Real time base defense games have generated quite a following in the iOS gaming world. Cartoon Wars was my, and probably a whole lot of other’s, first foray into this genre. Even though there’s not a whole lot of variety throughout the genre, they really seem to sell well, and are almost always fairly addicting. I recently was able to get my hands on Funny Hell, developed by Fazen and published by the ever popular Bulkypix.
Like others in the genre, Funny Hell has you sending out various characters to battle the enemy. However, in Funny Hell, you’re given a mission or two at the beginning of each stage, which does set it slightly apart from other titles. The first 10 of 50 levels, that are split up across 5 different worlds, each leading you closer to the center of ’hell’, and each having an available 3 ‘skull‘ ranking, are set up like tutorial levels, adding another character to the line-up, and getting you acquainted with the enemies, and gameplay in general. Most of these levels are completed when you send out a certain number of characters, or kill a certain amount of enemies. After this, the gameplay picks up fairly quickly, with the first real stage’s mission having you survive for 3 minutes and 30 seconds, which, believe it or not, can prove to be quite the challenge, not often, but sometimes to a frustrating extent. There are more of these mission type levels as you progress throughout the game, having you save up a certain amount of coinage, or kill a certain amount of one type of enemy. It does add some extra strategy behind the already fairly strategic gameplay. Each of your characters has a certain ability, generally either shooting a projectile, or having a strong attack. There are some which both fire projectiles and melee attack, but cost more as well. You will need to go through some trial and error figuring out which enemies require which units to be sent out to ensure the most possible damage is done, but once you figure it out, deciding when on the battle field they should come into contact with each other also becomes part of the strategy. You’re able to build an offensive attacking stone type character on the side of your base, which tosses projectiles out, but only within a certain range. If you’re having trouble with some enemies, sometimes waiting for them to make it down towards your base so that you can also attack with that stone character is the best course of action. It makes for some challenging, and entertaining gameplay.
There is no upgrade store, which is kind of upsetting, but as you progress through the game,
Funny Hell is controlled like most other base defense titles, tapping on the units you want to send out, which are located at the bottom of the screen, and swiping anywhere else on the screen to scroll left and right. There are also coins which pop up randomly as you are battling, and they bounce along the ground, disappearing fairly quickly, and are picked up by tapping on them. This might become a problem for some gamers, because as the coins are bouncing, sometimes in the heat of the moment, you can wind up trying to tap on a coin, and end up tapping on a unit to be sent out since they are directly beneath the bouncing coins, and when it happens, it can be incredibly frustrating.
The graphics and animations are fantastic. Graphics-wise, the game is fairly cartoony, and very vibrant with loads of color. The character and enemy designs are done very well, and fit the extremely vibrant cartoon looking environments to a “T”. The animations for attacking, movement, falling objects, coins bouncing around, death, they’re all fantastic, really adding quite a bit to the entertainment. The BGM that’s included with the game brings it all together to create one hell of a great base defense game.
Funny Hell is definitely a release that deserves it’s $2.99 price tag, and then some. Being universal, and coupled with incredible replay value, emphasized by the addition of GameCenter leaderboards for Coins, Killed Monsters, and Skulls, along with an incredible 60 achievements to try and unlock. There’s quite a bit of challenge here, especially if you go ahead and try and grab 3 skull rankings on each stage. Having missions for each of the stages does bring some originality to the game, which is great to see within the base defense genre. It looks like December is a great month for Bulkypix publications. Fazen has created an extremely polished, and well produced title, and I can’t wait to see what they bring iOS gamers in the future!
As I said in our review for the Bulkypix title, Funny Hell, base defense games have gained quite a bit of fans in the AppStore. The iDevice is a prefect platform for the genre, and almost all of them do well in the AppStore, because the genre has such a dedicated following. However, it’s hard to find one that brings something new and original to the table. Here’s where Soma Games (developers of Bok Choy Boy and a favorite of mine, G: Into The Rain) picks up at with their release of Wind Up Robots, a base defense game with a fantastic story, loads of polish, an awesome upgrade system, and great gameplay. You’ll control various robots that have been built by Jack, the grandfather of a young boy named Zach. These robots are used to vanquish the darkness that dwells within the world. You’ll use them to guard Zach of the evil that’s trying to get at him while he sleeps.
