Monsters at the slaughterhouse

Who I am
Alejandra Rangel
Author and references

Conceived as a spin-off of the successful saga of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, Deathtrap, as we specified in our recent trial of the Early Access version, represents a natural evolution of some of the tower defense concepts already expressed in the main series, from which it takes also on loan several role-playing ingredients, thus winking at hybrid products like the delicious Orcs Must Die and Sanctum. The bet of the Hungarian software house Neocore Games is justified by the good commercial success of the genre, which in this case, in addition to translating the same and obscure stylistic code appreciated in the adventures of Van Helsing, is embellished with some interesting features that broaden its appeal in the medium-long term, a historical weak point for this type of products. due to a certain background repetitiveness. After having completed it and having analyzed the various methods, we can confirm that it is a winning bet.

The latest effort from Neocore Games is a successful mix of different genres!

I'm coming too. No, you don't

The monstrosities coming from the mysterious Ink, a parallel universe populated by evil creatures, knock on the door of the house, cyclically crossing the inevitable portals, in this case locked inside some fortresses to stem the threat. Coming one step away from the new invasion cycle, three different heroes, namely a warrior, a sorceress and a hunter, with a rush of pride stand as the last bastion in defense of civilization, ready to push back the waves of abominations.

This, in broad terms, is the simple plot of the latest Neocore Games effort, where the player, at the commands of one of the aforementioned heroes, must kill all enemies - either by attacking them directly or through deadly traps - before they are able to get through. the core of each of the thirteen levels present, under penalty of the inevitable Game Over. The three heroes represent classes traditionally available in RPGs, and differ from each other in the intimate approach to battle; the hunter, for example, is a character comparable to Van Helsing himself, thanks to the mix of ranged and melee attacks, as well as the ability with potions; the warrior, a classic tank, instead prefers close combat and can be equipped with war hammers, halberds, greatswords and the like, while the sorceress uses the dark arts (linked to elements such as fire and ice) to keep threats at a distance. Advancing in the campaign and leveling up - the level cap is set at 100 - you can unlock a plethora of powers in the skill tree, which is specific to each class and able to dramatically expand the strategic approach, thanks to skills passive and active. The warrior, for example, at startup has a short-range freezing shock wave and a physical penalty to be launched on all enemies on the map, however, as you progress in the game it is possible to unlock a sort of chain that traps monsters (dragging them within hammer range) and a whirlwind of ice that creates area damage. The tactical options are therefore many, and at the end of each level it is essential to invest the points accumulated in battle to improve the power, duration and effects of the various skills, which can be used with the mouse keys and the numbers on the keyboard. Despite the remarkable effectiveness of direct attacks, the portals pour waves of enemies against the player such that they cannot be stemmed by a single warrior, thus forced to rely on the so-called traps, a cornerstone of any self-respecting tower defense.

In Deathtrap there are 25 of them, with a total of 150 upgrades to unlock: among them we find simple machine guns, saw-throwing mechanisms, pillars that shoot lightning and freezing rays, pools of acid, spiked floors, allied creatures and much more, beyond to special towers linked to some specific scenarios. Each level of the campaign consists of a handful of waves with increasing difficulty, until the inevitable arrival of the big and very bad final boss, the only one able to immediately decree the game over, should he manage to reach the core of the map. In addition to the thirteen basic levels, playable in three distinct difficulties and various customizable tiers, there are some bonuses that are unlocked at the end of the game, also they can all be tackled in Scenario or Endless mode, with specific conditions that allow you to accumulate more experience points or gold to spend in the shop. In fact, between one turn and another, in addition to being able to improve skills and traps, the player can buy more effective equipment, or build it through a simple crafting system. All levels can be tackled in the hilarious online cooperative mode, while the rather limited PVP also offers an interesting asymmetrical gameplay, where the attacking player can directly take control of the various monsters, through a very fast spirit of light. Among the most interesting features of Deathtrap there is undoubtedly the deep editor linked to Steamworks, which allows the creation of customizable scenarios from multiple points of view. There are already a lot of those made by the community during the Early Access phase, which ended on February 4th.

Monsters & Co.

Developed through the Coretech proprietary engine, already appreciated in the two chapters of The Incredibles Adventure of Van Helsing, Deathtrap is not only characterized by the same artistic direction as the main saga, where steampunk elements merge into a macabre gothic, but there is also a certain recycling of elements, especially for what concerns textures, enemies and structures. Of course there is no shortage of new ad hoc introductions, and the bestiary, well animated and varied, ranges from small fast creatures to flying monsters, passing through mighty golems, armored automatons and other amenities, mostly fished from Slavic literature. As we pointed out in our previous test, the graphics of the menus and the various windows in the game are a bit too "refined", and sometimes there is a little confusion with the color palette. Sometimes, for example, during the most chaotic clashes we happened to sell a trap instead of controlling or upgrading it. Overall, however, while not amazing for effects and polygonal size, the graphics of Deathtrap are pleasant and with a certain personality, as well as the audio sector, also partially translated from the original saga.


Tested version PC Windows Digital Delivery Steam, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store Price 19,99 €


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Your vote

Evolution of some of the concepts already expressed in The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, Deathtrap is a modern tower defense that mixes elements of tradition with an action component already appreciated in other titles, as well as a decent role-playing depth. The thirteen fortresses that make up the main campaign, which can be tackled in various modes and tiers, are not very many, however the bonus levels, the fun cooperative mode, the level cap set at 100, the rich skill tree and, above all, the excellent editor linked to Steamworks, they are able to embellish the offer and keep the interest high, despite a certain underlying repetition in the action. If you have enjoyed Van Helsing and are a lover of tower defense, the purchase is highly recommended, especially if you can play it in co-op with friends.


  • Successful mix of tower defense and action RPG
  • Very fun cooperative mode
  • Deep tree of skills and full of upgrades
  • Advantageous price
  • Menus and color palette sometimes confusing
  • Level design is not always very inspired
  • There is an undeniable underlying repetitiveness
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