There are so many tower defense games in the App Store that I’ve been so tired of them. One genre that the iPhone is perfect for is tower defense though, and no amount of ranting or boycotting will prevent more tower defense games from entering the App Store. But when you think the genre is filled, one more seems to sneak in with unimaginable twists, unthinkable by any consumer or even developer. That’s where Dragon Slaughter Episode 1 plays in.
The twist in this game is that your tower starts out as a basic tower with no skills or special powers. Once you start upgrading your tower, gems become available for you to create combinations. Each combination produces special powers to the tower, so theoretically, there are over 30 different types of towers available in the game. Combinations can be found by tapping on the wizard at the end of the map, but what each combination does is for you to find out.
Numerous Types of Towers: There are around 30 different combinations you can make using the 4 gems available in the game. Each combination adds up a different boost to your tower like 15% range increase and 0.5% chance of increasing by one life point. The combinations provided in this game are endless, and I really like this tower defense twist.
Design: The game’s design is very nicely done. This isn’t pertaining to the in-game graphics, but more to the menu designs and loading screens. Level/map select screen is also nicely designed, and I really like the style of the game. The towers themselves also look very detailed and crisp, and rockifone.com did an excellent job with the tower details.
Element Weakness System: The game has a system where the enemies are susceptible to be damaged more by certain types of towers. For example, an enemy will be damaged more by a red tower if it’s weakness is the red crystal. It’s hard to memorize the weaknesses, but once you get it down, you’ll find that the game gets more interesting.
Brutal AI: I found the game to be very, very difficult. This game is only for the tower defense king of kings for the AI is extremely difficult even on the lowest level of difficulty. The strategy that is needed in this game is extremely difficult to discover as there are hundreds of different combinations, and around 30 resulting in bonuses.
Lack of Detail In Opponents: I found the opponents to be very lacking in detail, and although the towers are nicely done, the detail in the enemies are sorely lacking. You can barely make out a leg and an arm here and there, but other than that, details are inadequate.
Tower Placement: The tower building mechanic used in this game is extremely hard to use, and it feels like my finger is a mouse. To place you tower, touch the screen and drag the tower toward the spots marked in green. I found that when trying to upgrade a tower, the game would register it as building a new tower if there was empty space next to the already built tower. Although I do like the idea, execution is poorly done to make building towers more of a frustration to the game.
Lack of Enemies: The game is said to include a total of 15 enemies, but each level only contains around 3 different types of enemies. As the game progresses, 3 types of enemies is definitely not enough to keep a player interested, and I’m getting pretty tired of the repetitiveness.
Dragon Slaughter is, overall, a great tower defense game but some factors prevent the game from going forward. Great tower defense idea and great twist, but the AI is just way too difficult for gamers. I found the AI to be even harder than geoDefense, and I found myself failing the first level over and over again. Gameplay balance does need a bit of tweaking, and in the current state, the game is worth a look only to the best contenders.
Dragon Slaughter Episode 1 was developed by rockifone.com, and the price is $0.99. I played through version 1.0 on my 1st generation iPhone. There is also a free version available to try before you buy.