In order to do this, you’ll need to equip your robot box with the robots that you want to use for the stage. As you progress through the game, more robots are added to your arsenal. Once you have your set-up, and start the level, each of the robots are shown at the bottom of the screen. To select them, all you need to do is tap on them, and then tap on where you want them to go on the bed where Zach’s sleeping. While you do this, evil creatures will start spawning at the end of the bed, and will be making their way towards you. If you end up placing your robots on the edges of the bed, you might just miss the evil creatures walking in the middle, so it’s best to have them placed more towards the head of the bed, at least at first. With this lay-out, you risk not being able to defeat the creatures before they run into Zach’s head, taking away his “Z’s”. So in the beginning of the game, there is quite a bit of risk/reward, and strategy in where you place your robots. After a couple levels, you can start using the shop to upgrade your robots with the coins that are picked up as you defeat enemies in-game. Here, you can increase their attack, defense, speed, and more, making it easier to place them in various places around the bed, not needing to risk them passing you and running directly into Zach. The money you collect, as well as the upgrades you purchase also carry over to a new game, which is awesome. If the game becomes too difficult, starting over can drastically decrease the challenge depending on how upgraded your robots are. This comes in handy, especially when younger kids are playing.
On top of the Story Mode, there is also a Quick Play Mode, in which you’re able to play through each of the levels which you’ve already been to in the Story Mode, as well as a Survival Level for each of the 4 rooms that you’ll be playing in. This helps bring the replay value up significantly.
The graphics and animations in Wind Up Robots are incredibly well done. They create an atmosphere that totally immerses gamers in to the gameplay. Considering the monsters only come out at night, you will be playing in dark rooms throughout the game, but because of this, the robots bight colors, and the light given off by them while taking care of the creatures, really stands out in a fantastic way. It’s not so dark that you are unable to see the objects found throughout the rooms, which is great, because they really give you the feeling that this is a house with a young boy living in it. Really, the game’s graphics and animations remind me of Disney movies, Toy Story in particular. The music is also a great addition to the atmosphere of the game, bringing the entire gameplay experience around, full-circle, making it an incredibly smooth, polished, fun game to get yourself wrapped up in.
For $0.99, and the game being Universal, it’s a fantastic buy. GameCenter is included, with 4 leaderboards for the Quick Play Survival Levels, adding even more replay value to the game. There are also 22 achievements to try and unlock, which also throws quite a bit of replay value at ya. The gameplay is suited for both adults, and kids, though it can get pretty challenging, which is where the carried over upgrades comes into play. If you’re a fan of base-defense games, and are looking for something new and original, Wind Up Robots is a perfect title to pick up. Soma Games has done an incredibly good job, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in the future, both with updates for Wind Up Robots, and for future games they might end up releasing!
Casual games with a story don’t really come around too often, and casual games with a long, deep, and well thought out story are pretty much non-existent. This is where Parogames Limited breaks the mold with their recently released title, Parodise. In this action/defense swiping game, you’ll learn about Parodise, your main character, Dumy-667, his supposed partner, Dumy-666, as well as his… boss, Yody, GOD, and Doomy.
To get through each day in Parodise, you’ll need to defend yourself against Doomy, a Dumy who has changed due to an insane amount of bottled up negative emotions, who will constantly be throwing objects at you. To do this, you’ll need to swipe on either the left, right, or both sides of Dumy-667, slicing each of these objects in two with your swords, but waiting until they get as close to your body as you can. Each object you successfully slice will add to your Soul Absorber, which, when full, will let you perform a super slash move that slices all the objects on the screen. Each time you get hit, you’ll loose one of two flames burning on the Holy Fire Defense System. Loose both flames and get hit again, and you’ll have to replay the level, but if you loose a flame, then slice an object, adding to your Soul Absorber, it will re-light the flame. Starting to sound confusing? Just wait until you really get into the story. Along with the Story Mode, there’s also a DOJO Mode, Hardcore Mode, Master Mode, and Panties Mode, each of which is unlocked by completing certain objectives in the previous Mode, thought these can be pretty challenging, and time consuming to unlock, once you do, it adds endless replayabilty to the game.
