Tag Archives: Castle Defense

Swords And Soldiers Review: Vikings, Aztecs, and Chinese; What More Could you Ask For?

Two Tribes’s all new castle defense game Swords and Soldiers comes into the App Store after being mysteriously shrouded in secrecy; from what I can remember, most of the pre-release information were teasers.

But after playing around with the final release, I can’t say I’m not happy.

With some great, cartoon artwork and an addictive gameplay, Swords and Soldiers should keep you busy for quite a while.

But one aspect of the game really keeps me from giving this a perfect score, and that’s the gameplay balancing.  While the beginning of the game is more or less pretty easy, as the levels progress, the difficulty becomes way too much for gamers such as myself to handle.

It has led to a sense of frustration at times, and if I didn’t want to review the game, I would have quit playing a long time ago.

The gameplay is great for a while, but when it gets difficult, it’s hard to stay happy.

Likes

Artwork: The cartoony artwork is very well done, and I have to commend Two Tribes’s artist(s) for this artistic marvel.  I am in love with the artwork, and again, props to the artists.

Attitude/Atmosphere: The whole atmosphere of Swords and Soldiers is somewhat ridiculous — in a good way — along with being just plain silly.  There’s enough serious in here though, so you won’t exactly be laughing your head off.  Still, it’s silly enough so that you’ll actually feel a lot more laid back playing this rather than a lot of other games out there.

Dislikes

Gameplay balancing: I somewhat ranted about this in the beginning, and this is really my only dislike for the game.  Everything else is great; this part of the game, though, really cripples a lot of the game experience.  It looks great, plays great for the first few levels, and it feels just so enlightening.  But once those difficult levels set in, there’s really nothing but frustration awaiting. 

Swords and Soldiers could just be the next best castle defense game on the App Store.  But the gameplay balancing really needs some tweaking as does some of the difficulty; with those fixed, I would be more than happy to slap a Must Have rating on Swords and Soldiers.  But still, it’s a solid game for those looking for something new to play.

Swords and Soldiers was developed by Two Tribes and published by Chillingo, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $2.99.

‘Bug Heroes’ Review: Inventive, Addictive, and Just Plain Crazy-Fun

‘Bug Heroes,’ by Foursaken Media, quite simply deserves to be on every iGamer’s device.  Its gameplay is a wickedly fun hybridization of the dual-stick shooter and castle-defense genres, with light RPG leveling-up elements.  Admittedly dual-stick shooters and castle-defense games have been around on the App Store for what feels like forever, but ‘Bug Heroes’ combines its various gameplay elements with such a masterful touch that it seems almost in a league of its own.  If you want to stop reading this review right now and go ahead and buy the game, I would endorse that decision.  😉

‘Bug Heroes’ is a pick-up-and-play game on the surface, but there is so much depth to the gameplay that a good session in Adventure Mode might literally take an hour once you get the hang of the game.  In Adventure Mode, the player controls a trio of heroic bugs, an ant, a spider, and a beetle, and leads them in the perpetual battle to protect their stash of food against a never-ending horde of enemy bugs.  You control only one of the three bugs at a time, although you’re able to switch freely between them as much as you like and they all bring unique skills to the team.  Alternately, you can choose Coliseum Mode, where you control one of the three heroes against a never-ending horde, without having to worry about the additional complexities of defending a food stash.  When your food stash is entirely eaten by enemy bugs, or all three of your heroes are killed in battle, it’s “game over.”

Your demise is inevitable (and you never really ‘win’), but you have a wide arsenal of upgrades for your characters and to build turrets for your base, leaving you with the constant task of gathering food, dispatching wave after wave of vicious enemy bugs, and strategically upgrading your resources in order to set high scores.  Nearly every aspect of the game is highly polished, and the wide variety of skills, upgrades, and turrets rewards experimenting with new strategies.  The tone of the game is wacky and fast-paced, and between several arenas, two different game modes, three levels of difficulty, three different heroes (all with their own unique strengths and weaknesses), and many different types of enemies with their own strengths and vulnerabilities, there is a huge amount of variety to enjoy.

Likes

Two Classic Flavors that Taste Great Together: Quite frankly, before I played this game I had gotten a bit tired of both dual-stick shooter games and castle-defenders altogether.  Sure, these are styles of games which lend themselves very well to the touch-screen interface, but by now I thought there was relatively little room for innovation within these genres.  ‘Bug Heroes’ is enough to prove I might have been wrong because the developers have managed to merge these two styles into an excitingly fresh and addictive treat, much like the mad scientists who first combined peanut butter and chocolate back in days of yore.  Giving the player multiple characters to fight with and manage, as well as the food stash (the ‘castle’ that you defend in this game) provides a unique twist to the usual dual-stick action shooter formula that we’ve all become used to.  I also like how your food stash doubles as your main supply of health in the game’s main mode, Adventure Mode.  This creates an interesting dynamic, because you must protect the stash above all else, but you also have to know when to dip into it to give a much-needed health boost to your team.  All in all, the gameplay is just dynamic and fun, and I obviously get a little verbose in trying to describe just how awesome it really is.

