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When Orcs Attack

(13 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
Comments (38) | Views (4,984)
Patrickwhenorcsattack2.jpgWhen Orcs Attack is a tower defense game that towers over other tower defense titles. The first game made by Mr. Joy (a.k.a. John Frisby, WOA, pronounced "whoa!") uses the powerful Unity engine to give you 3D characters and particle effects right in your browser window. Not only does When Orcs Attack play smoothly, but this is a huge technical step-up for web games.

The basic gameplay is like other TD games: lay down towers to take out swarms of enemies before they get from point A to point B. Just click an icon to select a tower, click somewhere to build it, then watch the fireworks ensue. The genius of When Orcs Attack is that the interface is simple to start with but offers lots of power to players who want to use it. You can set how towers prioritize targets, cast spells like Teleport which sends enemies back to the start, upgrade and sell towers, and lay down walls in clever patterns. The ability to alter the maze gives When Orcs Attack more tactical depth than most tower defense games out there. When Orcs Attack carries its tongue-in-cheek theme of justification well, complete with a theme song that makes you think of a Fox reality program.

Analysis: Replete with several modes, including crossroads (two armies to contend with), capture the flag, pachinko, as well as the classic maze defense, When Orcs Attack is an homage to the genre itself. It's a nice complement to Immortal Defense, which gave TD games a philosophical slant. When Orcs Attack justifies the genre with a self-consciously simple premise and fleshes it out with a so-generic-it's-sweet aesthetic. All in your browser window, which I'm tempted to say trumps any artistic factors. Tower Defense fans, here is your dulce de leche.

Play When Orcs Attack

Note: When Orcs Attack requires a plug-in in order to run in-browser, kind of a hassle, but I recommend you make the jump. There's also a download if you want full-screen. The game is open to design adjustments based on the data that John logs from people playing, and improvements will be made into the future.

The download version of the game is a time-limited demo of a full version that goes for $24.95.


The plugin is causing my browser to crash when I try to open the page the game is on. Its happens with FF and IE.


Actually, you don't need to download it for full screen, you just need to right-click and click 'go fullscreen' and to get out just push the escape button on your keyboard.

As for the game, i think it kind of runs slowly, compared to his other games. Either its supposed to run slowly, or i think its maybe the unity application... *shrugs*

All in all i think this game is fun, though ive only tried the open warfare. i think this game will keep me busy for awhile :)


I too cannot get the game to work. I downloaded the plugin and it causes firefox on my mac to crash.


I just downloaded the Unity plug-in and installed it on my Mac Pro running Mac OS 10.5.1. The game ran fine in Camino (1.5.2), Firefox ( and Opera (9.22), but it crashed Safari (3.0.4).

I especially like the 3D view when you first click start and the camera zooms down into the action briefly. Does anyone know if you can zoom in like that during game play?


Thanks for writing this one up, Jay! Pretty enjoyable so far; I'm not a TD pro, so I'm just on the second difficulty level right now. Initial impressions...

Radiation towers are a great start, complemented by arrow towers.
The second-highest arrow tower upgrade is devastating.
Walls are worthless (at least, on the lowest two difficulties!)

The ability to shape paths with towers is quite nice, so I'm going to see just how much I can manually advance to the next wave and reap a juicy score bonus!


Everyone, I'm the QA Director for Unity, which powers When Orcs Attack. We obviously want to make sure When Orcs Attack doesn't crash for anyone. I humbly request that everyone who experiences a crash -- please submit the crash information in the reporter that automatically appears. Thanks so much!

Sam Kalman -- Director of Quality Assurance
Unity Technologies ApS


Actually Cyranix, this review is by good ole Patrick.
But it is Jay's birthday today :D


This is at least the eighteenth "Tower Defense" game made for the web, but it is only the SECOND game that allows you to actually build the path the enemies take using the towers. That is the element that set Desktop TD so far ahead of other TD games, and I'm relieved that someone finally figured out why Desktop TD was so much more popular than the others.


Hi Sam,

When Safari crashed, there was no reporter that automatically appeared. Do we need to configure the plug-in for that behavior? I'd be happy to run it again and report the issue to you.


Oops, sorry Patrick -- I linked in from my RSS feed and neglected the reviewer picture. Good job on you! And happy birthday to Jay! (And thanks Harukio!)

Time to get started on Hard...



Hmm the reporter should pop up automatically, so it's unusual that it did not. For anyone that experiences a crash _without_ a reporter appearing, please email information about the bug to [email protected]

Please include:
Processor type
Video card model
OS version
Browser version

That will help us out the best. Thanks!