The graphics in Parodise are done in a nice and polished cartoony theme, with pretty interesting environments. The animations for all of the objects are done very well, adding loads of personality to the game, and everything in it. The music and effects give the game that real casual type feeling, and placed on top of the action filled gameplay actually fits perfectly with the game. This casual game with a deep, humorous, and profound story.
GameCenter is supported, with 63 achievements, and 4 leader boards, one for each of the unlockable Modes. There’s not a whole lot of replay value in the Story Mode, but with 4 endless Modes, there’s plenty to replay. Parodise is $1.99, and Universal, and right now is on sale for $0.99. This has quickly become one of my personal favorite casual games, and is so easy to recommend to everyone, hardcore gamers to casual gamers, this game will satisfy you in ways you never thought a casual game could. It’s addictive, funny, serious, challenging, and after the first couple days and little bit of story, you’ll start feeling for Dumy-667, feeling bad for him, rooting for him, and wondering what the hell is going on, all at the same time. This is one game no one should miss out on. Parogames has shown us with their first iOS release, that they are in this for the long haul, and are willing to put more work into their game than almost every other casual game developer.
Line drawing and tower defense genres really seem to go together quite well from the couple of titles that merge these two genres I’ve been able to check out. Phoenix Defense Force, Boom Brigade, A.I.R. Defense, Into The Blue, and the ever popular Axe In Face come to mind, and now fans of the genre have another game to add to that short list of incredibly well done line drawing/TD games; Anthill: Tactical Trail Defense, by Image & Form International.
To start things off, the graphics and animations. I&F has done an amazing job creating some very vibrant and layered environments. You get an idea of this right when you get to the main menu. The very well done environments match the equally well done bug models and animations. It’s actually so well done that you might end up finding yourself just staring at the screen watching them move around. The bugs are also very colorful, matching the vibrancy of the environments perfectly. It’s easy to tell that a lot of time and effort went into making the movement, look, and flow of everything within the game just right. To top it off, the music is Disney-esque, and almost like something that would have fit very well within A Bug’s Life. It compliments the atmosphere and feeling of the game perfectly.
Now onto the gameplay. You start out looking down at an anthill, surrounded by shrubbery. The tutorial is well explained, learning the basic mechanics in the first level, and then new mechanics when new units are added. You’ll need to draw a line from the top of your anthill to your desired location, and then decide what units to send out on that line. You’ll need to constantly collect food in order to send out more units, and there is almost always a leaf close-by that you can snag about 100 food points from over a short amount of time. So to start things off, you’ll usually draw a line from your anthill to that leaf, and then decide to send out your collector ants on that line. They will go out to the leaf, and start bringing the food back to the anthill. Now, to keep those ants safe, you’ll need to drag your finger across the screen, or pinch to zoom in and out, to scan the area for enemy bugs that will kill your worker ants and deprive you of food. Once you find out where those bugs are coming from, or where they might come from, you’ll need to draw another line starting from the top of the anthill to an intersecting point between the bugs and the worker ants, and then send out your attacker ants. These guys will kill whatever bugs are encroaching on your territory, and leave their bodies for your worker/collector ants to pick up and take back to the hill. So after your attacker ants have cleared out an area of enemies, you’ll draw another line to their bodies, and choose the collector ants to pick them up, and take them back to the anthill for some major food points. Once you’re done with a line, you hold down on it, and select the “X” that pops up. You are able to draw as many lines as you want, but the more you draw, the more spread out our available ants will become, so it’s best to erase the lines you no longer need in a timely fashion. You can also use bomber ants, who fly out of the anthill, and drop goo wherever you tap on the battlefield. A direct hit with the goo can kill an enemy instantly, but to do this, you’ll need to hit a moving target who has the ability to change direction at any point in time. Which brings us to the AI. Each of the bugs behaves differently. This makes learning how each of your enemies moves, and attacks essential in taking them out successfully.
