Two Worlds II Castle Defense HD for iPad review

Sections: iDevice Apps, iPad, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Reviews

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Category: Tower defense games
Seller: TopWare Interactive
Requirements: iPad 1 or 2
Compatibility: iOS 3.2+
File Size: 96.6 MB
Version Reviewed: 1.2
Price: $4.99
Age Rating: 9+

Two Worlds II Castle Defense is an addictive, if slightly over-engineered offshoot of the full Two Worlds role-playing game designed for the iPad. Unlike its predecessor, it is not a free exploration non-linear game, but rather a tower defense strategy game that weaves into the much richer plot of the Two Worlds II. Place troops, buy them upgrades, manage their health, and then hope they are up to the task of keeping your VIP safe from the ever-coming waves of orcs.

Sit Right Back and I’ll Tell you a Tale

For players familiar with the console version of Two Worlds II (TW2), the intro to Castle Defense provides a nice continuation of the console game’s plot. Users brand new to the TW2 universe get a quick recap of a verdant land overrun by murderous orcs, and a brief tutorial explaining that Emperor Gandohar needs protecting from this Orc Army. There is a simple one-screen controls tutorial, which is really the hallmark of a well-designed game: the interface is simple and gets out of the way, rather than requiring a degree to use.

TW2 Control Tutorial Screen

Each of the five chapters in the Campaign offers additional details to the story, but here, the new vs. old player divide becomes a bit more apparent. TW2 console players will be familiar with the names and events narrated in the chapter intertitles, but for new players the endless parade of names (General who?), magic artifacts (The thrones of whom?), and locations (What city are we in again?) quickly becomes tiresome, and the overall impression is of a Wikipedia article written using an in-universe style that is incomprehensible to the uninitiated. Luckily, understanding the minutiae of the plot is not necessary, as the basic template of VIP-who-needs-protecting-from-waves-of-Orc-badguys is followed throughout the game.

TW2 Chapter End Title

In the Service of the Emperor

With Gandohar off in some distant part of the realm focused on his mad quest for power (or immortal life…or something), it is up to you to carry out his orders in your current city. Luckily these orders are always to guard some position from the oncoming bad guys, and at your disposal are a number of personnel (called units) and powers. All units, upgrades, and management tasks cost gold, and you earn gold for every bad guy who gets killed. Each map level has a number of spawn points, denoted by a blue regular or orange powerup circle. Simply tap a spawn point and indicate the unit you would like to place there. Soldiers fight on their own, while supporting units cast spells on other units within their realm of influence.

Units available include:

  • Footsoldiers and Elite Warriors: These units leave their spawn points to engage oncoming enemies in hand to hand combat using swords.
  • Archers and Fire Mages: These units remain at their spawn points and fire arrows or fireballs at approaching enemies.
  • Priests and Necromancers: Both magical units cast spells, with priests casting healing spells on friendly units and necromancers casting offensive spells on enemy units.
TW2 Gameplay Example

As each wave of enemies is cleared, stronger and faster waves take their place, necessitating constant upgrades to your fighters to enhance their fighting abilities.

Options available for purchase are:

  • Health Upgrade: Increases the amount of damage a unit can take. Units will auto-regenerate if killed, and can be healed at a cost by the player or automatically by Priests placed nearby.
  • Weapons Upgrade: Increases the amount of damage a unit dishes out, which is necessary as more capable enemies come along.
  • Teleport: Moves a unit between spawn points, which is cheaper than spawning a new unit.
  • Discharge: Discharges a unit, at which point a percentage of the unit’s total cost is paid back to the player.

The Whole Game

Awkwardly complex story aside, TW2 Castle Defense is an incredibly detailed tower defense game with a level of artistic fit and finish not seen in other iPad games. It makes excellent use of the iPad’s graphic capabilities and extends a well known franchise from gaming consoles into the mobile gaming realm. Additional options available during game play include user-castable direct attack spells, which allow you to take a more direct approach to defeating enemies, and an excellent Arena mode featuring smaller levels to hone skills or just beat up on some bad guys for fun. With OpenFeint and Game Center social integration options, you can even share your scores and progress with other gamers in your social network.

TW2 is graphically rich, featuring smooth animation of background elements and a full cast of detailed characters both good and bad. Add to the mix an expansive soundtrack that is never repetitive, and it is obvious that the game has expertly combined the best from the console game with iPad-appropriate graphics (headphones are definitely worthwhile). Environmental details like flickering torches, realistic day/nightime shadows, and a host of over 100 individually-detailed characters, this game makes it very obvious that Apple has finally built machines capable of serious gaming.

As a standalone tower defense game, Two Worlds II Castle Defense works handily. For players of the original TW2, it extends the storyline and character development with a new and interesting chapter. For only $4.99, whether you are a new user or Two Worlds native, TW2 Castle Defense is a solid game with incredible visuals and an engaging gameplay.

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Two Worlds II Castle Defense review

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