StarDefense is a twist of the tower defense game genre, something I first experienced online. Star Defense takes it to a new level, using a rotating sphere as the game board - representing a planet that is trying to repel Alien invasions.
As the defender, you start up trying to place towers along the alien path to prevent the aliens from reaching the colonists. You weapons are five types of towers (two are locked initially) - slow, fire, gun, electric, and super gun. Each tower can be upgraded (at a cost) three times, improving their ability to inflict damage.
Opposing your are alien hordes, ranging from scouts to mollusks to...well...other disgusting things that should probably not be described. Some of the invaders have special abilities (flying, extra fast, resistant to a type of damage) that you need to consider when planning your strategy.
And yes, there is strategy. I found that out very quickly. You can't just start placing towers willy nilly. Well, you can, and maybe at the easy level, you will survive, but if you move to medium and difficult it won't work.
Compared to other tower defense game, I felt this one excelled in the scenery and the game board. Using the 3D sphere adds a unique element to the game play, and really forces you to move around to keep track of the whole board. Where it falls a little short is the tower units. I wish there were more units, or that upgrading how more of an effects (faster fire rate, for example). Additional unit types (some sort of explosive tower, or more radius type attacks) would be really beneficial.
Also, the games "story" mode only goes through 7 planets. If you defeat those, you are finished with the galaxy. NGMoco has indicated you will be able to purchase additional galaxies though in app purchases, but I really hope they aren't going to be milking up for another $4 for three more planets. This concern is not limited just to this app - I worry that in app purcahses will initially be really abused by the various developers, trying to milk as much money as they can.
In addition to the "story" mode, they also have a challenge mode, where the goal is to simply survive as long as possible in various planetary landscapes.
There is a push notification option, which I can be combined with the "plus" option to post your scores online, and issue online challenges. I haven't registered for this yet, but it looks like an interesting way to play. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear as you are directly playing agasint someone, instead you are basically just comparing scores. Still, a fun way to play!
All in all, this is a fun twist to the tower defense genre. I wish there were more tower options, or that upgrades did more to the towers (increase radius of fire, blast radius, etc), but the unique 3D landscape really adds a lot. I found myself twisting the globe around all over the place trying to figure out where to place towers. At $5.99, the game isn't cheap, and it looks like they will be using the in-app purchase to have the user purchase more "galaxies" to play with. But if you like tower defense games, this one is very well done, and worth the price. Four out of five stars.
- Cool use of three dimensional map
- Nice way to move up in levels (and go to new planets)
- Only 5 towers types, with three upgrades
- No two player interaction (just a challenge)
TiPb Review Rating
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a promo code for StarDefense.
[Star Defense is available for $5.99 via the iTunes App Store]
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