After each level, you’re given a star ranking based on how many points you’ve collected throughout the level. This is more important than usual because you can then use these stars to upgrade your ants. The speed of the collector ants, brutality of the attacker ants, and more. If you don’t want to battle it out to gain stars, you can purchase them through an IAP, 20 stars for $0.99, which can upgrade your ants quite a bit, but it’s not necessary, and the game isn’t pushed toward you buying the stars at all. The difficulty is set just right, and you can replay levels to earn stars that you didn’t earn the first time through. You can not, however, re-earn stars, so if you got all the stars available in a level, you can not replay it and earn those stars to use for upgrades again.
Anthill: TTD is GameCenter enabled, and has leader boards for all 21 of the levels that are spread across the 3 different environments. There’s also a leader board for your total score, which combines all of your best level scores. Having a board for each of the levels, as well as a star ranking that gives you stars for upgrades does add quite a bit of replay value to the game, especially if you’re a high-score chaser. With the game at $2.99, and on sale right now for $1.99, and being Universal, it’s a great buy for the amount of content and gameplay you’ll get. If you’re a fan of line drawing or tower-defense games, this is one that looks beautiful, and has an insane amount of strategic elements. The controls are nice and tight, and really, everything within the game is so professionally done that it’s hard to not call it one of the best, if not the best line drawing tower defense title available for the iOS.
Anthill: Tactical Trail Defense gets a perfect score of 10 out of 10.
Infinite Dreams is giving away Jelly Invaders to celebrate the release of their highly anticipated game, Jelly Defense, to be released this Thursday, September 29th. In the game, you press down on your little defender jelly on the bottom of the screen in order to make him shoot. There are two modes – Tactical; which is sort of a mixture of bubble shooter and arcade defense shooter. You have a bar at the top of the screen which lets you know what color shot you’ll have, and you’ll need to match the colored shot with the different colored enemies. Once they make it to the bottom of the screen, taking your crystals, it’s game over.
There’s also a Survival Mode, which lets you fire constantly at falling enemies, no matter their color. However, different colored enemies require different amounts of firepower to take them out. As in Tactical Mode, once the jellies hit the bottom of the screen, taking your crystals, the game is over.
Both modes include power-ups and multipliers to help you get the best score possible. Jelly Invaders was actually the very first Infinite Dreams game I ever got, and ever since, I’ve been hooked on their releases. So while it’s free, I highly recommend you check it out. There’s also other Jelly apps by Infinite Dreams that are available for free – including the Talking Jelly Clock (click to download) – and Jelly Chronicles (click to download) which is a “find the difference” game. Also, remember to keep an eye open for Jelly Defense, the new jelly Tower Defense game, coming out on the 29th!
Wildlings is a new arcade tap defense game from Metamoki, Inc. In it, you will need to use different parent Wildlings to keep evil creeps away from your babies, while collecting sun-power, using power-ups, and finding pieces of each ship that will let you travel to the next world, and get the Wildlings to their final destination. It might sound a little cheesy, but as it turns out, it’s a very good game with plenty of strategic elements to keep even the most hardened defensive gamer on their toes.
