Codex Gamicus

Orcs Must Die! is a strategy video game developed by Robot Entertainment. It is a Tower defense game that eschews the traditional top-down view of similar games, instead using a third-person action-oriented viewpoint.[1] After being demonstrated at Penny Arcade Expo East 2011, the game was released via Xbox Live Arcade on October 5, 2011, and for Windows PCs on October 12, 2011.[2]


The story revolves around the Order, an elite faction of wizards and warriors who guard the Rifts, magical openings between the human world and the 'Dead World', which provide a source of magical power throughout both worlds. Using this power, the Order is able to maintain a perfect world for humanity by using magic to manipulate nature. In order to protect the human world, they have constructed magically-empowered fortresses throughout the Dead World to guard the Rifts, particularly from the adversarial faction known as 'the Mob' - a brutish horde of creatures such as Orcs, Ogres and Gnolls which, despite being unintelligent, would otherwise pose a major threat to the human world due to their vast numbers.

After a surprise attack by the Mob, the player character, known only as 'the Apprentice', finds himself as the last living member of the Order, as the Mob appears to have suddenly obtained a surge in both strength and intelligence. Taking it upon himself to defend the human world, he defends the fortresses from the Mob one by one (much to the bewilderment of his teacher, who narrates the storyline). The Apprentice eventually learns that the Mob has been empowered by the Sorceress, a past student of the Order who, despite showing overwhelming potential to help defend humanity, instead chose to seek power for herself and used magic to seize control of the Mob.

As the Mob's attacks become more and more aggressive, the Apprentice eventually chooses to ensure the safety of the human world by stepping back through a Rift and closing them all forever by means of a simple spell. Although this means that the Mob can never reach the human world, it also means that humanity is no longer able to use magic to sustain itself, and the whole world, which has become dependent on magic, begins to deteriorate. In the Dead World, the Sorceress is rendered powerless as the Rifts can no longer provide her with magic, and she is left at the mercy of the Mob, who have been reduced to their original state.


Placing defenses on the The Corner level

At the start of each "Orcs Must Die!" level the player receives a chance to prepare for the horde of orcs to come through (unless you are on the Nightmare difficulty, in which case you have no time to prepare for the horde). The goal of the game is stop the orc horde from reaching the end goal, known as a Rift; if a set amount of orcs reach the goal or the player dies too many times, the level is failed. Players receive a ten second grace period between orc hordes; and in later levels the player receives break points in which it is up to them to Unleash The Horde just like at the start of the level. The player may kill orcs by using weapons, spells and by placing traps; the player may also heal by standing next to the Rift, by collecting health potions that some dead orcs drop, by standing next to specially upgraded Guardians, or by surviving up to a break point.[3]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 83.33 (PC)[4]

81.53 (Xbox 360)[5]

Metacritic 86 (PC)[6]

81 (Xbox 360)[7]

Review scores
Publication Score B+ (Xbox 360)[8]
GameSpot 7.5/10 (PC)[9]

7.5/10 (Xbox 360)[10]

GameSpy 4.5/5 stars (PC)[11]
IGN 9/10[12]
Joystiq 4/5 stars[13]

Joystiq gave it a 4 out of 5 star rating, calling it a finely-tuned whirling chamber of death. IGN gave the title a 9 out of 10 rating, praising the length of the campaign as well as the combat system. It sold over 50,000 units as of year-end 2011.[14]


Main article: Orcs Must Die! 2

Orcs Must Die! 2 was announced by Robot Entertainment on April 2, 2012 and released on July 30, 2012.[15] The sequel includes 2 player co-op with the introduction of a new character, the Sorceress.[16]


  1. Scimeca, Dennis (2011-03-13). PAX East: Orcs Must Die Preview. GamePro. Archived from the original on 2011-12-01 Retrieved on 2011-03-15
  2. Bennett, Colette (2011-02-25). Hands-on: Orcs Must Die!. Destructoid. Retrieved on 2011-03-15
  3. Orcs Must Die! Demo
  4. Orcs Must Die! for PC - GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on 18 October 2011
  5. Orcs Must Die! for Xbox 360 - GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on 18 October 2011
  6. Orcs Must Die! for PC Reviews, Ratings, Credits and More at Metacritic. metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on 18 October 2011
  7. Orcs Must Die! for Xbox 360 Reviews, Ratings, Credits and More at Metacritic. metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on 18 October 2011
  8. Velez, Jason (11 October 2011). Review: Orcs Must Die (360). 1UpGames. Retrieved on 18 October 2011
  9. Orcs Must Die! Review, Orcs Must Die! PC Review - Gamespot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on 18 October 2011
  10. Orcs Must Die! Review, Orcs Must Die! Xbox 360 Review - GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on 18 October 2011
  11. Sharkey, Mike (14 October 2011). Orcs Must Die! - PC - GameSpy. GameSpy. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved on 18 October 2011
  12. IGN: Orcs Must Die Review. Retrieved on 5 October 2011
  13. McElroy, Griffin (5 October 2011). Joystiq: Orcs Must Die review: Building a better Orc trap | JoyStiq. Joystiq. AOL. Retrieved on 18 October 2011
  14. Langley, Ryan (2012-01-20). Xbox Live Arcade by the numbers - the 2011 year in review. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2012-01-23
  15. Hafer, T.J. (2012-06-20). Orcs Must Die 2 announced for July 30 release. Retrieved on 2012-07-04
  16. Haas, Pete (2012-06-20). Orcs Must Die 2 Release Date Confirmed. Retrieved on 2012-06-28