Tower defense games make up a unique strategy genre in which players attempt to protect a certain point on the map from advancing enemies using various units with different abilities and strengths. When implemented right, they’re some of the most addicting and fun games you’ll ever pick up, whether you ‘re on the go or playing from the comfort of your couch.
While it’s a fairly crowded genre with a large amount of mediocre games, here are five great tower defense games worth checking out.
While it’s a fairly standard medieval TD game, Tiny Heroes is a uniquely engaging game with a lot of interesting mechanics. Players are tasked with protecting a vault from invading enemies who are hellbent on stealing all of your gold. In order to stop them, you’ll be able to choose from everything from monsters to floor spikes, each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. The only downside to this fantastic title is the fact that it appeals to my biggest pet peeve of casual games: in-app purchases. The purchases are necessary for upgrades, but it doesn’t necessarily ruin the game for you if you choose to not spend any of your money on the game’s items. Instead, it’s implemented in the way I’d like to see all games use in-app purchases: it’s there and will help if you want it, but the game does not rip you off by denying you enjoyment sans purchases.
Plants vs. Zombies
PopCap’s brilliant and runaway hit has stumbled its way onto virtually every gaming platform available, and for good reason. It’s a masterpiece of a tower defense game, both in premise and execution. On the surface, it looks a bit trivial, and I’ll admit that I had more than a few hangups with the idea of battling the undead with flowers. But once you get into it, good luck putting it down.
With multiple game modes and varying gameplay that applies new challenges with each round, players will be tasked with protecting their home by using a variety of extraordinary garden plants, from the exploding Cherry Bomb to zombie-eating plants looking like Audrey 2 from Little Shop of Horrors (if you get that reference, you and I are officially best friends). Enemy types are just as diverse as the plants themselves, ranging from fast athletic zombies to the heavily-armored corpses sporting metal buckets on their heads.
The entire game has a quirky, goofy personality that oddly becomes serious when it doesn’t intend to at all. The result is a charming and flawless showcase of exactly what a tower defense game should be.
A farily new game to enter the genre, Kingdom Rush is an iOS game that has graced the top 25 list for some time now, and it’s a well deserved spot. Going back to more of the medieval theme, Kingdom Rush builds on what Tiny Heroes does by using army units instead of individual defenders. Different enemies are resistant to different attacks, forcing the player to implement real strategy into the setup of their defenses and requiring you to act quickly and intelligently when disaster strikes. It’s a more cerebral TD game, and a refreshing take that will keep you occupied for hours.
With standard TD mechanics, Dungeon Defenders takes the genre to a different place by being developed entirely in 3D and taking place in a third-person view, abandoning the traditional overhead look of most other tower defense titles. The change in camera view does nothing to change the addictive and challenging nature of the game, making it a must play on consoles and mobile devices.
Tower Defense : Lost Earth
The aptly-named Tower Defense : Lost Earth on iOS is a fantastic TD game that abandons the typical medieval setting for a more futuristic one with laser turrets and invading alien hordes. The art style remains cartoony and light, but the game’s personality is much more serious and focused, making the player consider what needs to be done as they attempt to thwart attacking alien hordes. It has a well-deserved five star rating on the app store for a reason, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better futuristic TD game on the mobile marketplace.