You can play as the warmage, who has higher health and lower mana, or the sorceress who has lower health and higher mana. They can for the most part use the same defenses and weapons except for one weapon and two traps. The warmage has a blunderbuss weapon and the arrow wall along with the tar. Sorceress in place of those gets the wand of domination along with the acid sprayer and ice vent traps. They may have slight differences, but the health and mana difference between the two will tend to make the warmage rely more on traps and the sorceress rely on weapon usage more so.
All levels have one basic goal: prevent the orc horde coming out of the portals and escaping out into the world through the doors. To do this, you will be able to choose which defenses and weapons you want to bring along for the whole level, since you can’t change them after you’ve started. You will begin with a large amount of coin at first to give you a nice boost, but you will need to earn more as you go so you can place more defenses. Enemies are smart in the sense that they know when a certain route is dangerous and they will change up their strategy for making it through. Some levels will come equipped with hazards, such as pits that enemies can be flung into or minecarts that can run them over, as well as activatable hazards such as rock chutes or logs that will roll over enemies in long hallways. As you progress through the game, orcs and their allies will come out of more than just one portal, and more paths will be present for you to place your defenses.
Skulls are quite possibly the most important item in the game, as they allow you to purchase more items and upgrades of the said items. You can earn them from simply completing levels, collecting them as rare drops from defeated enemies, as well as reaching milestones such as total number of enemies killed. Endless mode levels are the best way to earn them, since you will earn bonus skulls based on the number of waves that you have been able to complete. If you are unhappy with the skulls that you spent on equipment and upgrades, you are able to reset them for free so you can always try out new combinations of defenses.
A vast array of traps and implements are at your disposal when it comes to defending the level exits from the hordes of enemies. Four types of defenses exist based on where they can be placed which are wall traps, floor traps, ceiling traps, and guardians which are NPCs friendly to the player. These defenses require coin to be spent in order to place them, with the stronger ones of course costing a lot more than others. Unlike other games with simple towers placed along pathways continuously firing at enemies, most defenses fire off their payload with a long recharge time, though there are a few exceptions. This means that you can’t only rely on your traps, and you will be required to join in on the action with your weapons and abilities.
There is a wide selection of weapons that you can take into battle with you along side your traps and defenses. All weapons have a primary and secondary attack, while most require no mana for the primary and some mana for the special secondary attack. There are simple weapons like the blunderbuss and crossbow that shoot projectiles, magical artifacts that can stone or charm your enemies, and special items that allow you to pick up items and enemies or drain their health.
Besides traps and weapons that the warmage and sorceress are able to use, there are nifty trinkets that you can take into levels with you to help with victory. They all have a passive effect which is always being applied, along with an on use ability that costs a lot of mana to use. These trinkets range from passively healing you with an on-use ability to heal a lot at once, to causing your defenses to recharge faster along with an ability that resets every trap, resulting in some devastating combos.
As you progress through the game, more and more enemies will emerge causing you to alter your gameplay style. Enemies on the ground can range from simple orcs of varying armor degrees, fast kobolds that try to rush through to the exit, large ogres that can take huge amounts of punishment, trolls that are tough to kill while also regenerating health at a quick pace, gnolls that will ignore everything else and go straight for the player, and earthly elementals that split upon death into smaller elementals. There are even different styles of each type of enemy, such as fire and frost ogres, and kobold sappers that will try to blow up barricades. There are a few flying enemies, namely fire and frost bats that try to avoid anything that you have placed on the ground. . All enemies have the ability to attack the warmage or sorceress if they are too close to them. Upon death, you will be rewarded currency along with the chance for them to drop skulls, health and mana potions, and coins that will give you a boost of money.
A recently released feature allows people to create mods for you to use in Orcs Must Die 2. There sadly isn’t any way to create custom levels, mostly just modifying currently exisiting models of objects and the stats of everything from enemies to defenses.
You can play any level, whether it is a normal mission or endless mode, with another player. There is no matchmaking or browser so you must play with someone who is on your Steam friends list. Gameplay wise, it is pretty much all the same except you have a second character running around, with their own set of traps to use. Coins earned will be split between the two players.
Orcs Must Die 2 is the sequel to Orcs Must Die, and they both are 99% the same, except the second one basically has more content and a second character. Orcs Must Die 2 also has a few levels from the first one, so you can try them out with the new and improved arsenal under your command. Other than its prequel, Dungeon Defenders and Sanctuary are two other games that involve controlling a character while also defending from enemy waves.
The available options are fairly basic, but has everything that you would need. Keys are rebindable, sound options, and graphical options are simply one option along with how much anti-aliasing. At max, the graphics looks surprisingly well, and are well optimized and can even go above 60 frames per second. They are kind of cartoony though, which probably puts some people off. The sound quality and range is excellent, and the songs sound nice, but each level only plays one or two songs so if you are doing a survival mission you might get tired of the same song for hours at a time. The two characters will make comments based on what is happening in the current game, and an announcer voice will warn you where enemies are currently at.
There isn’t anything inherently wrong with Orcs Must Die 2, though it would have been nice if multiplayer was more of a lobby or matchmaking system instead of just being friend invites only.
All levels for the most part are easy if you know how to use your traps and equipment correctly, as well as if you have spent enough skulls to upgrade them. However, if you still feel like the game is too hard for you, you can turn the difficulty down one level but it will cause you to gain less skulls on the levels that you do complete. Unless you are playing endless mode on a level, it should take you no more than 20 minutes to finish the levels later into the campaign. You will have to dedicate a chunk of time if you ever intend to reach very far into an endless game.
You won’t find a huge amount of challenge until you finish the story mode, which will unlock nightmare difficulty for the levels. Nightmare basically just sends out stronger enemies to you in the exact same levels, and there are no breaks between waves. Endless mode will be where the greatest challenge comes into play, since it will get infinitely harder until you finally lose. Each level allows you to earn up to 5 skulls, which is like the 5 star system that so many other games use. Earning 5 skulls on every level can be quite the accomplishment. With two characters, equipment to earn on both of them, and even online leaderboards for normal and endless levels, you will have a long lasting game with lots to achieve.
Orcs Must Die 2 costs 15 dollars with 21 dollars worth of DLC, though you can buy the complete pack for 25 dollars. The DLCs add new levels, new enemies, and new gear and defenses that you can employ on your levels. With its multiplayer, tons of content, and online leaderboards, Orcs Must Die 2 will last you a long time and is well worth the money to buy.