iPhone Game Review: TowerMadness: 3D Tower Defense Reviewed by JadeDragon
Thanks largely to Warcraft and Starcraft, Tower Defense games are popping up everywhere and earning legions of fans. There are quite a few Tower Defense games for the iPhone and iPod touch, but TowerMadness: 3D Tower Defense is one of the simplest to play yet the hardest to beat games in this popular genre.
Without fancy twists or cluttering graphics, TowerMadness presents you with a map and an arsenal of tower weapons. All you have to do is to set up the weapons along enemy?s path and destroy them before they get to your nice sheep and beam out. You get 10 sheep total to guard and when all of them get stolen your game is over!
Don?t be discouraged when you only see four campaign maps. While you likely start the game on these maps, it should give you some comfort to know that there are 8 more add-on maps, and the developer has been steadily churning out more free maps. The maps are your battlefields where you can layout your master plan of tower building. They are grouped into Easy, Medium, Hard and Insane levels, and these levels do mean business: in the easy levels you get plenty of money to start with and the enemies are easier to kill; but as the difficulty levels go up, you get less money and enemies have better shields and swarm at a faster speed. So instead of just layout a great building plan, you some times have to shoot from the hip and hope it works, and often you will restart the game and experiment with different strategies and different weapons. And that?s when the magic begins.
You get 16 enemy types, and 9 weapons and each with 5 upgrades and variety of map types. The true tower defense players will hone their skills by learning which weapon does the most damage to what type of enemies, comparing the cost to the increase in damage and range of upgrades, and experimenting the positions in which to set up each type of weapons and the length of the weapon maze. There is infinite number of possibilities in most maps, although some maps are wide open, others have obstacles in the terrain and areas you can?t build any tower. The game design does the best to encourage players to use their imagination and creativity, and it succeeds admirably. The AI works smoothly in the game, never slows you down. As you change your tower locations, the enemies always make the right decision in path finding.
The best feature in the game is actually the active involvement of the developer after the game has been released. There are more add-on maps than the original Campaign maps. And the developer often hosts weekend-long competitions and design new maps for these competitions. Any fan can appreciate the enthusiasm and dedication a developer demonstrates after you have already paid for the game.
As the title suggests, TowerMadness: 3D Tower Defense has 3D graphics. The battlefield has a grid design (except in the Giza map) that makes it easy to see where you can station weapons and where the enemy?s paths are. Weapons and enemies all have distinctive look which is essential for smooth gameplay especially in the heat of battle: you can easily recognize the weapon type and enemy variety. The game has a clean look in a bird?s eye top view, but when you zoom in closer to the action with the multi-touch pinch zoom function, you can see the missiles flying, mortar exploding, laser beaming and the poor enemy units croaking. TowerMadness: 3D Tower Defense has a very unique graphics that transform the game from a general?s view to a GI?s view just by pinching to zoom. Very creative design indeed!
There is no BGM but ton of sound effects. You can listen to your own music as the game has support for that. But honestly when you really get into the game, you won?t have time to pay attention to your music as the game can get very frantic (not in the easy level though) throughout the battles. Sound effects are cool: each weapon has its own special FX for shooting and exploding, and different enemies make different sound when they get fried or fragged.
Pro: -Very creative game design within Tower Defense genre. -Plenty of maps in both Campaign and Add-on. -Good weapon selection and upgrade path. -Enemy AI works smoothly. -Good sound effects. -Very detailed global and local scoreboard for each map and competition!
Con: -The Nuke weapon (the highest upgrade from Mortar gun) is awesome at doing damage, but if you have a group of them shooing rockets you can?t see a thing on the battlefield. -The game a good weapon upgrade trees but has nothing helping strategize layouts for the very hard maps.
Here are a couple of gameplay videos that demo some basic maze layout and introduction to the game:
For fancier looking defender games you can always check out Townrs Defender, a game our tower defense master Devilishly Good so highly recommended, but for the no frail choke and kill type of gameplay, TowerMadness: 3D Tower Defense is in the purest spirit of this genre. There is plenty of weapon types and upgrades to meddle with, a good number of maps to put your strategies to test in real time battles, and perhaps the best selling point of the game is that the developers are devoted to enhancing the game by adding more upgrades, more maps and the diehard fans can duke it out in weekend competitions. For the price, you are getting ton of game time and new content all for free.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -4.5- 3D graphics that looks different at various zooming levels. Sound: -4- No BGM, but the sound effects are cool. Controls: -5- Super easy to learn and use. Gameplay: -5- Very addictive, encourages players to be creative.
Playing Hints and Tips: -Use the easy maps to experiment with different weapons and see how each enemy reacts to the weapon.
-The non-killing towers are also very useful when you put them in the right place, especially in hard and insane levels. Don?t forget to use them!
-Similar suggestion to the non-killing towers, slowing down an enemy at the right place and right time will save you bacon (your sheep actually) in difficult situation.
-Many times, upgrading your existing weapons outrank building new ones.
Cool review! Tower Madness is definitely one of my favorite tower defense games. One thing that this games does that is really unique that you didn't mention is that any player can view full replays of the top players' games on the leaderboard. So if you are ever stuck or want to get ideas on strategy or improving your score...these are like instant, real-time tutorials.
Also, the add on maps come in both open field and fixed path so fans of either type of map have something they will really like.
You are definitely right though, this is one of the few games where I absolutely don't mind not having any background music because there are so many sound effects going off.
Limbic Software has just released a new map, Racetrack, a medium difficulty level fixed path. It's pretty easy if you are well versed in game's weapons and enemy behavior. Still, it's fun to play and it's sort of the extended version of the Maze map. Go to your Downloads screen in the game on your iDevice to get the new map.