Defense Grid: You Monster Review

When you and your AI companion come across a seemingly abandoned scientific facility in need of defense from aliens, you begin building tower defenses as usual. However, as the alien waves keep coming your companion slowly finds itself being subverted by a strange rogue subroutine. Before you know it, you're being "tested" by a new AI with a female voice and a slight sadistic streak. This is no ordinary testing facility; it's Aperture Laboratories and the AI who's taken a sudden interest in testing you is none other than GLaDOS.

You Monster is not so much an expansion for Defense Grid - it's probably more accurately called a mash-up than an expansion. There are no new enemy types, no new towers, nor any of the other typical game enhancements you'd find in an expansion, especially for a strategy game. But you know what? That's perfectly OK with me. Far too many DLC expansions take the easy route as it is, and it's great to see one that for once was not only thoroughly entertaining, but also tapped into all of the fond gaming memories that the Portal games gave me.

You Monster includes eight levels that take you from your initial encounter with GLaDOS, through a number of "tests", and finally to a confrontation between you and GLaDOS fought using the aliens as pawns. GLaDOS being GLaDOS, you'll be subjected to a number of restrictions and curve balls, and she'll have no qualms throwing them at you in the middle of a level. You may find her selling all of your towers of a certain type, changing the aliens' entry and exit points, or restricting you to a single tower type, all in the name of science of course. This may prove frustrating to the tower defender who likes to carefully plan things for the entire level, but personally I liked the way it kept me on my toes and forced me to shift my strategy to adapt to the changes in the game wrought by GLaDOS. You can reach a point in many tower defense games in which you have pretty much built all that you're going to build and are just waiting for the level to play itself out, but you sure don't hit those points often in You Monster.

You Monster adds all of the additional touches to complete the Portal/Defense Grid match-up. The levels look like they are indeed built within the walls of Aperture Laboratories and GLaDOS speaks to you in that sort of soothing, sort of unnerving voice you've come to know and love while playing Portal.

Once you play through the levels in story mode, you can return to them to play a number of variants. While these expand the playability and challenge of the expansion, I think that playing through the story mode alone is well worth the price of admission. If you've never played Portal then the expansion won't mean as much to you, but if you have you owe it to yourself to download You Monster.

Final Rating: 95%. This is one mash-up that will have Portal and Defense Grid fans singing with glee.


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