At least you guys get a proper crash. The only thing I've got out of Unity Player so far is the rather vague message "Error launching Unity Player". It advises me to install the player manually, which I've done a few times. Pity, because the game looks like a good one.

I've tried IE6 and Firefox, both were closed when I ran the installation.

CountZero December 3, 2007 6:47 AM

technically the game aint free. if you download the full screen version you only get 60 minutes without the nedd to register


Hmm the reporter should pop up automatically

I imagine many users run pop-up blockers which will prevent this from working. (I realise you're using a popup for legitimate reasons, but virtually all popups are unwelcome.)


You might like to note in the review, that the downloadable version is 60 minute play only.


Thanks Harukio, Cyranix, you're welcome.


I like the open warfare where you can define the path of the enemies. I've come up with an awesome wall strategy that has won me 2 perfect games (no lives lost) on hard mode (highest score so far: 267942).

Build a wall around the exit so that it's like a triangle whose apex is at the center of the field (pointing to the entrance point of the field) but only connect one leg of the triangle to the exit so that it's a solid wall there. On the other leg, leave one space open right by the exit. This will herd enemies toward that one open space. Once most enemies are really close to the exit, remove the wall closest to the exit on the other leg of the triangle and put a wall in the gap where the enemies were heading for before.

This will force the enemies to go all the way to the other side of the field since that's the only way to get to the exit now. If you have good tower placement in the center of the field, they'll have to pass through that gauntlet again. Once they get to the other side, repeat the process (remove the wall on the opposite side of the field and block off the exit on the side the enemies are on). Keep going and going.

Complement with fog so that they stay in your hotzone longer, and use teleport if a few enemies don't follow the herd.

Radiation towers are good in my strategy because it keeps a lot of enemies close together.


I see an option for '10,000 Gold' in some of the screenshots. Sounds like a sandbox mode that I was wishing for when playing the web version last night. Is that an option that is only available in the downloadable version? Fun game...very nice TD variant!

LSN, I'll have to try your tactic, or a variant thereof.


LSN, that strategy is called "juggling" and is a favorite of the players of Desktop TD.

Some Tower Defense enthusiasts consider it a form of cheating, which might be the only really plausible reason that other TD games don't allow you to shape the path with the towers (that and pure laziness on the part of the programmers).


Heh. That's what I get for not playing Desktop TD when it came out.

Only allowing building between waves would make that strategy impossible wouldn't it? But then the "real-time" feel of it would be diminished I guess.


This looks like a really fun game, but I'm having some problems. The game doesn't crash at all, but I can't place any towers. I can select them from the menu, but no amount of clicking will put the tower on the ground. Any ideas?


I am playing the web version. Does anyone know if the download has survival mode? Most waves stop at 40 unless your on insane difficulty lvl 75. I find it hard to max out the towers before the game is over.. Perfect game but could be more addicting to keep you going. :)

Dargonxtc December 3, 2007 4:42 PM

They need to give you a just little more gold imo.

Has anyone beat the maze homage yet? I am having trouble with that one. Playing the web version.

Also, is there any big difference between the two?


I just tried the hardest of the three CTF modes ("Gra'em"), and it was quite a challenge, though I managed to beat all 76 levels. Since you don't have much room to place useful towers, you get/have to see a lot of high-level upgrades instead. The real trick, ultimately, was the Lure spell; with a complex little maze, it forces the entire line to traipse on back through, since everyone else follows the flag-holder.

Final score: 390296

Overall, a very fun game, though I had the same issue as some other people on medium difficulty levels: you could beat the game with only about 1/4 of a full maze completed.

Cole Wardell December 3, 2007 5:33 PM

I got so addicted to this.
Thanks to Desktop TD, I was able to beat the normal levels up to Hard, the crossroads up to Hard (I didn't try Insane, but I was able to beat hard without losing a life.), All 3 capture the flag levels (i'll admit, I used a form of juggling, the first two maze levels, and pachinko up to Hard (again, didn't try Insane, but... you know the rest).

Has anyone beaten Island? I've never been able to stop all of the grunts. Am I just too much of a perfectionist?

I actually found crossroads the easiest. My strategy below:

The trick is to make a spiral pattern that forces the enemies to travel the same path in oppisite directions.


.>|`````X````X`````| ..|`````XXXX```X```|..

My specific strategy: First few turns:

Start by putting a Radiation tower in the center, offset one down and one right Next, send the first two phases and use fog.
As soon as you get enough money, build a lightning tower next to the radiation tower.
Build the spiral from there mainly out of arrow towers. Make ice towers in the upper-left and lower right corners of the spiral. Try to make sure the radiation tower is able to hit the enemies at the edge of the spiral.
Finally, sit back and laugh maniacally as every enemy fails to make it past the center of the map.


