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Emberward: Review

Emberward throws a unique twist on the tower defense genre, blending maze building with roguelite elements. It’s still in Early Access, but it already offers a compelling experience with strategic depth and an emphasis on replayability.

So basically, Emberward is about constructing a maze with Tetris-like blocks to channel waves of enemies away from your central fire. Placing blocks strategically extends the enemy path, giving your towers more time to deal damage. Towers come in various sizes, damage types, and costs, allowing for diverse defensive setups. And ofcourse upgrading towers adds another layer of decision-making, forcing you to choose between building more towers or strengthening your existing ones.

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Each run in Emberward throws a “curveball” with randomized starting towers and abilities. As you progress, you unlock new blocks, buffs, and permanent upgrades through experience points. These upgrades, called talents, provide lasting buffs across runs, like discounts in the shop or the ability to strategically remove a misplaced block.

Successfully defending off enemy waves rewards you with experience, currency, and potentially new blocks or buffs. This currency, Ember Stones, lets you heal your fire or purchase upgrades and items between rounds. The ultimate challenge comes in the form of boss battles at the end of each world. These require adapting your strategy to defeat a powerful enemy alongside the usual waves.

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Emberward is looks good with its colorful graphics. The performance was also very good for me. And it runs great on the Steam Deck. Accessibility options like adjustable camera shake and customizable controls are there.

While the core gameplay loop is strong, the Early Access tag indicates room for growth. Currently, there’s a desire for more enemy variety and strategic diversity. However, the difficulty remains a challenge on higher settings, ensuring a satisfying tower defense experience.


Emberward : Emberward is a great addition in the tower defense genre, offering a strategic blend of maze building, roguelite elements, and permanent upgrades. Developed by a single person, it's impressive how polished the game feels already. With its focus on replayability and ongoing updates, Emberward is a great choice for fans of the genre, especially those looking for a strategic twist on the classic tower defense formula. Just keep in mind it's Early Access, so expect some room for future improvements. Tom Henry

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