PAX East 2015 Hands-on Preview: Orcs Must Die! Unchained

The premise of the Orcs Must Die! franchise by Robot Entertainment is simple. Build towers, arm your hero with powerful equipment and destroy any orc who thinks they can get to your base. In Orcs Must Die! Unchained, they took that premise and turned it into a MOBA. Two teams compete with one another to conquer the enemy’s base by building devious contraptions and leveling up heroes.


As any other MOBA, you’ll have access to a variety of heroes from range attackers who focus on offense and quick kills to defenders who focus on debuffs and stronger structures. My time was spent with the dwarven engineer, Dobbin, who is one of the defensive characters. Dobbin’s skill set is focused around large AOE attacks for minions and a dust cloud that slows enemy movement. Along with my teammate who played one of the mages, we were able to defend our guardians (towers) with ease.

It sounds like any other MOBA on the market until you factor in the classic Orcs Must Die gameplay of building a combination of deadly structures to do any manner of bad things to your opponents. While some traps are more effective than others, there’s lots of wiggle room for creative trap setups. You may start out with a tar pit followed by a spike wall and lava floor. This allows your room to slow down enemies while continuously damaging them. Or you may create a maze of lava and tar by boxing the room.

The game also differentiates itself with level design. Maps aren’t just three straight lined lanes. You’ll travel through mazes of corridors as you go from the grassy planes outside of a castle to the Gothic interior of the enemy base. Combined with the different trap layouts and OMD! Unchained feels gratifying to come out victorious.


Orcs Must Die! Unchained is a fresh take on the MOBA genre with a focus on tower defense and strategy over min/maxing your character’s stats with items. The game is currently in closed beta and is aiming for a release later this year for PC and PS4.


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Lucas Smith

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