The game does look pretty nice, but I don't really see the point of nice 3d graphics if you can't change the view. I immediately assumed I could use my mouse wheel to zoom in and take a look at the orc and tower models, and get a closer look at the tower attack effects, but it's not true. As long as the game has a fixed top view, it could just as easily be 2d, utilizing a few simple 2d perspective techniques to make it look exactly like it does now. Still a fun game. Nothing particularly revolutionary, but a good amalgamation of most of the positive aspects of the best TDs available thus far.


Just finished the game on Insane, just took me about an hour :P

You have to make 2 paths for the orcs to get to the other gate, and you have to open/close (build and sell) the patch with towers where the O is, in the middle you can put Radiation towers to kill them faster, but it should be beatable with just lvl 1 archer towers










hmm dunno how to write this map so it can be seen right, maybe its still useful, or a mod can edit this?



I finally managed to beat homage, though it wasn't pretty

here's how:

I only used four arrow towers

1. at bottom left corner of first turn, upgrade twice

2. at top left corner of roundabout, upgraded twice

3. bottom right of turnabout

4. middle section of top row for clean-up

5. after that work on fully upgrading the two towers in roundabout

6. use transport spell for clean-up, especially on the last level or two

I finished with 10 lives or so

deflective December 4, 2007 11:25 PM

the island level (in mazes) is tough, i was able to make it to the mid thirties with ice & arrow but no further.

begin by putting all your cash towards a single arrow tower until you get double shot. use spells to keep mobs nearby until it's ready.


I just beat homage on my first try.

Towers: radiation, arrow, arrow, lightning, ice (in that order)

I started with the radiation at the bottom-right of that first patch of snow that hangs down from between the portals. After getting enough gold, I put an arrow tower on the upper left corner of the middle patch of snow. Upgraded the arrow twice I think, then the radiation once. Then I put an arrow at the bottom of that central section, but it probably would have worked better in the bottom-right corner. The lightning and ice towers were to the left of the radiation, but they were probably bad choices of towers.

On the very last wave (the 3 robotic orcs), I sold each tower as the orcs got out of range. Before they got to the bottom-left of the field, I put a radiation on that peninsula and upgraded it as much as possible. Used weaken and fog a lot. Sold that last radiation once they were out of range and put a new one in the bottom-right corner (upgraded as much as I could), where it finally killed them off.

Teleport was useful for when I got sloppy.


I just got to level 41 on the island stage with only 6 arrow towers, each upgraded to the first 2-target level (the one where the next upgrade costs 200g). I figured that since it said "range is key" I should use the towers with the largest, cheapest range. I also used fog as much as possible, but wasn't consistent with it and the rest of my spells, so I often ran out of mana.


I've beat every level except pachinko on Impossible. Start dropping lives around 56+ levels.

Lightning tower maxed with 500 gold. Click next wave about 15 times immediately. This gives you enough gold to build arrow tower lvl 5 for lightning immune orcs already in play. Ice tower to compliment the other two top middle of the map. I've beaten everything else but pachinko impossible.


ACe, how did you beat The Island? Farthest I've gotten is mid-40s


The Island:

Range is key
*wink wink*
Change targeting strategy on towers


Arrow Towers range = 50
Fire Tower range = 50

Level 1

Arrow Tower lvl 3 @ bottom
Targeting Strategy First

Level 2


Level 3

Arrow Tower lvl 4

Level 20

Fire Tower lvl 3 @ top (fire damages over time)

Level 50+



Lightning towers (max) @ top (targeting strongest)

Fire towers @ bottom (targeting weakest)

I will write a strategy guide when my boss fires me for playing games at work.


Darn, i was really excited to play this game. My PC just completely crashed after the download and it stayed in black screen mode. I couldn't even control+alt+delete. Granted, my computer isn't made to handle hardcore graphics games, but I've seen so many similiar type games (especially tower games) been played on this PC.

WINDOWS XP PRO, Service Pack 2
AMD Athlon(tm) Processor
1.25 Ghz, 1.50 GB Ram
IE 7.0 (but I didn't play in browser)

Dargonxtc December 7, 2007 8:03 PM

Thanks mikey

I did beat it eventually. I started with

a fire tower and an arrow in the thin middle, upgrading the arrow as soon as I could, then building one more arrow, and a radiation tower. Making sure to get both my arrows to dual fire as quickly as possible, and then my second arrow to max. I found that electrical towers in that mode are worthless. At least I thought so.

I think if we could cross this game with the 3D efforts of Master of Defense(also featured on JiG), it would turn out to be one hell of a game. But I tihnk this is showing a lot of potential.


So when does the sequel, "When Orcas Attack," come out?


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