I enjoy strategy games for the very same reason that I enjoy sabotaging high profile companies – you set up a few patsies to do your bidding, hike away to a safe distance, and watch all of the action happen without having to lift another finger.
Well, in the case of the Com2US’s Tower Defense: Lost Earthfor iPhone, you actually have to lift a finger….just one, though. Sometimes two. So I suppose it’s almost as good as corporate espionage. Almost.
Systematic stock market plunges aside, the game is a nice throwback for most classic tower defense gamers. With simplistic gameplay, beautiful graphics, and easy usability, the game is a must-download for iPhone users everywhere.
Gameplay is fairly simple, and after using the iPhone-centric tutorial, you can unleash your merciless power on your one-track-minded foes with relative ease. Just try not to let your maniacal laughter get too loud while playing on the city bus. You’ll scare the children.
If you already are a tower defense game player, you know exactly what to expect. Wave after wave of enemy forces encroach on your base, and using towers outfitted with various (in this case, futuristic) weapons, you have to bring them down. Each take-down brings in “resources” which can be used to purchase new upgrades or even build more towers, and in the end, you can become the ultimate vertical warlord.
Upgrades can be given to towers at a price, and new towers can be built on any of the playing field’s available squares. Enemies come in regular waves on a set path that makes use of the field’s underlying grid, and the player must strategically set up towers to shoot down the savage beasts.
Tower upgrades include various weaponry, firing rates, and projectile ranges, so it’s up to the player to decide which areas are the most vulnerable. The player’s structures can only fire at so many individual enemies at a time, so sometimes it’s more valuable to have multiple towers than better upgrades. Fortunately, towers can be “sold” at any time for more resources.
Full Version Advantages
The full version of Tower Defense: Lost Earth offers an intense storyline about how you are on a search for resources no longer found on our happy little post-apocalyptic planet. Your quest leads you to a probe sent out by the humans of the past, desperate for an alternative world, and after following it, you find one! Unfortunately, it’s full of evil aliens who don’t want you to wreck their own planet. That’s food for thought, I guess.
I think that’s all good and well, but if I’m playing a game on the iPhone, I’m not really there for the story. It’s mostly the gameplay that I want, and for people like me, this version offers a few extra features not found in the Lite version:
40 Campaign and Challenge maps.
4 Game Play Modes.
9 Types Of Towers.
10 Kinds of Enemies.
4 Special Weapons.
5 Different Worlds (Mountains, Desert, Ice, Crater, and Lava).
The Lite version offers only the first four levels and limited towers. If you’re really into the game, it might be worth throwing 99 cents at it.
The Look & Sound
Game graphics are two-dimensional, but they take advantage of the retina display pretty well. I’m a fan of this type of game art, so it was refreshing to see this envisioning of TD utilize it. All of the sprites have very fluid animations, and I’d go as far to say that they are some of the best 2D game graphics I’ve seen on the iPhone.
Everything was easy-to-read and easy-to-see, too. In most cases when a bunch of tiny sprites are roaming around on a pocket-sized display, it can be hard to know exactly what is going on. Fortunately, that isn’t the case for the game, and I have to attribute this to the crisp color palette as well as the excellent artwork.
Aside from that, there’s also something to be said for the sound design. The music is something straight out of a Michael Bay film but with less explosions (and there are actually a lot of explosions, if that tells you anything). Speaking of those little combustion clouds, the sounds were quite fantastic for an iPhone game. They were realistic but in the “you’re playing a game on a tiny screen” kind of way.
Despite using the ad-infiltrated version, diving into my download of Tower Defense was pretty straight-forward. As a I said, upgrading to the full game offers more levels and no ads, but after getting past the initial interruptions, everything is smooth-sailing. The landscape-only user interface is clean and solid, and I didn’t even to have to remove my iPhone from an implanted hole in a wall. No fits of rage here.
The first level opens up with a few step-by-step instructions, and at first, your reaction may be, “Oh great, another tutorial…” Well, no worries. The information is concise, delivered quickly, and dare I say it, informative. The tutorial is perfect for an iPhone user: quick and to the point. It left me with an better understanding of the game with the knowledge that there aren’t any secret, vague features.
The game also allows for finger gestures to navigate the playing field. Pinch-to-zoom lets you get a closer look at that pretty artwork, and swiping takes you from one side of the field to another. Furthermore, if things are moving a bit too slow for you, there is the ability to actually double the speed of the game.
That’s it for Tower Defense: Lost Earth, and personally, I’d say it’s one of the better casual games for the iPhone. It’s easy to pick up, fun to look at, and overall, a nice break from the real world. That’s exactly what an iPhone game should be.
Have you played Tower Defense: Lost Earth? What other tower defense games have you played?