Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault review for PS4, PS Vita

Platform: PS4
Also On: PS Vita, PS3
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Acquire
Medium: Digital/Vita Card/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

The whole hook behind Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault is that it’s a tower defense game — sorry, an “action strategy” game — with a twist: rather than planting your defences at strategic points around your city, you build them in a static location, and you rotate your city around to meet oncoming threats. As hooks go, I’ll admit, that’s pretty…unique.

Notice that I didn’t call it “good.” Or “interesting.” Or “justified in any way.” It’s just “not something that anyone else has done before, as far as I know” — and after playing Aegis of Earth, I kind of see why.

Aegis of Earth 2

See, cities are big, bulky things. They’re not exactly known for their moving abilities. I wouldn’t have thought anyone had ever looked at a city and thought, “Hey, you know what would make defending this town easier? If we could put our guns in one place, and then quickly rotate the whole city around so that the stationary guns are facing whatever direction the enemies are coming at us from!”, but this game is clear proof that the thought did occur to someone somewhere at some point in time.

Judging from the end result, of course, I don’t think they thought much beyond that point. It only takes a level or two before you realize that you can set up a full ring of towers around your city, and that will be enough to cover off enemies coming at you from every angle. In other words, the whole “rotate your city around to keep it safe!” thing falls by the wayside almost immediately, and in its place there’s just a long slog of periodically upgrading your towers to make sure they’re powerful and fortified enough to take on monsters that gradually increase in strength. That’s the challenge you face in any tower defense game, of course, but it seems much more egregious a sin coming from Aegis of Earth, which started out by priding itself on being different.

Aegis of Earth 1

Actually, if you’re looking for different, you may only have to look at the game’s characters. Yes, they all seem like straight-up Japanese tropes — this one is the shy, insecure girl! This one is the military-minded guy! This is the wise old man! The tough lady! — but there’s one slight variation: they’re not teenagers. They may look like they are, and their constant nattering between battles certainly makes it sound like they are, but the game regularly points out that they are, in fact, adults. And they don’t even do it for creepy reasons, either: they just so happen to give their ages in the context of the story. Maybe I’m just stereotyping based on limited experience here, but to have them not be high school students seems practically revolutionary at this point. Not that the game does much with them, mind you, nor does it give you much reason to care about any of them with anything in the way of a memorable story. But they do vary from the norm ever-so-slightly, which is worth commenting on, at least.

Does that make it worth playing? Well no, not really, not unless you’re desperate to have a middling tower defense game on your PlayStation console of choice. Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault is perfectly serviceable, I guess, if that’s all you’re looking for, but if you want any more than that — say, if you want a game that really does have a neat new twist on the tower defense formula — it’ll just end up disappointing you.

Grade: C