Regardless of what its name actually is / will turn out to be, S.D.G.T. (240 MSP) should stand for ‘Supremely Difficult (but) Genuinely Thrilling’. Yes, that title would then lack a certain je ne sais quoi, but nothing else encapsulates my experience with it so completely.
The story is there really isn’t one, unless you’d like to infer (hostile aliens are involved). All the same, you’ll be fulfilling contracts (by gathering minerals) and wiping that alien menace from the galaxy like any good space shooter would, one day at a time. As a stationary tower in the deep reaches of space, tasked with defending your base and gathering materials simultaneously, you’re nothing without a good blaster at your side. You start with just two turrets, with purchasable slots (up to 7) to add on to your arsenal.
As the days and waves progress, you’ll naturally need to kit out every available space if you hope to stand a chance. For each gun type you equip, you can spend credits to upgrade its output and drain on your reserve power, decreasing cooldown time, adding to capacity, etc. And, if you so desire, those turrets and upgrades can be resold (recently familiar, isn’t it?) to make way for its new and improved version, or a completely different weapon.
You’re allowed to carry one specialty perk, activated once per round, that can give you the edge in a tight contest (burst shield, damage multiplier, and the like). Completed contracts have their own choice in a permanent stat boost, ranging from health / shield modifiers or percentage upgrades to mineral / credit gathering, to giving your turrets increased damage. Finishing a contract on time also results in a credit bonus.
Enemies come in multiple forms and patterns and together, constantly exhausting your efforts, with shielded foes diverting your fire away from the swifter advance parties, cloaked threats, etc. Occasionally you’ll be ambushed. The tell-tale sign is obvious; once the music drops off, expect the aliens to hit you with a serious assault. When these moments happen, the mix of tension and focused determination needed on the player’s part makes for a winning formula.
Weapon variety truly is the spice of life in S.D.G.T., as too many of one type or an older model can and will make the difference between that continued life and utter defeat. Unfortunately, that dividing line isn’t always apparent, and it is this razor-thin line that you can cross, sometimes unwittingly, that knocks the game down a few pegs. Likely you’ll face frequent restarts (I know I did), trying to find that sweet spot in gun balance and upgrades that will push you into the next day. And keep in mind, this is all happening on the Beginner setting, the easiest of the three choices.
Issues with the difficulty aside, the game comes to a halt past Day 49, with a placeholder informing you of an additional 16 days to be published in a future update (as discussed in the preview article). As I left it, I had yet to finish off all of my contracts, or gain access to the final tier of guns. It’s impossible to critique content that isn’t here, and there’s certainly no reason to believe that K2 Games won’t make good on its promise, though you should consider this point prior to purchase.
S.D.G.T. is a decent TD-lite / stationary shooter, marred only by its willful insistence on old-school difficulty tricks and the current absence of an end game. If you thrive when the odds are stacked against you and won’t mind the frequent experimentation with loadouts, you might’ve found your nirvana. If you don’t fall into that category, exercise caution.