To start it off, you’re given 1 slightly week bird to protect 3 babies in their nest. To move the bird around, you just tap on the screen where you want the bird to move to. To make the bird attack an enemy, you just need to tap on it. There are some cases where a group of enemies will come towards the nest, and to deal with those, you’ll just need to tap on one of the enemies, and then your bird will attack the whole group, one by one. Each enemy that’s killed drops a certain amount of sun power, depending on how strong they are. Some enemies will take multiple taps in order for them to be defeated, and tapping repeatedly makes the parent Wildling attack and move quicker and more ferociously. The babies in the nest also drop sun power, but on a timed schedule, usually only dropping 2 to 4 sun pieces in each level. Collecting the sun power is essential for using your power-ups, once they’re unlocked, and are needed to unlock the Wildling’s final destination, which requires a total of 3,000 sun points to unlock. Sun points that you do not use on power-ups in each level are stored, and put towards this 3,000 point total, or you can unlock the final destination with an IAP that’s $0.99.
There are 3 different worlds, each with 15 levels. These 3 worlds each have different enemies, and different Wildlings that you’ll need to use to protect the nests. Each world is also varied with the environments, giving you a different feeling each time you move to the next one. After each level, you’re given an item. These items are either a new power-up, a new parent Wildling to help you protect the babies, or a piece of a boat that you will need in order to move on in the game. There’s also a 3 star rating for each level, one for completing the level, one for not loosing any babies, and one for completing the level without having the nest touched. You are able to retrieve your babies if they’re taken by attacking the evil creep that took it, but if you loose all 3 babies, it’s game over.
The power-ups also change as you move on throughout the worlds. In the first world, you’ll get a dust-storm power-up, and a cherry bomb power-up. The dust storm makes it so that none of the enemies can see, and then can’t move for a short period of time, and costs 5 sun points, while the cherry bomb destroys all the enemies in play, and costs 20 sun points. As you move on, you’ll collect different power-ups, one cheap and good for holding off or sunning large groups of enemies, and one expensive, good for getting rid of enemies when there’s too many of them.
The graphics in Wildlings are very polished, and look great. Along with the animations for each of the different babies, parents, and enemies, it looks, and feels very professional. Each of the different environments are colored extremely well, and everything in play really stands out when set against them. When you use the power-ups, these animations also look great, from the dust storms and explosions to the lava pits and big earth slam.
Metamoki, Inc. has done a great job with creating a world for the Wildlings, and making that world a blast to play in. The tapping mechanics work extremely well, and the added strategy of needing to know what enemies pose the biggest threat, move quickly, and need to be taken out before other enemies also fills the game with quite a bit of action. The game looks and feels great, and you can tell that a lot of work has gone into the game. It is supported by GameCenter, but the leader board is a total of the number of sun points you’ve collected. This is my only complaint about the game because pretty much, the #1 spot is held by the person that’s put the most time into the game. Theoretically, the #1 spot could be a person that just replayed the first 5 levels over and over again, and these types of leaderboards usually turn people off, because it pretty much guarantees that the first person that bought the game, or the person that has more free time will rule the #1 spot instead of the best player, and is almost like having a leaderboard for the amount of time you‘ve been playing. There are also no achievements, which makes the GameCenter integration kind of flimsy. But in the end, $0.99 is a great price for this game, and it’s one that will give you plenty of gameplay, and entertainment, and is great for gamers of all ages, while still keeping it’s challenging gameplay in tact.
LightGuardian is a new 3D defense game, and the first iOS release, from Lukas Penkava. It’s definitely a different type of game, as I’ve never seen or played anything like it. You’ll control a light tower’s light while blimps come flying towards you. In order to take the blimps down, you’ll need to focus your light on them, heating them and blowing them up.The controls are kind of hard to get use to, but once you do, they work so well, and I really can’t think of a better way the game could be controlled. To move your light tower’s light, you place your finger on the section of the tower that’s right under the light, and drag it around. Up for down, down for up, right for left and left for right. This type of control, combined with the camera control that’s movable 360 degrees, and up and down, moving the camera in the direction you want it to move; ie, dragging up moves the camera up, dragging left moves the camera left, and so on – can get a little confusing at first. Dragging left to move the camera left, then needing to drag right to move the light left will take some getting use to, but after you do, it feels perfect and natural. This is another original aspect I haven’t seen before in any other game. Original controls, and original gameplay is risky for a developers first AppStore release, but Lukas Penkava has pulled it off flawlessly.
