Orcs Must Die! 3 reintroduces the co-op action/tower defense gameplay, making this series a fan favorite. However, I must admit that I was shocked by how literal that return is — so much of the trap selection and orc horde is rehashed. In addition, the series' one significant innovation, the large-scale War Scenario maps, are too spread out to play to its strengths properly. Of course, it's still fantastic meat-grinding fun, but it's all pretty familiar.
Story of Orcs Must Die! 3 Tipping The Scales
The plot of Orcs Must Die! 3 is the same silly fantasy as the previous two games. The banter between the two new warmage characters has a few giggle moments as the sassy one berates the clueless one until they earn mutual respect as they learn they form a good team, but otherwise, it's pretty standard.
The potentially exciting story elements they hint at, such as one of them being an exceptionally gifted magic user, never materialize and play no role in resolving the conflict with a villain that has all the character development of Megatron from the original Transformers show. It's okay, but it's only superficial.
But, as always, building an efficient slaughterhouse by putting down a lot of unique traps and building up combo scores by bouncing your flow of victims from one to the next is extremely enjoyable. All 18 levels are a complex problem in which the creatures' paths must be optimized to trigger as many traps as possible.
After you've forced them to take the most inconvenient path possible with barricades (ghost orcs helpfully visualize their route during the planning phase), you litter the path with spike traps that impale them from below. Shock traps zap them from above, and arrow traps blast them with projectiles from the walls, spring traps that launch them into pools of lava, or literal meat grinders.
It's a strategic siege simulator that rewards meticulous planning, inventive solutions, and a willingness to throw away past conventions and face a problem from a new perspective. It's a game that makes you feel intelligent even as you feverishly swing your mouse trying to shoot imps with magic bolts.
Consider yourself an interior designer in a world where one of the pillars of feng shui is murder. Using pre-allocated money, you begin each level by purchasing, rotating, and putting traps of your choice in a small dungeon to inflict as much harm as possible on any orcs who pass through.
Then it's an open house: the doors slam inward, and adversaries dash along the hall and up the stairs, demonstrating a startling lack of threat sense as they do so. The traps they set are from the Tom & Jerry school of slapstick humor, tossing orcs into the air or stinging them with beehives; fans looking forward to the next Jackass reunion will be well served. After that, with all the orcs dead or absconding via the portal you're supposed to be guarding, you start over, building out your designs until the last wave.