Category: Tower defense game
Seller: Paradox Interactive
Requirements: iOS 4.1 or later
File Size: 116MB
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Age Rating: 12+ for infrequent/mild profanity or crude humor, infrequent/mild alcohol, tobacco or drug use or references, infrequent/mild horror/fear themes, and frequent/intense cartoon or fantasy violence
I guess I’ve reached a point where I need to quit saying I don’t really like tower defense games, because I’ve given quite a few of them decent reviews. The latest is going to be Defenders of Ardania, which is also my current favorite. There are a few reasons for this, but it’s mostly that it’s also a tower attack game, too, and I guess I’m just an attacking kind of guy.
Some of you may recognize Ardania as the setting of the Majesty games, which are available for Mac and PC. Defenders of Ardania pretty much just takes the name, however; no knowledge of the story or name is required to play and enjoy this latest title in the franchise.
Rather, all you need is a quick eye and plenty of time for your next gaming session. There are only 15 levels in the single player campaign, but they take much longer than you’d expect. This is both good and bad for the gameplay, as an eventual victory feels much better, but the constant pounding away at your enemy’s gate may prove a bit too slow for tower defense experts.
Defenders of Ardania centers around two elements: defend and attack. Defending is the same as always—set up your various towers and your castle to prevent enemy entry. You can upgrade them, tear them down to move them, etc. Some defense magic can also help; temporarily slowing down the enemy, for example, right at the point where they’re within reach of multiple tower defenses.
While defending, you can (and will need to) use the coins you collect to send various soldiers, dragons and such out to attack your enemy’s castle. They move along a set path, and once they’ve started their charge, there’s no calling them back. The coins you use to hire soldiers mount quickly, so you’ll likely be spamming the soldier creation button throughout the level. This is another slight drawback to Defenders of Ardania; many of the levels, especially early on, can be won with sheer numbers. They have to be won with sheer numbers (although the right use of magic can certainly increase your chances). As such, offense becomes an afterthought…something you just need to remember to keep up on while making sure your defensive towers are properly placed and set up to best counter the types of soldiers your enemy is sending your way.
I mentioned earlier that there are only 15 levels, but there’s a lot of variety within those. Some will have you charging straight at each other, while others have you winding your way through town streets, and you’ll likely need to play some of them multiple times to develop a strategy that works best with the terrain.
When you’re done with the single player campaign—or before you even get started, I guess—you can keep playing thanks to a multiplayer component that supports Apple’s Game Center. Multiplayer is well implemented, and it’s fun, especially when your opponent is in the same room with you. It would be even cooler if iPad gamers could go up against Mac/PC players, but I’m not sure how practical that is from a development standpoint.
What I really love about Defenders of Ardania, however, are the graphics. They’re very reminiscent of the Age of Empires games, and I enjoyed looking at those games more than I enjoyed playing them. The backgrounds are colorful and rich in detail and texture, while the soldiers and magic effects are smoothly animated on top of them. It’s a wonderful world they’ve created here in Ardania, and I wish I could spend more time looking at it instead of looking at the buttons I’m pressing…although I suppose they’re pretty nice, too.
Looking back at it, it’s possible I enjoyed Defenders of Ardania so much because I don’t normally go for tower defense games. The lengthy levels gave me time to develop some confidence in my attack method (perhaps too much confidence, in some cases), and a progress meter lets you know how you and your enemy are doing. The early levels do a good job of getting you accustomed to the interface without overwhelming you with enemy attacks, and you can set the game up to provide you with tips.
Those with a lot of tower defense experience could grow bored by the long levels and the basic button mashing attacks, but I found the pacing allowed for decent strategy development and implementation. And if things you aren’t going well, you can alway abandon the level and try again.
Hopefully, Paradox continues to develop levels to sell as in-app purchases. But if not, I’ll be buying this for a couple of friends so we can engage in some Game Center battles.
What’s a tower, after all, if I’ve got no one from whom I can defend it?