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Early Access ORX is a Must-Play for Strategy Fans

Fighting against orcs in a video game is nothing new. But ORX, a fast-paced card-based tower defence game, tries to mix things up a bit.

You won’t be fighting orcs – sorry, ORX – directly here. Instead, you’ll be building up defences of castles and militia bases in order to protect yourself from incoming waves. Let an incoming ORX attack descend on your town hall, and it’s game over. And if you’re not careful, that game over can come all too soon.

ORX is card-based, so you can only build or play something that’s already in your hand. And each card has a coin value, so you’ll need to ensure you’ve got enough before you play a card. Thankfully, coins roll in steadily, with you automatically earning one a second – or more if you have tiles that generate money placed. It essentially means that with careful planning, you can play cards at a speedy rate, continually growing your defences and making sure those ORX don’t stand a chance against you.

You can’t just place cards willy-nilly, though. Planning is everything, and so you need to consider road layouts, cards that offer buffs to structures within their radius and, most importantly of all, castles. Yes, castles are the beating heart of any good ORX defence, and building a castle requires serious forethought.

You need to build castles piecemeal, you see. A card may lay down one castle wall, and you’ll need another beside it to complete a small castle. But make a castle bigger – with a castle heart, diagonal walls and more – and you’ll improve your defensive power. The bigger a castle, the more powerful it is.

Once you’ve completed a castle, though, that’s it. You can’t go back and expand it, and if you build yourself into a corner you can’t undo your mistakes. Before you know what you’re doing, it’s easy to begin constructing a castle that ends up being impossible to complete. And nobody wants a useless, half built castle on their map.

Since ORX attack in waves, it gives you plenty of time in between to ensure you’re ready for their onslaught. Preparation is everything, although since this is a card-based game you do often feel at the mercy of which cards are dealt to you. Each time you play a card you’ll be dealt a new one though, so chances are you won’t have to wait long until the card you need (or have been hoping for) pops up in your hand.

Despite being in Early Access, ORX already feels like a polished, fully-fledged experience. Jumping in now won’t leave you feeling like you’re only getting a half-baked game, although more content will be rolled out over the next 12 months. Developer John Bell promises to add two new factions, a meta-progression system and additional content likely in the form of different cards and abilities.

If you enjoy tower defence games, we’re confident in recommending ORX to you. Its fast-paced nature means that, even when the going gets tough, you’ll stick around and try again. The random nature of the cards always keep you on your feet and when you do succeed over those pesky ORX invaders, the victory is oh-so sweet.

We’re looking forward to seeing how ORX develops over the next 12 months of early access. But already, this is a game well worth jumping into.

ORX is available on Steam via Early Access priced at £13.99.

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