Not all games are created equal. The sad truth of it is that some are just less fun than others. It happens.

Thank god Orcs Must Die! 2 isn't one of those. This game is a knock-down, drag-out, deliriously metal fiesta of death. Everything about it is fun. Killing orcs, defending an objective, setting brutal traps, and being a murderous badass are all exciting. Hell, even the title menu has cool dramatic music.

 Tower defense meets
third-person action
Bright and cartoony 
Excellent metal
controls work fine. The
quick slots make
changing weapons in
the heat of battle easy 
Saw some weird
glitches with orcs
running through
the ground 
Replay Value
Moderate. Killing
orcs is fun, but
there's not much

When you think about it, Orcs Must Die! is a conceptual slam dunk. It combines two genres (tower defense and third-person action) into one better package. The two gameplay styles perfectly balance one another. Tower defense games are too passive. You put down your traps, you sit there, and you wait. Woo freaking hoo. Action games can lack complexity. Killing bad guys is great and all, but there's no strategy. Combining the two is what makes Orcs Must Die! 2 so much fun.

It helps that developer Robot Entertainment did everything else right as well. The story is simplistic but effective. The soundtrack is perfect for getting you pumped up. When you hear those metal instrumentals, you're ready for slaughter. You know, I'm just shocked that Orcs Must Die! isn't used as an example of video games being art.

Sarcasm aside, Orcs Must Die! 2 is a well-made game. The running tension between setting traps and managing the flow of bad guys is challenging and fun. The game can be punishing (especially on Nightmare), but the feeling you get from racking up a Stalinesque kill count is worth it. When everything clicks, you feel like an orc-slaying badass.

When it doesn't click, expect some frustration. I got annoyed with certain levels that featured simultaneous waves of bad guys at opposite ends of the arena. Even the best-placed traps can't guarantee a 100% kill rate, which means I have to run back and forth cleaning up stragglers. Don't force me to play co-op if I don't want to, damn it.

Killing stragglers is easy considering the weapons you wield. I played as a brawny shotgun-wielding War Mage. Default attacks (like firing the shotgun) are unlimited. Special attacks and gems require recharging mana points. Certain weapons take only mana but have their uses. The Fire Bracers are especially helpful after you've put some skulls into upgrading them.

This sequel offers some replayability with a new character. The villain from the last game, the Sorceress, is now playable with unique weapons and abilities. I tried playing as her and changed back immediately. That shotgun is too good to go without. The rest of the replayability comes from aiming for higher scores and trying to survive as long as possible on Endless mode.

Level design complaints aside, Orcs Must Die! 2 is one of the most fun games I've played recently. There's something special about killing thousands of orcs to the tune of a kickass metal soundtrack. If you don't find that fun... well, you're beyond helping.