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Video Game / Orcs Must Die! Unchained

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The Order's back, baby!

Developed by Robot Entertainment, Orcs Must Die! Unchained is a sequel to Orcs Must Die! and Orcs Must Die! 2. While OMD is a single-player Always Over the Shoulder Tower Defense Action Game and OMD2 is more of the same with addition of Co-Op Multiplayer, OMDU took the series into a Competitive Multiplayer direction, although feedback from the fans drew the developers to shift back to the classic co-op Tower Defense gameplay that made the previous games so popular.

The story, such as it is, is set some years after the events of Orcs Must Die 2. The Order has been rebuilt by Maximillian the War Mage and Gabriella the Sorceress, but they face a new threat: the vast mobs of orcs that they slaughtered before have returned, now formed into a strong, organized army known as the Unchained. Both sides have rallied armies and heroes to battle one another for control of the rifts that connect the various worlds together.

Borrowing heavily from the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena tradition, the game presents a variety of heroes with their own unique abilities, enabling teams to be formed from a wide array of character types and playstyles. In addition, a wide range of trap types, as well as NPC Guardians, equippable gear, and traits are available. The core gameplay, however, is still the traditional minion-slaughtering, trap-laying Tower Defense, but much more complex and in-depth compared to its predecessors.

The game also featured a "Siege" gameplay mode, in which players competed in the traditional MOBA style of competitive multiplayer, with their own customized loadouts of traps, minions, and guardians. However, while this mode did feature a small but hardcore player base, it was largely unpopular, and Robot Entertainment chose to eliminate it and rebalance the gameplay around cooperative player-versus-enemy survival, eventually replacing it with a "Sabotage" mode where two teams try to defend their maps while also spending money to send obstacles at their opponents.

After a long open beta period, the game was released as free to play on April 20th, 2017. After a lengthy period of poor performance, the game was eventually shut down on April 8, 2019.

Tropes used in Orcs Must Die! Unchained:

  • Asteroids Monster: The Earth Elementals act like this.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: More of the higher tier traps are very flashy looking, but they often cost a lot of money that is better off spent placing more barricades or tar traps. They become more important later on in a match when the player has a lot of money but is getting close to their trap cap.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Humanoid bears form the Giant Mooks of Order armies. Some of them carry shields that render them immune to attack from the front, and all of them become angered when nearby allies are killed, gaining health and damage boosts.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Barricades - in a game like this, being able to block off roads is crucial.
    • Flip traps and push traps. All they really do is just send enemies away from you, but they can also be used to send enemies flying to their doom, and unlike in previous games, enemies take significant damage if they are thrown into walls or over long distances.
    • Spike traps. Throughout the entire map, they will see use, especially if a team includes Gabriella.
    • Viscous Tar. Being able to slow people in front of a grinder is very useful.
    • Concussive Pounders do no damage... but they stun enemies they hit, stopping or slowing them and both making them more vulnerable and also serving as a combo multiplier.
    • Sabotage Mode has its own particulars:
  • Chain Lightning: Lightning damage jumps to multiple targets when a minion is killed by it. This makes lightning traps like Wall Chargers and Zappers and electrical heroes like Cygnus and Maximilian ideal for eliminating large groups, especially of weaker enemies that die more quickly who might otherwise overwhelm some other characters's attacks.
  • Cap:
    • There is a limit on how many traps a player can place at once, and it is certainly nowhere near enough to entirely cover a map. The game does advise though that players start placing inexpensive traps early in a match, then replace them with smaller numbers of more expensive traps later to maintain lethality while being able to spread them across more lanes.
    • Certain traps, like the Great Wall Barricade, are designed to serve as more expensive versions of earlier traps but are either stronger or cover a larger area, which makes them more useful to avoid the cap.
    • Certain very powerful traps, such as the Saw of Arctos, Overload Trap, or Arcane Bowling Ball, have a set number of times they can be deployed, because they'd be overwhelmingly powerful relative to their costs or size or area of effect if the player could cover the entire map in them.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Several of the female characters wear revealing clothing, although Midnight's cat suit isn't too bad. While Ivy's armor is revealing, she has more of an athletic build. It's somewhat justified by the worst offender, Smolder, whose outfit barely covers anything; since she deals with fire, her skimpy clothing could be considered practical. Gabriella is wearing a standard-issue low-cut sorceress's outfit that reveals an alarming amount of her cleavage but not all that much else, but since at least one of her attacks is a "charm" attack (i.e., mesmerizing rivals with her looks) it's also partially justified. Bionca, the queen of the Unchained, plays this completely straight with her clothing. Unfortunately.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • You can not close off all entrances to the rift with barricades, as tempting as it is. You also can't completely block all routes between the enemy's starting point and the rift.
    • Orcs will attack barricades if the player is hiding right behind or on top of them, but is just out of reach of their melee weapons. Melee heroes who try to stand inside a barricade-formed chokepoint will find the barricades taking splash damage from orcs.
  • Elemental Powers: Elemental damage returns in a variety of characters:
    • An Ice Person: Tundra and Hogarth, specializing in crowd-controlling ice attacks.
    • Green Thumb: Ivy, specializing in earth and plant-based magic.
    • Playing with Fire: Smolder, focused on raw fire damage.
    • Shock and Awe: Maximillian and Cygnus, who deal electrical damage that arcs between targets.
  • Enemy Summoner: Unstable Rifts, which appear on certain waves on the higher-difficulty maps and, if not destroyed, will spawn additional enemies, often on lanes or in locations that aren't covered by your traps.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Averted, after two games spent playing it straight. Character previously referred to only by their title now have proper names:
  • Fanservice: It's hard not to see Smolder as this.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Heroes who would normally be fighting for the Order or Unchained can be found fighting side by side, and against their own faction, both as players and NPC heroes. Some sworn enemies can even team up, such as Tundra and Bloodspike, or Ivy and Deadeye.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The Unchained invasion has resulted in this for the Order. Where once it was just the humans, elves, and dwarves who were closest to the lands affected by the rifts who formed the Order and fought off the Orcs, now a collection of other races such as gnomes, satyrs, feline Pride Clans, humanoid grizzly and polar bears, giants, and the Tundramun have all joined forces to fight off the invading orcs and their allies.
  • Happy Dance: All the characters have a victory dance when they manage to beat a map.
  • Hero Antagonist: The Order armies will invade Unchained maps just like the Unchained do on Order maps.
  • Hired Guns: Mercenary units show up on War Mage and high difficulties, fighting for either side, and can be hired and unleashed in Sabotage mode as well.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Even moreso than its predecessors, orc and human bodies will fly apart in all manner of hilariously gory ways.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Order, at least when compared with the Unchained. Order troops are tougher than orcs, but also move more slowly.
  • Mind Control: One of Gabriella's attacks—it charms the enemies. They stand dumbfounded, with literal hearts in their eyes, and won't move for a few seconds or when hit.
  • Money Spider: The "Moneybags" Boss drops a lot of money if you kill him.
  • No-Sell: Enemy heroes both ignore and do not take damage from traps... unless you build specialized traps that only target heroes.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • "The Baths" make a return from the original Orcs Must Die!, remade into an OMDU level.
    • "The Falling Folly is a recreation of the geometry of "The Tower" from the original Orcs Must Die!
  • One-Liner: All of the heroes have this to some degree, some more (purposely) cringe-worthy than others.
  • Promoted to Playable: Many of the elite enemy units and Guardians in the first two games have received special playable heroes in Unchained. Stinkeye, for example, is a Cyclops Mage hero, while Bionka is a Ball-and-Chain hero, Blackpaw is a Gnoll Hunter hero, Bloodspike is an Orc hero, and Deadeye is an Orc Crossbow hero. Similarly, Dobbin is a Dwarf grenadier hero, and Ivy is an Elf archer hero.
  • Pyromaniac: Smolder. At first she just seems to be a standard fire elemental class, but some of her dialogue lines are laced with frenzy.
  • Shock and Awe: Anything that does lightening-based damage, though Maximilian specializes in it with his magic crossbow and lightening-shield ability. Cygnus also specializes in doing lightning damage.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Available as a kind of Character Customization. While every hero has certain fixed abilities, they can be customized with traits outside of matches that give them passive bonuses, and given different sets of traps. While in-game, each character makes gains that can be spent on Weavers to give them passive upgrades for the remaining duration of the match, with different options available at different tiers of advancement.
  • Super Mode: Unchained Mode, which is built up by scoring trap combos. Firing it gives a massive health and mana boost and dramatically increases damage and reduces ability cooldowns.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: The dark world of the orcs has this effect on humans who spend too long in it, and is the explanation for why Gabriella went power-mad during the first Orcs Must Die! game.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Guardian NPC units are much more powerful than they were in previous games and able to kill huge numbers of enemy minions, and you can carry two on every loadout without taking up a spot for traps. However, they have the downside in that they are far fewer and can only be placed at specific points on each map.
  • Trap Master: What you have to be to actually survive in the game, and certain characters have traits and abilities that enhance trap-usage.
    • This is Gabriella's specialty, with abilities to stun enemy minions for crowd control and another ability to make all her traps fire at once to inflict massive damage.
    • Maximillian is able to deploy traps with a significant discount. Coupled with his "Endorsements" ability, he'll be able to lay down a huge number of traps, including prohibitively expensive ones.
    • Most of the other heroes also buff traps in their own way. For example, Cygnus can deploy a pylon that boosts the damage of all traps nearby, and Oziel can use traps to drain health from enemies to boost his own.
  • Villain Protagonist: Many of the heroes who would be fighting on the Unchained side are playable on both sides, and fighting against both sides.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: All heroes are characterized by the weapons they carry, such as Max's crossbow, Gabriella's wand, or Tundra's sceptre. Many heroes also have a signature trap that gives certain bonuses when used by that hero, usually in the form of damage or cost.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • The Unchained run on this strategy, compared with the Mighty Glacier that is the Order. Orcs are weaker, unit for unit, than Order troops, but there are a lot of them, and some will eventually get through even the densest trap combinations.
    • This was invoked by players in in Siege Mode. Some of the mobs that could be unlocked for players to place in waves were kobolds or satyrs. They moved very quickly, were weak, but could go right into a rift if they weren't stopped.