles. Enemy ships somehow look mid to late 90's graphically though. The backgrounds are vaguely planet-like and seem to have the Flintstones effect of the background looping around as you fly. Some of the artwork of the pilots or close-ups of the ships look great, but they're little pieces. It's not terrible graphics or visuals (some of the weapons do look stunning when deployed), but for every polished piece comes a graphic that looks like a placeholder they never got around to changing. And those mis-translations that pop up in dialogue don't really help.

Controls on the PS4 worked pretty great. There wasn't any delay in my actions, and like all good games, the controls only took a little bit to master where everything was and what did what. Controls were not really an issue, and in fact, worked great.

Sound and music were split: Sound was great. Ship noises to weapons to that computery sound when some transmissions popped up all worked together. Some sounds got tired after awhile (Like some of the lasers you shot, or the sound ships made as they blew up), but overall, job done. Music, on the other hand, was...odd. It was generic rock with a heavy emphasis on guitar. It sounded exactly what an 80's TV show that had a plane/helicopter in it would use. But as soon as you got into some of those good 'flying' riffs like, say, Top Gun would have, it immediately looped around. It didn't fit the game, while at the same time little bits did compliment it. Not as much as bad as it was a misfire.

There were a few bigger issues with the game. Some of the translations were a mess to figure out. Some of your abilities were timed weird, so that your shield could be up, but you pressed it too slow, and it wouldn't react fast enough. That's when you have the odd case of having a shield that bombs can go through. There were no frame rate problems, or any problems where it hurt the game too much, but there were several underlining problems.

Defenders of Ekron is a game that, while having some good parts, was mostly a disappointment. Playable, but makes you wanting it have more somehow. Looks decent, but needed some more polish. Had a story, but was too generic. To that end, it's a very safe game. It gets the basics down ok, but after that it can be anyones guess. Basic plot, basic gameplay etc. work, but expanding out from there brought it into trouble. If you're a fan of top down games you'll get kick out of it, but if you're looking for something with a little more oomph, Defenders of Ekron may not meet that.

Final Score: 5.5 out of 10

A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.

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