Charmingly Detailed Graphics: This game reminds me of playing a Pixar movie in the palm of my hand.  The environments are impressive to behold, and all the character models are lovingly rendered with a huge level of personality and detail.  Even playing on a 2nd generation iPod touch, which only allows me to select the lowest level of graphical detail possible, this is a visually striking game with a lot of character and appeal.

Memorable Protagonists & Vile Villains: I guess it’s a little dorky, but if the three insect heroes from this game were real, I would totally keep them in an extra-large Mason jar in my room just so I could hang out and watch their goofy antics.  Which is my way of saying they’re pretty cool, and I enjoy the variety that having three protagonists brings to the game.  While the beetle has the highest armor and is best at controlling swarms of less powerful enemies with a stick he uses as a club, the spider is best for one-on-one combat, since she is quick and capable of dealing out massive critical damage with the blades she wields with her four front arms.  Meanwhile, the ant is a very strategic character who not only has the only ranged attack of all three of your heroes, firing with a machine gun, but he also has a lot of team-player type skills, such as healing your team in small increments or laying mines and miniature turrets around the battlefield to control the swarms.  Managing your team and coming up with a strategy for each level is essential to doing well in this game, and there are a wide variety of tactical choices you can make.

The enemies are also a lot of fun.  There are hordes of army helmet wearing ants with pistols and fleas with knives chasing you down at every turn, and never-ending hordes of grubs who go straight after your food stash, disregarding you entirely.  Then there are the bigger, meaner baddies who range hilariously from grenade-launcher-wielding cockroaches, to lady-bugs swinging huge clubs, to queen ants (who boost all the other ants on the field to dangerous levels), to poison-spitting slugs, heavily armored snails, and finally all the way up to vicious scorpions and voracious centipedes who can wipe out your food stash in about three good bites.  There’s an impressive variety of enemies, I’m even leaving a few types out of the list.  Some levels also have a huge indestructible enemy that roams the environment, attacking you or the hostile bugs indiscriminately.  These are a toy robot in the playroom stage, and a house-cat in the back yard stage.  They can create a lot of havoc, but they’re pretty easily outmaneuvered, so you can manage to use these as additional defense with a little crafty gameplay.  Basically… it’s a lot of fun.

Room for More in Updates: Maybe this is just me being greedy, but I’d love to see the developers give us even more bang for our proverbial buck in future updates.  There is a wide range of stuff they could expand on, such as giving us more levels in either Adventure Mode or Coliseum Mode, more skills for the three protagonists, more types of turrets and base upgrades, more enemy types, and perhaps even more heroes to unlock.  (I for one, think it would be really cool if we could play as this “Bruce Flea” that they mention in one of the unlockable ‘history scrolls’ that you get from some of the side quests.  (Double parenthetical: that’s right, there’s also side quests.  Seriously, just buy this game already.  For two dollars, it’s insane.))  The game is already pretty close to perfect, but a little extra content in a free update never hurt.  So if anyone out there from Foursaken Media is listening, more please.

Dislikes

No GameCenter: My only major gripe won’t even be an issue for much longer, since the developers have already responded to user requests for GameCenter integration, and they’re promising it in a future update.  It’s really a no-brainer in a game like this, which hinges on addictive high-score action gaming elements, and I’m looking forward to it.  The developers have already shown very fast turnaround time in giving us an update that fine-tuned the controls and squashed several bugs that caused the game to crash after long extended play, and are showing themselves to be very responsive to users’ critiques.  So, even in my dislikes section, I must once again issue some well-deserved kudos.

In short, this is the first superb new iOS game of the new year.  I sincerely hope this review convinces at least a few people to head on over to the App Store and give it a download.  This is a truly creative, well-designed, highly polished, and downright enjoyable game, and I think it deserves to be a big hit.  In short, it’s what I’d call a…

Bug Heroes was developed by Foursaken Media, and I played through version 1.0.1 on my iPod touch 2G.  The price is $1.99.

Hands-on Preview of ‘Legendary Wars’, Releasing Soon

Legendary Wars by Liv Games is one of those games that is a long time in the making. The game has come a long way since its conception in a garage, the development team toiled for months, but in the end, the wait for the consumer will be most definitely worth it. A castle defense hybrid that brings in RPG elements to the lane tower defense style made infamous by Plants vs Zombies, throw in some real-time strategy for good measure and Legendary Wars will hook you from the start.

Once you pick up your jaw from the popping graphics, you will find a very polished game. After you send your miner to collect gems for you to buy troops you are in business. To make things interesting and different, the miner somehow has access to different colored gems in every world. It’s a little touch, but one that shows the creativeness of the developers. It reaps polish and charm. And it is those little touches that has this game standing head and shoulders above the crowd.

