Zen Wars in Review – Nothing Zen about these wars!

One of the more popular genres on the iDevices is Castle Defence. Available in a number of varieties, it always features a side-view of the action. But creative people are here to start traditions of their own, right? Well as least subzero.eu are. In their recent take on the genre with Zen Wars, they decided to freshen things up and offer a bird’s eye view of the events instead.

Zen Wars is a fresh take on the castle defence genre with a top-down view. The evil Lord Evilz is out to invade your peaceful village. It’s up to you and your band of merry engineers to thwart his evil plans and stop the army of evil pandas. Yes, pandas!!! Oh yeah, the story is told through comic panes and the art and writing are quite hilarious.

If you’re not familiar with the basics of a castle defence game – enemies advance on your fortifications and you use various weapons available to eliminate them before they reach the gates. Zen Wars takes this concept and builds upon it by adding a few twists of its own. First of all, the view is top down and enemies advance from over the river to your fortifications, which you build up yourself between the waves. And don’t take this lightly since new towers can only be built on territories surrounded by walls.

The towers themselves come in a few unconventional sorts, though not all are open for manual control. The most basic ones shoot cannonballs at the place of your tapping, while others are triggered automatically at various times. Some even allow you to take over enemies, at least for limited time, and turn them against their own. Many enemy units require a more thought out approach to their destruction, like pandas, which stop and cover themselves with a shield when hit. You’ll have to give them a breather to finish the job.

Zen Wars offer quite nice, if somewhat miniature graphics done in sketchbook artstyle that seems to be quite popular on the platform. The controls work fairly well, though building up the walls is often a pain because of a limited time allowed for it and the wacky randomly generated segments available. The multiplayer makes up for it however, and offers a chance to go head-to-head with your dire dear friends.

Zen Wars is a nice and refreshing take on Castle Defence with nice graphics, fun comic intros and online multiplayer. Unfortunately it fails to provide that balanced pacing and addictiveness that are often the main drivers for the genre. I can’t say I would recommend it to everyone but a fan would definitely enjoy the original twists the developers have dreamed up. And the hilarious intros offer a bit of an incentive to progress as well.

With this I declare  Zen Wars officially touched!

Tap It Rating - 3/5

App Summary
Title: Zen Wars Developer: subzero.eu
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 3.1
Price: $1.99 App Size: 59.21MB
  • Original take on the genre
  • Nice graphics
  • Online multiplayer
  • Not addictive
  • Not enough incentive to progress and keep coming back


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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