|Dev: Coffee Stain Studios|
|Pub: Coffee Stain Studios|
|Release: April 15, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
Guns in Sanctum have infinite ammo, but each has a built-in cooldown of a sort. For example, the sniper rifle takes longer to reload, while the assault rifle can overheat if you use it too much. If a gun is cooling down, you can switch to another gun in the meantime. This gun-juggling process keeps you on your toes and forces you to combat enemies in different ways, building your maze of towers around your strategic preferences. You'll want some heavy-damage towers around the places you use your freeze gun the most. You'll also want to set up some quick damagers to pick off the stragglers you've hit with your sniper rifle.
There are a few downsides to the gameplay formula in Sanctum. For one, there are only three levels. The first level is a basic open field where you can build your perfect maze, while subsequent fields are more oddly-shaped, with slopes and bridges scattered throughout that affect the routes of enemies. Even so, getting through the entire game will only take you about four hours—five or six if you are on the hardest difficulty. Sure, you can try to get the highest score on the leaderboards, but that only really appeals to score junkies.
Speaking of the hardest difficulty, Sanctum has a strange difficulty curve. Many waves will seem nearly impossible at first. But once you figure out your "best" maze and tower configuration, everything becomes easy sailing from there. The maps have little to no replay value, as a maze that kills all the enemies the first time will kill all the enemies the second time. You can try to tackle the game with a buddy in two player co-op, but working together to build a maze can be pretty frustrating if you don't share the same creative vision. All too often, your friends will waste resources or build towers in inconvenient spots, and you have to worry about upgrading two sets of guns instead of one. Eventually, you'll most likely just stick to playing single-player.
The game looks good with a cartoony, almost Borderlands look to it. It even sounds decent enough, though the sound effects and music are pretty generic. Overall, it's a solid game: a decent buy for fifteen bucks. It may be a bit too short to quite justify the expenditure, but it's a lot of fun through all of its unfortunately short length.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
CCC Contributing Writer