Tower defense games have been around almost as long as video games themselves, challenging players to defend their territory against waves of enemies by placing barriers to block their paths. The strategy games test your resource allocation skills, planning, and situational awareness as you build, upgrade and repair structures and see how long you can survive. If you're looking for a fresh challenge, these are the best tower defense games for iPhone and iPad.
Defend your kingdom from the forces of evil by commanding a wide variety of heroes. The acclaimed game has led to numerous sequels and spinoffs, but the original is still among the best of the genre, with different styles of towers letting you really experiment with your strategies.
The game will keep you playing with more than 50 enemy types ranging from goblins to demons, plus challenging boss fights. An in-game encyclopedia will help you keep track of all the information you have on your enemies along with what your towers are capable of, letting you plan the best ways to use your resources.
Battles take place across numerous fully illustrated terrain types, including forests and mountains, and you'll need to recruit similarly diverse troops and summon reinforcements when you're really pressed. You'll also want to figure out the best upgrades and specializations for your towers to be ready for any foe.
Use spells and towers to crush the forces of evil, battling more than 50 enemies and bosses with the help of a dozen heroes who will lead your troops.
Bloons TD 6
The latest entry in the long-running Bloons Tower Defense series has added 3D graphics and new balloon enemies and monkey heroes. Build 22 different towers which can be upgraded along three different paths, giving you plenty of customization options. There are also 11 different heroes with 20 possible upgrades to unlock more power.
The result is there's a lot of strategy in the silly package. You'll want to really get to know each hero's strengths, so you craft strategies around their power synergies. For an extra challenge, you can try some of the alternate game modes, like restricting what units you can use or upping your opponents' health.
While Bloons TD 6 is the only game on this list that isn't free, the investment is worth it for the smooth gameplay and constant updates. You'll want to complete regular challenges not just to improve your skills but to unlock fun cosmetics and audio to personalize your future games.
Assemble a monkey army to pop all the bloons in this silly but complex game that regularly delivers new challenges to keep players invested.
Green the Planet 2
The kid-friendly science-fiction game lets you build a variety of devices to break down comets and convert them into energy which you can then use to terraform a planet, covering it with lush foliage. You'll also be able to buy and upgrade your weapons and even fuse them into improved models.
Green the Planet 2 is more relaxing than the usual breakneck pace of tower defense games, letting you enjoy the art and focus on figuring out the best combinations for defending your planet, such as cannons, lasers, and missiles. The gameplay can get a little repetitive, but the lovely graphics and music help give it a soothing quality.
Another reason it's great for kids is how unobtrusive the ads are unless you want to watch some to unlock powerups. But the gameplay is pretty easy, so you really don't need any extra help.
Shoot down comets and use them to powerup more comet-stopping weapons while turning a planet green in this relaxing, kid-friendly game.
Plants vs. Zombies 2
Plants vs. Zombies is one of the games that truly popularized the tower defense genre, and its sequel has been downloaded more than 200 million times. Like the title implies, you'll be growing a wide variety of plants to defend against zombie armies.
You'll choose from hundreds of varieties of plants with their own powers to defend against a similarly huge number of attackers such as zombie chickens and jetpack-wearing zombies. As you play, you'll earn seed packets that can be used for powerups, such as enhancing a plant's attack power or defenses or speeding up planting times to get more forces out in the field.
You can compete against other players to advance in the game's leaderboards, along with completing quests to earn rewards. Plants vs. Zombies 3 is in the works, so now is a great time to practice your strategies and prepare for the next entry in the series.
Fight zombies everywhere from the far future to ancient Egypt in the game's more than 300 levels. You can also enjoy daily events, mini-games, and PvP.
If you've grown tired of Clash of Clans' gameplay but still love the characters and world that the folks at Supercell have created, you should definitely check out Clash Royale. Unlock and upgrade troops, build your battle deck, and take on real-life opponents in real-time 1v1 or 2v2 battles. You'll need to employ quick thinking and genuine strategy to win, so you'll be compelled to keep tweaking your decks by working in new cards.
Join or create a clan and share cards and strategies with friends from around the world. You can duel against clanmates to perfect your tactics or play alongside them in 2v2 matches. You'll also want to work together to earn special rewards.
In-app purchases will be tempting, but there's still tons of fun to be had playing Clash Royale without spending a dime. Supercell has done a great job supporting the game with updates and balancing, which is why it's one of the best strategy games for the iPhone.
Team up with friends or play solo as you collect characters from Clash of Clans to try to destroy your opponent's towers and earn rewards you can use to upgrade your troops.
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Do you love teaming up with friends in Clash Royale, or do you prefer the relaxing pace of Green the Planet 2? Let us know your favorite tower defense games for iPhone and iPad in the comments section. You might also want to check out our guide to the best game controllers for iPhone to give yourself a competitive edge.
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Samantha Nelson writes about gaming and electronics for iMore, Windows Central and Android Central while also covering nerd culture for publications including IGN and Polygon. She loves superheroes, RPGs, cooking, and spending time outside with her dog. You can follow her on Twitter @samanthanelson1.