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Meltdown on Mars THD: A tale of two genres

by Michael Ian

At first glance, it’s easy to write off Meltdown on Mars THD as another mindless shooter. Dual virtual-joystick controls? Check. Waves of enemies? Check. Spend hours on the game only to realize you've played the same game under another tittle? Not really. If you've played Gun Bros or Dead on Arrival, then you may be familiar with how they work. You control a lone gunman pitted against waves and waves of enemies. Sure, this tried-and-true formula is present in Thumbstar Games’ newest tittle, but the developers inject some life into the crowded genre by infusing another fan favorite: tower defense.

The mechanics may sound odd, but Meltdown on Mars THD has more in common with Dungeon Defenders than Gun Bros. You can go in guns blazing, mow hoards of enemies without breaking a sweat, but that can quickly get boring. With Meltdown on Mars THD, the option to create and upgrade turrets and barricades adds an extra layer of strategy. You'll be able to set traps such as mines, and well-placed explosive barrels to create a defensive perimeter with automatic turrets. No longer will you be frantically circling the stage as you desperately thin enemy numbers, all the while hoping you won't be trapped in a corner. If given enough time, you'll be able to clear an onslaught of aliens without firing a single shot.

The levels are large; too large in fact. During a wave you may find yourself waiting a few moments for the little critters to spawn and make their way across the map. After a number of waves, the lack of action can become increasingly annoying. Speaking of little critters, unless you've read the game’s description prior to downloading, the story of these creatures is nonexistent. Luckily the title does provide a vague idea. Martians perhaps?

Overall, Meltdown on Mars THD provides a fresh take on what has become a stagnant genre. By fusing a great balance of strategy with a mind-numbing but fun shooter, what was old is now new again.