As the name of the game may tip you off, Villainous goes against Tower Defense standards by making you the villain who sends the waves of monsters. In other words, you are an evil mage in control of a growing army of evil forces that are out to raid regions, take over kingdoms, and in the end, Take Over the World. During your journey of conquest, with each attack (successful or not), you gain infamy, which can be put into upgrading various aspects of your army. To be more precise, you can unlock new unit types, learn new spells, upgrade the statistics of the former two, and contemplate specific summoning strategies to overcome the defenses of your foes.
As for the specifics of each raid (or level), you must organize and pick your monsters of choice, to combat the specific placement and type of towers. In the end though, your goal is to survive as many waves as possible, which is MUCH easier said than done, as towers get stronger with each subsequent wave - making monster placement ever more crucial. Thankfully, three spells are at your disposal to combat the difficulty, as well as a somewhat long Tech Tree. Be warned though, the towers' strength and tactics upgrade themselves the further you progress...
Tropes pertaining to this game:
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can only summon up to two monsters at a time at the beginning of the game. The headcount limit can be upgraded to a maximum of twelve, though.
- Area of Effect: The various auras of Healing Priests, Cleanse Warlocks, and Shield Golems. And of course, three certain towers. The aura strength and distance can be both upgraded.
- Continuity Nod: Playing the game to the end shows that it takes place in the same universe as the developers' other game, I Have One Day. Specifically, the Evil Sorcerer you're playing as is actually the same one as the Big Bad of I Have One Day, as shown in how he is specialized in the spirit swap spell.
- Crutch Character: Turtles. At first, they help to distract the towers but later in the game, defenses from other units are much better.
- Evil Sorcerer: You play as one on his journey to take over the world in this game.
- First Town: Affectionately named "Tutorial Town" due to it being the tutorial level and where you start your conquest of the world.
- Golem: The only type of golem present in this game is the Shield Golem, which provides a protective aura to nearby monsters. This makes them very useful for the rapid firing yet low damage Rapid Towers.
- The Load: Goblin Raiders must seem like this to your other units; they're the second-frailest unit and don't have any special abilities (other than being the only creature that can raid). The only purpose of your other units is to make sure they don't die. A lot of player-made lategame strategies, however, revolve around using only Goblins, Golems, and Priests in combos that could be considered Game Breakers for being able to defeat every level with a gold rating with ease once the player has reached the maximum summon limit.
- Heal Thyself: Until you research the appropriate upgrade, aura units don't benefit from it (they need to be in another's aura to get the effect).
- Mana Meter: Both its regeneration rate and maximum capacity can be upgraded.
- The Medic: Healing Priests are this. They can heal all nearby units that are in its healing aura.
- Mighty Glacier: The Atomic Tower. It only fires one missile every ten seconds, but it deals incredibly high damage, and can affect multiple targets as well.
- Non-Indicative Name: The Banana Shire and the Kingdom of Bacon are both actually renown for their... coconuts.
- Our Goblins Are Different: In fact, they are the backbone of your army. Goblin Raiders are the only creature that can raid.
- Schizo Tech: Arrows and cannons coexisting isn't that big a stretch. Arrows and ICBMs, on the other hand...
- Splash Damage: How Cannon Towers and Atomic Towers deal their damage.
- Squishy Wizard: Elementals, kind of. They're the frailest units in the game, but generate Mana every second.
- Static Stun Gun: Your lightning bolts in this game can stun a selected tower for one wave (the spell's mana cost increases after every use, however).
- Tech Tree: Contains upgrades for obtaining new enemies, spells, player-statistic upgrades, and upgrades to enemies and spells. It's even symbolized by a castle - with each new upgrade path unlocked, a new part of the castle is created, revealing more upgrades.