Townrs Defender in Review – A Love/Hate Relationship

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Tower Defense is a genre well represented on the iDevice, there’s no denying that. And certainly for many people, including me, their first exposure to this genre was playing on this wonderful mobile platform. At the same time, I’ve played some of the best standard TD games available on this system, so when a new one comes along, I’m always curious what new things it will bring to the table. Townrs Defender takes an interesting twist on  the TD genre, one that ultimately pays off well for the game.

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You don’t actually place towers or control their defense of the town in this game. Instead, you play as a warrior tasked with defending the town, alongside the towers which are already in place. There’s a nice amount of customization going on with your character, by allowing you to choose gender, specialization in specific skills and ultimately choices in type of warrior you can play as.

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The game starts like most Tower Defense games do, with waves of enemies trying to fight their way into your town. Should they succeed in destroying the gate to your town, it’s game over for you. Your character can run around the map trying to help the towers defeat these enemies, luring them away from towers that are becoming weaker (so long as the tower isn’t destroyed, it will slowly regain stamina). When your own hit points get low, you can seek out the Healing Fountain to regain your strength – but even if your character falls, you will be resurrected automatically after 15 seconds.

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On the other hand, for each enemy you kill you get experience, and once that meter is filled you gain a level and can use the point you gain to upgrade a particular skill. These skills include upgrading your primary attack, or gaining different spells (which become available at different levels). Each of these spells uses a different touch gesture on the screen to activate, and they each have a different effect (a conical shaped blast, an area effect, a wave that blows out from your character). Each spell works on a timer, so you have to use them at the right moment so as to ensure you’re doing the most damage. The enemies come in various shapes and sizes, from small soldiers and archers, to magic users, powerful elemental knights and boss creatures. For the most part, they will hone in on your character if you’re anywhere near them, so you can use this to good effect to draw them toward (or away from) some specific tower.

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So I’ve said a lot of good things about Townrs Defender – yet my review title also mentions “hate” in this relationship. And it’s true – there are somethings that hold back Townrs, and one really unforgivable issue. So let’s start there – the issue is a complete lack of  the save feature. To win a specific level (there is only one map so far, completing the level would be to survive the requisite amount of waves for the difficultly level chosen) you have to play all the way through – or at least, only pause the game (and not leave the game screen) – anything else and you must start over again. Now, I’ve spoken with the developer, and this flaw is being fixed with a release that will be submitted to Apple for approval in the next few days.

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Less important issues include the difficultly level – even on easy this game is hard. Surviving past wave 15 is very challenging, and you can’t rebuild towers that fall so once they’re gone you’re left more and more on your own – even as the enemies get harder and their numbers grow larger. The control is also a little finicky; you point to the spot you want your character to run to, as opposed to clicking in a direction on the screen and running that way. Your character’s resurrection upon death takes just a little too long – almost guaranteeing that one of your towers will fall.

But at the same time, I really love Townrs Defender. I find myself coming back to it just to see if I can make it a little further. I mentioned early on in the review that there are different types of warriors you can play as – but each of these is an unlockable class which you can only play as once you complete the Easy and Medium difficulty levels. So there’s incentive to keep trying – and it’s a nice looking game, with a good premise and the promise of more to come. I’m hopeful that the next update comes quickly and resolves the really big saving issue, but even as is I’d recommend you Grab It.

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App Summary
Title: Townrs Defender (v1.0) Developer: Prophetic Sky
Price: $4.99 App Size: 9.4 MB
  • Nice twist on Tower Defense
  • Good customization options for your character
  • Nice graphics
  • Incentives to keep playing
  • No ability to save your game
  • Difficultly level is high even on Easy

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