Wardens Rising preview: Punishing difficulty for single player

Wardens Rising preview: Punishing difficulty for single player
Image via Big Moxi Games

Written by 

Amy Eastland

Published 

12th Sep 2023 14:48

Wardens Rising offers a unique perspective for the format of a tower defence game, with a unique roster of heroes to play, plenty of abilities to choose from and upgrades to pick as you venture from battle to battle - but how does it play?

During gameplay, you'll be presented with plenty of opportunities to experiment, discovering how to best protect the Core and survive against the incoming Tower Crushers.

Plans that look like they'll work on paper may not actually work out in the long run, meaning you'll need to re-strategise and adapt for added complexities.

Heroes, customisation, and loadout

Enemies attacking core in Frosted wasteland in Wardens Rising
Click to enlarge

When loading up Wardens Rising, you're instantly greeted with a screen to choose your hero and can customise them to your liking by selecting a loadout to see what abilities you’ll be working with as you enter the next mission.

Personally, I was drawn to the Frost-based, aptly named Selene Frost, as her abilities like Frost Surge and Freezing Ray stood out to me, but there are also other heroes such as John Cole and the Engineer to pick - all with their own additional abilities.

As you play and complete levels in the game, you're awarded Synthesis which can then be used to upgrade the strength of the weapons you bring onto the battlefield, your own abilities, health, or even a pet that can aid you during battle.

The versatility of the battlefield was an absolute standout here, as there are many different ways in which you can combat the enemies coming towards you and different strategies to utilise in order to deal with the various types of enemies that are sent your way. 

Unforgiving difficulty

Enemies in a desert in Wardens Rising
Click to enlarge

Despite being able to have plenty of opportunities to experiment by trying drones like the Defender, the Assassin, or new loadouts, Wardens Rising's difficulty is surprisingly punishing. Right from the outset I found myself thrown into the deep end and was struggling to stay afloat, no matter how many turrets, abilities, and ultimates I used.

Cores were being destroyed, I was losing the ability to create turrets, and all of this left me feeling quite overwhelmed. This is one part that fell flat during gameplay, as it felt like there was too little time to 'warm up' and place everything - sometimes leaving the base exposed and open to attack (and that's not what you want at all.)

By level three, the first wave of enemies comes from two places, and you're no longer told which these spawn points are, making the set-up even harder. Here, you'll have to manage your very minimal resources between two areas and hope for the best - and by the second wave, you're already splitting hairs between three areas. 

Because of how difficult Wardens Rising feels playing solo, my time with the game became more about replayability and upgrading the loadout as much as humanly possible. Without this, it's a struggle, and despite having plenty of upgrades after replaying the levels and getting to level three, it still felt as if I wasn’t doing well enough.

By level three, I had hit a wall and was really struggling and had to keep going back to replay the previous two levels to try and get any semblance of power. No matter how much I tried to complete level three, I kept hitting a wall, and even when trying other heroes, I struggled tenfold.

Of course, this is not a negative criticism per se, and something that some gamers may absolutely relish with such punishing difficulty - but from my own experience, it felt quite overwhelming.

Final thoughts

Firing at enemies on a vantage point- explosions below in Wardens Rising
Click to enlarge

From our preview of Wardens Rising so far, it's an incredibly fun game that features plenty of replayability, but its punishing difficulty could benefit from some scaling to make it feel fairer to those who are doing a solo playthrough.

This difficulty curve makes sense if you're planning to play in cooperative play, but it's a game that may take a little longer to get to grips with if you're planning to play alone - and for some, that may be exactly what you're looking for.

That's all we have for now on Wardens Rising. Be sure to check out our trending homepage for more news and guides across the latest games

Amy Eastland
About the author
Amy Eastland
Amy was a Guides Writer for GGRecon. She has a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Journalism, and has previously worked for companies such as Gfinity and HITC. Her favourite games include Dark Souls 3, Elden Ring, and Crash Bandicoot Warped. When she's not at work, she's hanging out with her black cat, Shelby.
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