October 7, 2013 11:15 AM | Lena LeRay
Apartment management sim and tower defense hybrid Unholy Heights by Petit Depotto and localized by Active Gaming Media came out on Steam for Windows last week, and I love it. The game is hilarious, its aesthetics are endearing, and it's easy to get attached to your monster tenants. It has its flaws, mind, but I find that the humor makes it worth every penny of its $4 price tag.
The apartment management portion of the game is pretty basic. Adding furniture and amenities to an apartment in the building affects which kinds of monsters will be attracted to living there and how much you can charge them for rent. Some monsters flat out won't move in unless certain kinds and quality of furniture are present. There's no real transparency about which furniture upgrades make which kinds of monster tenants happiest. You can guess based on hints in the bestiary, but it really comes down to experimentation. In the end, though, if you keep throwing money at the apartments, your tenants will eventually be happy to live there. There are a couple of other factors that go into it, such as some types of monsters hating each other, but in general the apartment management comes down to throwing furniture at your tenants to keep them happy, increase their stats, and encourage them to have monster babies.
The tower defense portion is mechanically more interesting, being something you have to actively engage in. When exactly you choose to send your monsters out to do battle affects positioning and can easily be the difference between winning and losing. I've found it better to wait until invading heroes are at the apartment building so I can surround them rather than going out to meet them, and sometimes it's best to send a tenant back into their apartment to avoid losing them. Those lessons were learned at the school of hard knocks, though, after losing all my monsters a few times in a row and having all my money pilfered from the tent I live in on top of the building. Losing money seems to be your only real penalty for failure to defend. If you're on a hero-luring quest, you will also fail the quest and have to restart it, but your building doesn't seem to take any real damage from incoming heroes. In that sense, it's rather forgiving; you get to keep all the upgrades you've made to the building and just have to refill the building with the kinds of tenants you want. However, there is no way to see your monsters' stats during battle, so you have to keep tabs on which monsters are good for what in your head.
Humor in the game comes mostly from the tenants. While your tenants are in their apartments, you can hover your mouse over their apartment doors to see what they are up to. Sometimes they're using the things you've purchased for the apartments, but other times they're just doing their own thing. Before she fell in battle, I had a water elemental who liked to read erotic fanfiction, for example. Every tenant has a job (which affects when they are home to help defend the building, by the way), some of which are quite silly, such as Cigarette Butt Collector or Contest Addict. And then sometimes you just get a ridiculous combination, like my friend Skullon the Clown pictured above. He's my favorite right now. Not only is a skeleton clown a ridiculous idea, his girlfriend fell in our most recent battle only to be immediately replaced in his affections.
The lack of story in the game really gives you room to make up your own. I wouldn't call it the best tower defense game I've ever played, and I wouldn't call it the best management sim game I've ever played, but as a fun mix of the two, it's very entertaining. And at the low price of $3.99, I think most people will find it worth the money.