Where to start... Where to start... I suppose I will start off by simply telling JDW Happy Birthday! And although this review is a bit late, better late than never... right??
For those of you who have played My Life as a King and simply assume that My Life as a Dark Lord is the same thing from a different perspective, you could not be more wrong. My Life as a Dark Lord is the newest installment in the Square Enix tower defense games.
Now when I say "Tower Defense" you will more than likely think of Final Fantasy: Crystal Defenders, which involves little guys running along a path, attempting to make it to the end. While this is usually the case, I assure you My Life as a Dark Lord is nothing of the same. Instead, I like to think of it as if the enemies have already made it past the path on Crystal Defenders and are now trying to overtake the tower itself. When a stage begins, you have a small tower with no floors whatsoever. Your job is to prevent the enemies (or in this case, the heroes) from reaching the top. In order to do so you must build floors, and, obviously, the more floors you build, the harder it is for the enemies to reach the top.
Throughout the game you will gain various monsters that you can place on floors to stop the enemies. There are five types of monsters that can be obtained. "Melee" monsters are the strongest of the monsters, but will cost slightly more. They are strong against Ranged enemies, and weak against Magic enemies. Next up, "Ranged" monsters are slightly weaker, but can eventually use certain attributes such as poison, and... well... just poison, they also tend to have more HP than Melee monsters. Ranged monsters are stronger against Magic enemies monsters, but weak against Melee type enemies. Third type is are the "Magic" monsters. They do pretty portions of damage, but have the least amount of HP. They eventually learn the "Block" ability, which allows them to dive in front of a bullet. They are strong against Melee type enemies, but weak against Ranged.
Moving on, the next monster is the "Healing" monster. It will not attack the enemy, but instead will heal its teammates that are on the same floor. There is not specific weakness for the Healing type, but they tend to have low amounts of HP. Finally we have the "Neutral" type. As you can easily guess, the Neutral type is neither strong, nor weak against anything. They will, like the Magic type, learn the "Block" ability. I bet you think I'm done, but oh no, I am not! There are also various types of floors that you will unlock along the way. But, for your sake, and mine, I will spare you the long rant and squish it down into the canned version.
The floors work in the same basic way as the monsters. You have your Attack floors, which will attack your enemy with either melee or magic. Your defense floor, which will simply find ways to help protect your monsters. And last, you have your support floors. These floors have been found to put a buff on your monsters (such as raising their defense, or making the faster (AKA: haste)), or inflict a curse of sorts (such as slow and poison) on the enemies. To put it quite simply, it is like playing a game of rock-paper-scissors; Melee beats Ranged, Ranged beats Magic, Magic beats Melee. Of course, as you can tell, there is a bit more strategy to it than that.
It's quite basic really, there once was a Dark Lord in which all the monsters loved, but one day an adventurer managed to climb his tower. In order to save his beloved monster friends, he sacrificed himself, and is now trapped inside a crystal. But oh no! Now there is no Dark Lord! What ever will the poor monsters do?! Not to worry! The daughter of the Dark Lord is here to take the throne from her father (in whom she hates) and be the most feared Dark Lord in the world! The monster rejoice! Hurray!
Well, seeing as it's a tower defense game, a WiiWare one at that, there really isn't much to the graphics that will improve the overall experience. I would say that they are mediocre, but most certainly not something to detract you from playing the game.
Quite pleasant actually. For being a Dark Lord, the music sure is happy as hell! The music is nothing spectacular, just catchy little tunes while your killing the do-gooders.
I would have to say that Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Dark Lord is well worth the 1,000 Wii points ($10). It has quite a lengthy campaign that will last you for days, and it actually gets very challenging towards the end. I often found myself playing stages over and over, AND OVER again. It will usually take a time or two just to figure out the general strategy you will have to use against the enemy. I would also like to point out that in the beginning the game is quite simplistic and bland, but stick with it and the game will end up surprising you (I know it did me), and it is well worth the 10 bucks. If you own a Wii, and tend to enjoy tower defense games, definitely give this one a try.
Overall Score: 8.5/10