By: Quinn Potter
Fortified is a sweet little third-person shooter set back in the Atomic Age of comics, complete with jet packs, phase blasters and aliens who want to invade and take over the world.
Controls are good. They are well placed and the jet pack is hella cool. For all weapons, press “X” to reload and you’ll find that you can reload while they are one your back – awesome!
Graphics pop in a superhero, cartoony way. Think of your favorite ‘50s comic strip come to life. The font, colors, layout, soundtrack and gameplay tie in thematically across the board, which is sweet. That being said, there’s no depth of field or overly detailed layered backdrop. You’re essentially playing in a 3D version of a blank comic strip panel, so take it for what it is.
Soundtrack is lush and richly detailed. It plays like a movie soundtrack. Special sound effects, such as sirens and gunfire are okay, but the music is better. The voice actors are well chosen, but the female character can come off as a bit “girly” – overly feminine in a stereotypical way. Dialogue doesn’t help here, either, because she starts to sound like a “dumb blonde” when the narration falls into a repetitive loop at the end of round.
Welcome back to the Atomic Age. Choose your identity: Rocket Scientist, Captain, Agent or Spaceman. Each identity comes with a rich and varied supply of Atomic-Age appropriate weapons. Choose from freeze ray, nitrofreezer, Tesla coil, sticky mines and more. Each character has a special heroic power that will become obvious when you play.
Different characters will cue different cutscenes that will layout the backstory. All characters end up in the same place – wandering down a few square blocks of city streets. Once you have an identity and a weapon, you’ll have time to build structures and place defenses before a wave of Martians hits. Then it’s time to get down to business and start shooting aliens.
Aliens (AI) come in the form of robots — all kinds of robots. There are drones, raiders, exterminators and more. The aliens are fun to watch because they all move in different, creative ways. They aren’t very intelligent, but they’re relentlessly good at swarming and attacking.
Easy, normal and hard levels play exactly as labeled. Normal is a great way to find some challenge but not too much to overwhelm you. Changing characters and weapons extends the life of the game (weapons are super fun to sample, trust us), but there’s clearly a limit as to what Fortified can do.
You go back to the Cold War time period and fight alien robots on a few empty streets of a city. That’s it, really. There’s no depth to the plot and very little strategy involved. You won’t find any twists, turns, extensions – anything, really – as you move up through stages. (In theory, you are defending your rocket base, but this doesn’t play out much in the action.)
Our biggest bummer is that we couldn’t play split-screen or local co-op, only online co-op is available. That was a disappointment because it would have been an awesome option.
Once you get into online play, strategy and teamwork become issues. Now, when it’s time to build, you have to work together with your limited funds to actually plan out where to place structures and defense. This is where the different characters play off each other and use their heroic powers to the team’s advantage.
For example, the Captain is a good commander who controls troops while the Rocket Scientist likes explosions. The Agent is a slippery figure who likes Tesla coils and the Spaceman is a good team leader who can be a bit “icy” (he employs ice traps and freezing bubbles).
Enjoyable and nostalgic, Fortified allows online teams to use both strategy and firepower to defeat Martians in the framework of a comic book from the 1950’s.