Goals of each level are different, whether you need to just sit and defend the onslaught of enemies that include everything from zombies to vampires and everything in between, storm the enemy castle, or even protect one leader or another from harm. Mixed in with these levels are short quests that amount to a running with a purpose mini-game. Make your way through these levels by jumping obstacles, slaying enemies, tag teaming with your allies and more. They serve as an excellent change of pace. Another way Liv Games attempts to keep the game constantly fresh and new.

Be sure to visit the armory in between levels to upgrade your units, upgrade your castle and when the time comes, equip your heroes with armor. Lots goes on in the well planned and laid out armory so be sure to explore every nook and cranny. Use your hard earned gems here and if you find yourself outmatched, replay a level to earn more coins (at a reduced rate from your first playthrough however).

Impressive are the types of allies you will have access to as you move along in the game. One of my favorite moments was having my unicorn spew rainbows to defeat bats and vampires. But you will also collect wizards and more. Though I have not finished the first playthrough, I am told there are surprises to be found on a second and third time around, making this game have an incredible amount of content.

The time that it has taken Liv Games to perfect this game is evident. Almost a year in the making, the development team is still open to improvements and tweaks. Listening to the feedback from testers they have recently implemented many changes even at this late stage to create the perfect experience for the user. Never is a question too inconsequential for them to take the time to return an email promptly. Very impressive is this endeavor. And if the care and love that is being shown during development is any indication of the maintenance after release, the game will continue to grow and blossom.

Look for the release of Legendary Wars by Liv Games on the AppStore soon!

Destroy9 and Destroy9 Alien FREE Today

Naomicsoft’s Destroy9 and Destroy9 Alien are FREE today. Defense games with a sci-fi theme, the games pit Earth forces against alien invaders. Players take control of the Earth forces in Destroy9, and the aliens in Destroy9 Alien.

Borrowing from the castle defense genre, the player’s task is to send out various types of soldiers in an attempt to overwhelm the enemy, who is doing the same. The ultimate goal is to penetrate the enemy’s front line and destroy their ship before they do the same to you. What makes Destroy9 really cool, though, is that players can designate any soldier as their Leader, taking direct control over that unit on the field. A simple castle defense game suddenly becomes and action title, as you control your fighter while constantly deploying additional forces for support.

Both Destroy9 and Destroy9 Alien are well worth checking out for the reasonable price of FREE. Get’em while you can!

Dinosaur Slayer: What if Patapon was a Castle Defense game?

Project Soul takes on the challenge of creating a stand-out castle defense game among the seemingly endless supply being churned out on the app store with its game Dinosaur Slayer.  Like all the rest, your tasked with surviving wave after wave of enemies increasing in difficulty and quantity.  Where the game makes itself stand out are the boss fights, which are both challenging and rewarding.  There is also an incredibly deep upgrade system that allows you to pick and choose which upgrades to purchase when, given a limited amount of funds.  To further complicate your task, your men require food to maintain, which must be purchased or earned through “tanning” the dead dinosaurs or else they will starve to death.

Likes

Art Style: If you’ve ever played Patapon, you are in for a familiar treat.  The art is clearly influenced by Patapon, which given the almost total lack of clones, makes the game very eye catching and for the average gamer a feast for the eyes.  Each dinosaur type is mostly black with a unique color pattern that not only makes them stand out more, but helps the player to immediately identify which monster is approaching.  Simply a perfect blend of style and substance with an air of simplicity that can’t be beat.

Gameplay: The variety of dinosaurs and the many ways to kill them gives the player so much variety that before you know it you’ve worked you way up to the next boss.  Then, you’re treated to an incredibly fun fight where you can try to deflect incoming attacks and use specific weapons at specific times and weak points to inflict maximum damage, all while staring in awe at the gorgeous giant boss trying to destroy your castle.

Sound Effects: The screeching sound of a dinosaur dying never gets old.  On the whole, the sound effects are crisp and sound great coming out of the iPhone speaker.  A little more variety in the sounds themselves would have been nice though.

Dislikes

Music: The title menu music is just epic enough without overselling the game.  With the exception of a short drum beat to open each level, there is no music to speak of during gameplay.  The lack of a nice score (or any at all for that matter) is a sure miss and one I hope the developers will fix in an update.  At the very least a special soundtrack for the boss fights would have really helped up the tension and improve the experience.

While the lack of music definitely does nothing to enhance the game, there is already so much high quality content that Dinosaur Slayer is without a doubt a must have for its magnificent art style and surprisingly deep and enjoyable combat system.

Dinosaur Slayer was developed by Project Soul, and I played through version 1.2 of the game on my iPod Touch 3G (OS 3.1.2).  The current price point of the game is $0.99.