Soulcaster is essentially a tower defense game but, by focusing on fast action and adding some RPG elements, it manages to deliver something quite unique.
The game is set in a fantasy world, with the player taking control of an intrepid adventurer who has been tasked with saving the land from the forces of evil. To aid you in this task you are given a Soul Orb, which can be placed anywhere to summon the soul of and ancient immortal hero.
In the early stages of the game you'll only have access to an archer, who automatically fires arrows at any enemies that come within her range, but you'll soon also be able to summon a warrior, who deals out a lot of damage in close proximity, and an alchemist, who can throw bombs over walls and gaps causing damage to enemies that fall within the blast radius. The summoned heroes stay in the position you placed them until you chose to recall them or until they are killed, while you retain the ability to move freely around the level.

The game structure works like that of a dungeon adventure, with your aim being to explore the levels and find your way to the exit. You'll be under a near constant threat by enemies, which encompass all sorts of types from birds to grim reapers, so you'll need to move fast and place your defenders strategically to avoid being overrun.
Enemies will drop gold when they die, which you can collect and spend in shops. There are various things you can buy, such as upgrades for your warriors, health potions, extra soul orbs, and scrolls that deal damage to all enemies on the screen when used. You can place any combination of heroes you chose so, should you have decided to fully upgrade just one type, you can opt to use as many of that type as you have soul orbs.

The visuals of Soulcaster are all done in a retro style, with simple pixelated graphics, as is the music. This look works well, as it keeps things nice and clear, and gives a somewhat old-school feel to the game.

The action is fast paced, which encourages quick thinking and experimentation, and the levels are varied and packed full of different types of enemies, so you'll need to mix up your strategies as you go along. The pacing and overall difficulty curve are well balanced, allowing first time players to quickly grasp the core concepts, while still maintaining a decent challenge throughout.
The game itself is perhaps a little on the short side but, considering the level of quality, you shouldn't allow that to detract you from buying what is really an exceptional game.

Get Soulcaster on XBox 360
Get Soulcaster on Desura