Deathtrap – Preview
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG, Tower Defense
Developer: NeoCore Games
Publisher: NeoCore Games
Platforms: PC

Deathtrap – Preview

Good: Tower defense mixed perfectly with RPG elements
Bad: None so far
User Score
(0 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

We’ve been teased with trailers of the Monster Training Academy for a while now by NeoCore Games, the developers behind the Van Helsing-franchise. Since a few weeks ago, their first tower defense game Deathtrap has been released on Steam as an Early Access game. Deathtrap isn’t just any tower defense game however as it uses various action RPG elements.


The visual design in Deathtrap can be compared to that of the Van Helsing games made by the same developers but they also have a very Diablo-esque feature to them which I like enormously. The fact that Deathtrap is very similar to the Van Helsing games shouldn’t come to a surprise as the game is set in the same universe, somewhere in the 19th century.

The soundtrack of Deathtrap is simply stunning. It’s quite hard to pinpoint what type of instruments are being used but to me it sounds like it’s a Celtic soundtrack which on its own is brilliant. The rest of the sound design is carefully crafted. Throughout the maps, you can explore the forests around them but every time I run in one, I want to run out as fast as possible due to the eerie sound design. While I am easily scared, the hungry wolves amongst other creatures you’ll hear are utterly creepy.

Deathtrap sc01

This brings me to the actual gameplay. Every map has specific tiles and pillars where you can place down traps. These traps are somewhat loosely based on those that we can find in the Van Helsing series. Of course, the traps in Deathtrap are far more superior and greater in amount. The maps will also have a portal which you will need to protect from enemies who will come in waves via their own gates. The game will also show you which path the monsters will take – a feature that is quite similar to those of other tower defense games such as Orcs Must Die! and Sanctum. Building traps costs Essence but you can earn more Essence by killing monsters and using abilities wisely to increase the Essence gain even more. The traps are not the only way of killing the incoming hordes of monsters, you can fight them yourselves. For now you can only have a Sorceress class which is ranged but later two more classes will be added: the Mercenary and the Marksman.

Deathtrap scr03

There are two types of skilltrees in Deathtrap. Firstly you have the skilltree of the traps themselves where you can upgrade passive abilities of the traps but also level up their upgrades. For now, the first tier is only available but the first tier has fifteen traps spread in five types: mystical ground, mechanical ground, mystical tower, mechanical tower and creature traps. Traps in the tiers are unlocked when achieving something great such as killing 500 enemies yourself. Next is the character skilltree which is somewhat smaller in size than the trap skilltree. This skilltree is split in three types: combat skills, trap skills and world skills. Most of these skills also have passive abilities which you can upgrade. Again, there are three tiers in the character’s skilltree. While the skilltrees are quite large in size, the skills do feel quite balanced so far.

Deathtrap skilltree

Deathtrap plays like any other tower defense game but you could compare it easily to the Orcs Must Die! franchises albeit with far better visuals and overall design. As I said before, Deathtrap is not just any tower defense game since it makes use of various RPG elements such as loot that can drop from the creatures and bosses. This brings me to the loot system and the creatures you’ll find in the forests around the maps. Each map has several items that can help you in the long run such as shrines that will give the player a buff for a short duration. I’ve also noticed that certain maps have treasure chests which are mostly being guarded by spirits of the past – hence the eerie sound effects when you walk through the forests. Not only do the treasure chest hint clearly to the Van Helsing games, the loot system does as well. Monsters can drop various health potions but the bigger monsters have a chance of dropping gold, equipment and various precious stones. I’m not entirely sure what the stones will be used for but since the game will feature a crafting system in the near future – I’m positive the stones are materials. The equipment is part of the RPG element of the game since you can fully upgrade your character’s equipment. Not only with the items that fall from the creatures but you can also buy items in the shop with the gold. Again, the shop and the overall design of the equipment screams Van Helsing and somewhat Diablo. The shop does have a special feature since it has a special offer every hour (note that these are in-game hours) but the gear is not always better than what you have equipped.

Deathtrap map editor

The last feature that I will discuss for now is the map editor which is extremely easy to use. In the map editor, you can literally create a whole new level in detail. You can place down chaos portals and gates but also which types of traps. You can fully edit the waves of monsters by having a monster setup and a group editor. The paths the monsters can take is a necessity but you can also edit the waves themselves. All-in-all, there’s a whole lot you can do in the map editor and it is the first editor that I have been able to use without reading up on anything which makes it an even more welcomed feature.


I was able to get a quick glance at Deathtrap in its early stages at Gamescom and the game has come a long way since then. Deathtrap mixed the tower defense genre almost seamlessly with various RPG elements which hopefully will refresh the genre in its whole. The Early Access does feature very few maps and only one class for now but the game is on a good track to become one of my favorite games.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Hi! I'm Jess and I’m a writer, dreamer and gamer at heart since the early ages. I primarily game on PC but occasionally also on PS4 and Xbox One. I have a tiny obsession for World of Warcraft and caterpillars but you may also claim I have a devoted passion for the gaming industry in general. If you want to hit me up, find me on twitter!

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.