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In Orcs Must Die! the player takes control of a war mage who has to defend a number of fortresses from endless hordes of orcs and other vile creatures. The war mage is a young and inexperienced apprentice who stands as the last defender who can stop the orcs from reaching the gateways that separate his home world from the one of the beasts.

The gameplay is most similar to tower defense games although here the player mostly builds traps rather than towers. What's also unlike many tower defense games is that the player takes direct control of the protagonist from a third person perspective and can engage in the combat. Each level of the game represents a fortress that has one or several rifts that has to be defended from the hordes of monsters. The monsters come in waves and between waves the player gets time to build up his defenses. As the monsters are killed the player earns money which can be used on more traps. A level is failed when too many monsters reaches the rifts.

The monsters consist of course mostly of the titular orcs but there are also other kinds of creatures such as ogres, kobolds and gnolls. These have different characteristics. For example ogres can take more damage while kobolds are quicker and gnolls can jump over barricades and directly hunt down the player. There are numerous traps available to the player and these can be places on the floors, walls and roofs. Among the most common ones are spikes that stab at the monsters from the floor, arrows that are shot out from the walls and spring traps that send the monsters flying through the air. If the traps aren't enough the player can take part of the combat himself. At the start of the game he has a crossbow and a sword available but different kinds of magic (fire, ice, lighting and wind) also become available.


Orcs Must Die! Windows An archer in action
Orcs Must Die! Windows And her army
Orcs Must Die! Windows Oh no, I was lost the level
Orcs Must Die! Windows Using the wind belt to push orcs into the pits

Promo Images

Orcs Must Die! Screenshot
Orcs Must Die! Screenshot
Orcs Must Die! Screenshot
Orcs Must Die! Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "Orcs Must Die! Śmierć orkom" -- Polish title

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Critic Reviews

Ironhammers Windows Oct 12, 2011 5 out of 5 100 Windows Dec 22, 2011 9 out of 10 90
PC Gamer UK Windows Nov 24, 2011 90 out of 100 90 Windows Oct 21, 2011 17 out of 20 85
PC Games (Germany) Windows Oct, 2011 84 out of 100 84
Mana Pool Windows Dec 28, 2011 8.2 out of 10 82 Xbox 360 Oct 11, 2011 80 out of 100 80 Windows Nov 30, 2011 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80 Xbox 360 Dec 15, 2011 4 out of 5 80
GameSpot Windows Oct 13, 2011 7.5 out of 10 75


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German version

In the German Xbox 360 version, all blood effects were removed. The Windows version is not affected.


  • PC Games (Germany)
    • Issue 01/2012 - #3 Best Indie Game in 2011 (Readers' Choice)

Contributed to by Kabushi (163214)