The game is set up as an endless arcade type game, where you’ll go through wave after wave of incoming blimps. There are different types of blimps, some taking longer to kill than others. With them coming at you in every direction, there’s a bit of strategy thrown in, as you’ll need to decide, quickly, which blimps are posing the biggest threat. You’re given a radar that helps you know when enemies are getting close to you. When it’s green, most enemies are far away, yellow means they’re getting close, and red means you’re in trouble, and need to deal with a blimp IMMEDIATELY.
One thing that might bother people when they first start is that the radar does not show dots, or where the blimps are. It just lets you know if a blimp is getting close. However, moving around, up, and down in the 360 degree play-field, constantly looking around trying to see where blimps are, what type they are, and trying to figure out how close they are, and how big of a threat they pose is a huge part of the gameplay. Having a radar that shows you exactly where every blimp is would take away a lot from the mechanics of the game, and really, take away a lot of the fun and challenge.
Taking down 4 blimps will get you a light bomb, which shows up as a tab in the lower left corner. This light bomb will take out any enemies that are in your radar’s red zone, so using it when you can’t find a blimp, or are overpowered with blimps is great. There’s also items that some enemies drop. A bolt, and a green gem. Bolts signify parts, and collecting a certain number will make your light house ray stronger. It might take a while to level up, as getting to level 2 takes 40 parts, and that number increases as the level goes up, but you can only reach level 4, so taking a while to level up is understandable. Collecting 3 gems will give you a charged light ray that lasts for a short period of time. When it’s available, a green icon appears in the lower right corner of the screen, and when activated, it turns your ray green. This is good for taking out some of the stronger blimps that you’ll encounter, and can do away with the weaker ones pretty easily. The bolts and green gems are automatically picked up when you hit them with your light ray.
The graphics in LightGuardian are very nice. The whole environment looks, and feels, great. It is a little weird, when looking straight down, to see your light house on a piece of rock floating in the sky, but the main menu gives you a great image of the light house on the floating rock, that looks exceptional, with vegetation growing up the sides of it, it really is very unique. Floating around in the sky, with you and the blimps, are more of these floating rocks with vegetation growing all over them, presenting a very nice atmosphere for the game. Beautifully made clouds are also surrounding the area, and with the shadowing from dark towards the bottom of the play-field, and light in the upper part, the blimps that appear out of nowhere are easy to pick out. You’ll never find yourself searching for a blimp against the backdrop of the game, which is great, especially when you’re spinning around trying to find the blimp that set off the yellow or red color on your radar. The animations of the moving blimps look great, making it look like the wind is actually blowing them towards you. One thing I would love to see is an actual explosion animation. I’m not sure what it could look like exactly, as explosions would not look very good within the setting of the game, but something more than the blimps just disappearing would be nice. Maybe a puff of smoke or something would go together good with the overall aesthetic of the game, but right now, that’s the only real nitpicky thing I can think of.
Lukas Penkava and team have done an amazing job putting this game together. I don’t know exactly how many people worked/are working on the game, but when I talked to Lukas, he used the term ’we’ more than once. He’s also mentioned a couple of mechanics that they’re thinking of implementing, but I’m not sure I should share them as they aren’t set in stone. What I will say is that they are still working on making LightGuardian even better than it already is. There is no GameCenter integration, but the developers do have an in-game online leader board, which is great, because players won’t need to worry about hacked GameCenter scores like with most other GC supported games. Some in-game achievements would be a wonderful addition to the game as well, as there’s quite a bit the developers could make achievements for; destroying # blimps, collecting # parts, reaching level #, ect. Universal support would be awesome too, as I’m sure gamers with iPads would love to see the graphics how they’re meant to be seen on their bigger screens, but for $1.99 (and currently on sale for $0.99), this is a must buy game. Endless replayabilty, updates that will make the game even better, and a beautiful and original gameplay experience. I really can not recommend LightGuardian enough. I’m also extremely hopeful of what the developing team will come up with in the future.