What do you mean, you’ve never heard of… Plants vs Zombies
Plants vs Zombies HD : Appearing on almost every current gaming platform, Plants vs. Zombies has experienced phenomenal global success not least because of its quirky take on the classic Tower Defense formula, and its hugely addictive qualities. The premise is that some old duffer has to defend his modest home from waves of brain-hungry zombies by planting a variety of aggressive plants. It’s amusing, beautiful to look at but also very challenging. And it’s by no means a one-trick pony, as there is a selection of mini-games, and a Survival mode for those using the iPad version.
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We’ve all felt like barricading ourselves indoors and setting up weapons and traps to kill any unwanted visitors, right? Andy Dyer looks for alternative ways satisfy such desires
In an excellent example of life imitating art, it seems that the App Store is assailed almost daily by wave after wave of encroaching Tower Defense games, the only way to defend yourself from the onslaught being the deployment of critical judgment and the refusal to part with your hard earned cash. However, it might be time to leave that rapidly crumbling analogy to one side – because there’s no shortage of variety and quality offers for those who fancy a bit of strategic defending in their daily gaming diet.
We’re using Plants vs, Zombies as the hook on which to hang this particular feature, not only because it particularly defines the genre, but also because it’s the most enjoyable) Tower Defense game that money can buy. The iPad’s larger screen grants the HD version that bit more space to breathe, and also comes with an additional survival mode with an extra mini game, albeit with a significant price hike. Either way, once you’ve discovered the joys of Plants vs. Zombies you’ll never see life – or indeed your garden – in quite the same way again. The origins of defense games is hazy, but to developer Com2us’s credit (or shame, depending on which way you look at it), they snapped up the rights to the phrase ‘Tower Defense’, so are the only company able to use the description in full, when referring to their game. Fortunately for them, Tower Defense: Lost Earth is a good offering. It sticks to the classic TD formula insofar as attackers proceed along defined paths, and the skill is in matching tower types to enemies, in order to protect your base. It’s tightly designed, the graphics are colourful yet detailed, and it offers genuinely players of varying abilities. Considering it delivers a huge amount of content for relatively little expense, it is, in some ways, a definitive TD game.
Unstoppable Gorg provokes an unalloyed joy with its lighthearted tone and superb production values, as well as putting a little twist on the formula. Fans of a game called Destroy All Humans will thematically find themselves in familiar territory as this takes its inspiration from 50s sci-fi movies – complete with flickering newsreel footage, chisel jawed heroes and flying saucers. The backdrop is outer space, the twist being that you have to both build satellites to garner energy and then research new technologies. Once placed, you can strategically move your defense satellites around on their orbits, in order for them to be placed in prime positions to take on new threats. It’s undeniably amusing.
Speaking of all things humourous leads us towards Jelly Defense . Here, you’re faced with incredibly cute (but sadly pestilent) jelly monsters of varying hues, which have to be dispatched using a number of organic living towers. Because the enemies and towers are colour-coded, it’s easy to match the tool to the job, making this a good game for novices.
On that note, it’s also worth mentioning Fieldrunners. As with Jelly Defense, it’s pretty basic compared to most TD garrTes, but it’s hugely popular and it’s not difficult to see why. Featuring a single battlefield with no fixed routes and only a handful of weapons, it’s up to the player to deploy items in creative ways in order to outwit the various enemies. The only real two tactics are to create meandering corridors out of towers, and to deploy goo in order to slow down your foes. It may lack depth, but its another perfect entry into Tower Defense gaming.
Alongside these frivolities there are also plenty of hardcore alternatives for the more seasoned gamer. However, just because these next set of games take themselves a little more seriously, doesn’t make them any less enjoyable.
Sentinel 3: Homeworld is strictly for players who want a challenge and like their TD games to come with a topping of extra spicy jalapenos. The premise is the same as ever, defending your base from the oncoming hordes, but there’s a lot more besides. There are several gates between your enemies and your base, so you have to be sure to maintain and defend these barriers at all costs. In which comes the inevitable test, forcing you to fight the battle on several fronts. Also, by earning experience and credits you can level up and purchase new weapons slots and units. Choosing where to deploy your troops lends the game a little more strategic depth than is normally the case. Although not quite as tricky, geoDefense follows a fairly standard formula, but does it well. But come on, anything with lovely glowing vector graphics is worth a look, surely.
In the interests of variety, and because it is, frankly, frickin’ brilliant, we’ve included Anomaly Warzone Earth HD . This turns the whole TD concept on its head with complete role reversal this time it’s you, the player, who takes control of the units trying to reach the base. You’re confronted with a scenario where aliens have invaded earth and set up various defensive units, challenging you to take your military vehicles through the streets, all the while taking out the bad guys. It’s gritty, epic and totally gripping from start to finish – a real must-have title for TD nuts.
Adding any of the aforementioned games to your iTunes app library should result in satisfied smiles all round, but before signing off, there are a few games that deserve an honorable mention.
If fantasy gaming tickles your fancy, then allow us to introduce to you Crystal Defenders HD, a fun and colourful effort from the makers of the Final Fantasy series. Despite the price tag perhaps being a little too much for some, Square Enix fans will doubtless want to consider it. Defenders of Ardania, while flawed, is unique in that as well as erecting towers to defend yourself from the incoming hordes, you can also send your own waves of attackers out to assault your opponent’s stronghold.
Finally, there’s no need to fear if you’re currently reading this and your bank account contains naught but tumbleweed. You could do far worse than Spice Bandits, The Creeps and Tiny Heroes. There is, as you might expect, content that requires in-app purchases, but what is more unexpected is that all three are extremely polished. On top of this, they all contain more than enough free content to keep you going until the coffers full once again.