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Tower defense games have become all the rage with iPhone users. There are still plenty of old century warrior games, but Kingdom Rush is a truly great example of innovation in this field. For this game you start out building structures to defend your kingdom from incoming attackers.
You’ll need to use strategy and some lucky timing to advance forward into the worlds. Game dynamics are similar to any multiform TD RPG, where you don’t control a single character, but entire groups of your army. The music and graphics also fit amazingly well into the theme of ancient kingdoms. If you love strategy RPG games, this is a title well worthy of the cost.
Starting a New Game
When first getting started, you’ll be presented with some initial information. You begin with a single point of defense where you can build reinforcements against attackers. The overworld screen includes a collection of the upgrades and trophies you’ve earned so far.
After tapping on your first location it will bring up some details about the campaign. There are some additional play modes which you can unlock by going through and completing more levels. Plus, you can reset the difficulty from Normal to Easy or Hard mode right before each battle.
Once you are ready, tap the Battle button and you’re transported into the battlefield. This being your very first skirmish, Kingdom Rush will provide helpful cues along the way. You basically start by making some different castle structures to defend against attackers, and then calling on these hoards for early point bonuses.
These enemies could be goblins, orcs, bandits, trolls, nearly anything you can think of! There is actually an enemies list wiki entry for the complete collection of Kingdom Rush monsters. As you run into these enemies in battle they will also be listed inside your bestiary.
You can initially build from a set of four different towers. You create these new structures by tapping on any of the sign post icons and choosing your preferred style. These include:
- Archer Tower — Powerful archers good with ranged attacks.
- Barracks — Land soldiers with swords will attack nearby enemies.
- Mages Guild — Magicians and sorcerers will cast spells, damaging enemies and stripping their armor.
- Artillery — Bombs and explosives which deal major area damage nearby.
As you traverse the different landscapes you’ll be forced into using each of these towers. They serve different purposes for different enemy types. And as you acquire gold coins you can purchase upgrades on these towers for much more powerful attacks.
When enough enemies attack, they can eventually wipe out your troops and destroy tower structures. Be careful with resources and always keep an eye on your gold! This carries over from each level and you’ll need more coins to purchase new defense towers.
There are some extra special attacks you can call upon during specific circumstances. One of these spells is Reinforcements, which will bring a ton of new troops to your defense. During gameplay you’ll see a new popup explaining that you can now call reinforcements, and the bottom circle icons will now be selectable.
The second major spell is named Rain of Fire. After calling this spell you can tap anywhere on the field for a massive collection of fiery meteors. This is a useful last-minute technique for wiping out hoards of enemies all at once. However, this special ability often takes a while to come back after use, and it’s worth saving just in case you end up in a bind.
All these spells can be unlocked only by going through the individual levels. You’ll need to defeat a certain number of enemies to gradually unlock the effects, but as you grow in strength the damage will become more noticeable.
The Game Mechanics
I love this style of basic fighting where you don’t need to control any single character. Your armies will automatically target enemies within range and begin attacking without any command. Your goal is to wipe out any invaders and keep your land safe.
In the top left corner you’ll see a number which starts at 0 and increases with every hoard. This number is the total amount of onslaughts you’ll need to survive in order to claim victory. It sounds a lot harder than it actually is, so don’t get discouraged by just looking over screenshots.
As mentioned earlier, you can purchase upgrades with any gold stars you earn during a victorious battle. These upgrades will power your towers of magicians and archers with new skills for battle. It’s a crucial piece of the gameplay where you must upgrade your stats to defend against more powerful attackers.
The game design and interface tools are simply outstanding. I can think of barely a handful of iOS games which have such a graceful control system — and that’s not to mention the upgrades system for increasing battle powers.
I am also a huge fan of the game music which fits perfectly with the theme. Old ancient kingdom tower defense games are not always designed with such impeccable soundtracks. You certainly won’t be at a loss for entertainment when going through the levels. Each map is full of beautiful landscapes, including many smaller details.
You can notice smaller pieces of the landscape designed specifically for aesthetic purposes. These include small huts, herds of sheep, trees and barren dirt roads. All the graphics for Kingdom Rush are beautiful perfected and well-placed into the layout. It’s also super easy to differentiate between the background and interactive icons, such as signposts and character groups.
Along with the actual battle system you can acquire so much more from Kingdom Rush. Each new game file includes a number of gold coins, upgrades you can purchase, new levels to unlock and a boatload of additional features. Kingdom Rush is possibly one of my favorite tower defense titles from the iOS App Store.
I have to recommend this app for any mobile gamers who like to kill time by advancing their save file. You will feel quite accomplished after each level and advancing forward is never too difficult (although you can edit the difficulty settings yourself). All in all, this title has really impressed me far beyond what I was expecting. Tower defense fans everywhere should try out this game title for the expendable $0.99 price tag — especially with support for both the iPhone and iPad!