Tower Defence games have been around for ages. And there have been a fair few games in this genre targetted at the touch-screen mobile platforms. Some have trouble making the controls easy to use, and others have trouble making the graphics engaging and interesting to the player. Let’s see how Defenze Zone fairs…
As with a lot of casual mobile titles, this game is light on the story. In fact it has no story. There are no cutscenes, no introductory video, not even a tutorial included in this game. It doesn’t take any time introducing you to the game itself, or explain any of the controls. You tap on “Start Game”, select a level, and start playing.
This is a bit fo a two-edged sword. While it avoids the potentially cliche and cheesy story lines some casual games adopt, the player is left to fend for themselves; left floundering in the deep end with no knowledge of how they should be playing the game.
I guess if there was a story it would go something like: “Bad guys are approaching our base. Let’s build turrets to defend before they wipe us out,” the basic idea behind any Turret Defence game.
Through exploration, you’ll soon figure out that you can drag the different turrents onto the battlefield in specific areas, and tap on them after they are built to upgrade their stats or sell them.
In the turret’s menu there’s also an attack mode, where you can order it to attack the nearest, strongest, or weakest enemy unit. This is a nice addition to the genre, and really makes you think about your attack strategy on top of the placement of your turrets.
There are 6 turret types you unlock as you progress through the levels, including Machine Gun, Rocket Launcher, and Liquid Nitrogen Thrower (which slows enemies), all of which have their own range, attack damage, and great special effects when they’re firing.
For every unit you kill, you’ll get some money which you can then spend on new turrets or to upgrade the old ones. If you kill a vehicle, one or two foot soldiers will spill out, giving you more fodder to earn a few extra dollars with. For every unit that makes it past your defences you’ll lose a point of health and, of course, if you lose all your health you’ll fail the mission and have to start again.
Each wave is anticipated by a countdown in the top-right of the screen, where it also tells you when a special wave, like a squadron of aircraft or the like is coming. You can also skip the wait and bring on the next wave by hitting a button on the bottom of the screen, next to the pause, fast-forward, and settings buttons.
The maps are varied in setting and layout, and introduce new enemy units you have to deal with. They also get real hard, real fast. For hardcore fans of the genre, they’ll find it a pleasant challenge, but for the casual gamers out there, they’ll find themselves slowly sinking into the pit of dispair as they fail for the 10th time on the thrid level on “easy” mode.
That said, the game really goes above and beyond in terms of production quality, and for however long you manage to play it, it’s a fun ride.
The game also has OpenFeint integration, if you’d like to sign in.
Audio & Visual
The graphics in this game are awesome, especially compared to other games in the genre. Everything’s meticulously pre-rendered in 3D, giving you some great realistic maps to look at.
The weapons, while some are a little sci-fi, look pretty realistic, too. And the special effects are simply awesome! Smoke trails, explosions, blood splatters and lightning bolts abound in this game, making the usual tedium of waiting around to see if the enemies make it through or not into a feast for the eyes, keeping you interested in, even excited about whatever’s happening on-screen. There’s even camera wobbles for the particularly potent explosions, adding to the hightened action style of the game.
The sound effects are top nothc, and match the quality of the effects on-screen perfectly. There is an option in the settings screen to mute the sfx and music, too, though there doesn’t seem to actually be any music to begin with.
This game is probably the best implemented mobile title in the Turret Defence genre in the AppStore. And while the learning curve is steep, if you can stick with it, you’ll be rewarded by more awesome action and special effects blasting your retinas.