Kingdom Rush takes a port from the flash version on Armor Games, and nicely transforms the game into a wonderful iPad game. The game itself takes the same old tower defense and jazzes it up a bit with added power ups, interesting tower upgrades, and mini fighting NPCs. The game plays with a new innovative style, challenging gameplay, and a nice variety of levels. Oh, did I forget that this game has the special quality of “just another level”, and I can say that this game can get annoying when your looking forward to a well rested night.
For each of the 13 levels, there are three available modes (plus two game modes: Easy and Normal) — Campaign, Heroic, and Iron; every level also has their own restrictions that decide which towers you can use and the max level they can be upgraded. The Campaign mode provides 20 lives, but Heroic and Iron mode offers only one life, essentially making the game many times harder. The gameplay is much like the original tower defense games, but the game introduces NPCs (on your side), a nice specialty to the game. There are 3 save slots so you can pillage the enemies with friends, without messing up your precious game. After beating a level, you are awarded stars to spend on tower/power up upgrades and there’s a great reset feature (that doesn’t cost anything!) which allows you to experiment on the best possible upgrade combination. Of the upgrades, there are ones to increase fire intensity, artillery precision, solider strength, etc.
I forgot to mention something important, the towers. In Kingdom Rush there are four tower types — Archer Towers, Barracks, Mage Guilds, and Artillery Cannons. There are also eight tower upgrades that vary from Rangers to Barbarians. In addition, there are also 18 tower abilities that you can equip including Teleport, Poison, and Sniper Shot.
There are 30 creeps that range from Ogres and Yetis to Necromancers and Demon Hounds. Many people have a hard time memorizing each enemy’s ability, so there’s a handy Encyclopedia for the incompetent. Did I mention there’s a strategy guide included (for free)? Another thing to mention is the special ability weapons you can use for limited amount of time. You can call out Reinforcements every 10 seconds during the campaign, which brings up troops to help slow down the incoming enemies. Another ability is Rain of Fire, which is literally a hellfire of meteors. I don’t think bringing that umbrella will help. The gameplay is what you’d expect from a typical fixed-path TD game. Along the path are spots for placing towers, however, they are fixed locations. Once your ready, the attack waves begin once you tap the Start Battle button. With a colorful forest or snow-covered range as the background, Kingdom Rush does a terrific job in creating a fun and engaging experience.
In reality, the best part of Kingdom Rush is the visuals. In fact, as strange as it sounds, the graphics are enjoyable to watch. Whether its mages dropping a lethal curse on crazed ogres, or troops in hand-to-hand combat with demon dogs, it’s a visual treat. On that note, the SFX are definitely worth mentioning, because when you activate Reinforcements, for example, a great voice actor actually yells out “Reinforcements!”, which is a great add-on to the experience. When you tap on a NPC (friendly), a small pop-up appears at the bottom of the screen with the name of the defender and his attack power. Of course, every king knows not to get attached because your defender will likely get torn apart by an ogre soon enough. The AI feels pretty balanced with waves increasing in frequency and size as you progress and you can always go back and tweak the difficulty level within each campaign. Within the early levels, a typical campaign can take about five minutes to complete, but as you progress and attack waves increase, the levels get progressively longer. One of the levels took about half an hour, so the exclusion of a 2X button is sorely missed here.
As campaigns are completed, a map keeps track of your progress. Kingdom Rush doesn’t technically bring anything new or even evolutionary to the tower defense genre. However, Kingdom Rush does put the fun back with a creative and terrifically presented game. The cartoon-like characters on both sides and the balanced gameplay make Kingdom Rush a must-have for tower defense fan boys. The game is a smoothly polished and I hope to find more top quality apps like it on the App Store!
[review pros=”Engaging gameplay, awesome SFX + voice acting, interesting enemies, sweet upgrades, and too much fun!” score=100]