App Review: Star Defense for iPhone

(Star Defense Forum Review by cjvitek For more Forum Reviews, see the TiPb iPhone App Store Forum Review Index!)

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)
  • Commendations!


  • 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.

TiPb Forums Review: 4 Star App

[Star Defense (opens in new tab) is available for $5.99 via the iTunes App Store]

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  • I enjoy the game very much even with the cons listed above. I could see several ways to improve the game but this one is great as it stands IMHO.
  • @Michael I totally agree with you.
    It's one of the best games I've ever played on any gaming device. It was the first game I purchased when I got my iPhone 3G (roughly 3~4weeks ago) and I'm love with it. I'm having trouble going through the planets but that still makes up for a truly fun game!. I love everything about it, the 7-planet story is a bummer yes, but I hope they improve it, and even release a Star Defense 2 with more towers, more planets and more more more the fun!.
    Good review!
  • Are you honestly saying that tower upgrades don't increase range or firing rate of the towers?Have you even played this game?
  • Does anyone else find this game rather difficult? I'm stuck on the 4th planet on normal!
  • Are you kidding? 5.99 is cheap. You can only get like a Coffee and a piece of cake for that.
  • I had a bad addiction to Tower Defense a few years back. Stopped showing up for work, stopped eating, etc. Even when I wasn't playing, I just constantly craved it.
    I hear Star Defense is pretty good though. I think I'll check it out.
  • I love tower defense games, I spend so much time on them. For beginners, Fieldrunners is great. For people who want more indepth ones, I've been loving geoDefense (right now on sale for a steal of $1.19 AUD) and Sentinel (1 and 2).
  • Re: muero. I updated the review saying I noticed a possible rate of fire increase in the gun tower, but I didn't notice it in any other tower. Same thing for radius of fire. If it is there, it wasn't that obvious to me (unlike damage increases, which were obvious).
  • Joe: this is a good game which I recommend. My biggest "gripes" were that there were only seven planets (and I don't want to pay $5 each time for three more planets) and the limited tower types.
  • Is anyone else completely sick of tower defense games on the iPhone besides me? Seems like 50% of the games are lame tower defense games. The concept was fun at first, but it's just getting trite now.
  • I agree with a lot of this review. One other thing I would really like to see is a grid option that can overlay where you can play towers. I find placement of towers very important in this game and without seeing a grid it makes it hard where to know to place them. Also an option to place then sell right away with no loss of money would be nice too, like they added in field runners. So if you make a mistake on the less then accurate iphone screen you don't get screwed. And lastly yes, more towers would help a lot!
  • Firstly lets clear up a few things. When a tower is upgraded the range does increase but the rate @ which a bullet is fired does not. It's definatIy worth the same price as a coffe and a snack. I think it s great value for mney as the game play is much harder than most iPhone games out at the moment although I would have liked to see a one-on-one battle mode.
    Good effort ngmoco