Review: Orcs Must Die! [Xbox Live Arcade]

It’s an unspoken law in most fantasy games, but Robot Entertainment’s Orcs Must Die! jumps straight to the point that, well, those orc bastards have to die. Here’s the elevator pitch, taken straight from the site:

Orcs Must Die! challenges players to defend fortresses under siege. With a wide variety of traps and weapons to choose from, Orcs Must Die! dares players to find the best ways to hack, launch, flatten, gibletize, and incinerate an endless army of filthy orcs and their vile allies. Orcs Must Die! features a vibrant look, addictive gameplay, and a blatant disregard for the welfare of orcs.

  • Play as the War Mage and defend 24 fortresses from an enraged mob of orcs and 11 other villainous monsters.
  • Choose from a selection of 6 weapons and magic spells and 17 traps that hack, launch, flatten, gibletize, and incinerate your enemies.
  • Upgrade your traps, spells and weapons to cater the game to your personal play style.
  • Cleverly combine traps and spells for higher scores on the leaderboards.
  • Expertly wield your wits and your weapons through the story-driven campaign and unlock a brutal “Nightmare” campaign.
  • Replay fortresses endlessly, combining different defenses and tactics every time!

Do I even want to know what the hell ‘gibletizing’ is? And what did these Orcs do to deserve being gibletized? How many times can I say gibletize? Anyway, for the most part, the game delivers on these promises. I had a chance to play this at PAX Prime a few months ago, and I loved it. I’m a sucker for tower defense games, and I’m a sucker for this game.

However with that being said, and as much as I’m a Xbox 360 Fanboy, I can’t say that I prefer the Xbox version to the PC version. The Xbox controls are too clunky for what the game is asking you to do. I’m sure you could easily adjust and get used to it, but that’s like adjusting to wearing pants 3 sizes too big. Why? Just wear the regular pants. And a belt. And a haircut. And wash your face for once in your goddamn life, you look like a hobo in those pants.


  • Fun new Tower Defense game from the folks that brought you Age of Empires Online and Halo Wars.
  • Surprizing amounts of variety when it comes to trap and weapon choices.
  • Clean and fun art style that reminds me of World of Warcraft but with more pixels.
  • They had a comic book at PAX! I love a comic book tie-in, always a classic.
  • Orcs Must Die! will only set you back 15 bucks.
  • Gibletize Orcs who probably had it coming to them.


  • The game was meant for a mouse and keyboard.


  • Orcs Must Die! Is a fun game. You should check it out. If you were born with an Xbox 360 controller in hand, then this is the version of the game for you. If you’re an old salt like me, then you’ll want to wait for the PC version to come out next week. Regardless of the purchasing path you take, download the demo today on XBLA and have some fun.



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