A Knights Dawn in Review – The dusk of side-scrolling Tower Defense

A few years back when the Tower Defense genre had just only started to make its first baby steps on the App Store, a game took the Crown by storm. Still regarded as one of the best Tower Defense titles of all time, Defender Chronicles – Legend of The Desert King gave birth to the side-scrolling TD genre, additionally offering a compelling story and deep RPG elements. Now, sometime later a wannabe successor – A Knights Dawn – strives to overtake the bar set by the famous ancestor.

A Knights Dawn is a rather basic version of a side scrolling Tower Defense game. The story is rather vague and details the adventures of a would be group of adventurers, thrown together by fate on a journey to defend their homeland from the hordes of invaders.

If you’re not familiar with side-scrolling Tower Defense, it is a genre where you look at the approaching enemies from the side rather than a top-down view. Here the enemy hordes come in a single huge wave and travel across levels and winding stairs in an effort to reach the exit. And you have to stop them from doing so by placing troops at key points, marked by banners. Accurate placement is very important, as at later levels the bad boys come from multiple entry points that cross and converge closer to the exit. I do have to note that it’s often quite hard to determine where the entry and exit points actually are, so you might have to sacrifice an attempt just to check out the movement paths.

The variety of your troops is reasonably limited to 6 different units. I was a bit surprised to see 3 of them unlocked already for the first level and 5 for the second. The units follow the same guidelines, as established by Defender Chronicles and come in ranged and melee varieties, with some attack specifics for each. Each one has 5 levels of upgrades with a special attack unlocked at max upgrade for all but the most basic fighter. The balance of the units unfortunately is quite poor and I found myself using almost exclusively the basic ranged and dwarf melee attackers. Overall the game’s balance is simply horrible, with the second level (at the easiest difficulty) already being next to impossible to conquer.

Probably the only truly positive aspect of Knights Dawn is the graphics. Both backgrounds and models are carefully and lovingly drawn with superb detail, looking especially nice on the iPhone 4 and iPad. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the interface. While the concept is intuitive – a radial menu with options after a tap on the hotspot – the active area for each option seems to be far larger than the actual image on the screen. This more often than not may lead you to accidentally selling a unit or two, for which no confirmation dialogue is requested.

Looking simply gorgeous from about 100 meters away, A Knights Dawn fails miserably up close. The horrendous difficulty level, poor unit balance and frustratingly inaccurate controls far offset the visual feast that is the game. If you’re desperate for a side scrolling TD, go for the classic Defender Chronicles instead. And unless the developers address the aforementioned issues in a big way, I’d advise that you stay away from this one.

With this I declare A Knights Dawn officially touched!

Slap It Rating - 2/5

App Summary
Title: A Knights Dawn Developer: VisionaryX GmbH
Reviewed Ver: 1.001 Min OS Req: 4.2
Price: $0.99 App Size: 99.78MB
  • Crisp detailed graphics
  • Universal app
  • Extreme difficulty
  • Poor controls
  • Imbalanced units


A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well): http://twitter.com/ChiffaNe

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