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iPhone Game Review: Mikado Defenders
      #37030 - 05/11/10 05:14 PM

iPhone Game Review: Mikado Defenders
Reviewed by Austin

It is the Sengoku Era in Japan. In their conquest for dominance, samurai warlords destroy the surrounding lands. The demons of the underworld seize this opportunity and begin their unholy assault. Now man's only hope are these feuding warlords. They must band together to defeat the demons and save Japan.

Hard and challenging are words that cannot do this game justice... Mikado Defenders is hands down the most diabolical tower defense game ever spawned. Taito brings yet another gem to the App Store.


Mikado Defenders works somewhat like your average tower defense and features a Story mode and an Endless mode. Playing Story mode unlocks maps, commanders, and gains experience for those commanders. There are circles placed each on the map where you can position your units. Each "unit" consists of five soldiers of their type with the exception of artillery. Units can be upgraded to six levels; after three, they transform into a stronger unit type. As demons make their way towards your camp, they attack your units somewhat like an RTS. Your units can and most definitely will die. You have the option to heal them for gold, or let them revive on their own after a set time has passed. There are four basic units and five basic demons. Your basic foot soldier, archers, powerful spearman took take out ground and air units, and artillery. The opposition features devastating demon knights, power bull demons, annoying flying beasts who fly over obstacles and foot soldiers, armored soldiers who are unaffected by arrows, and common foot soldiers who never last very long. With these units types and their advantages and weaknesses, there is a huge amount of strategy to be used. Adding poison and fire elements add to that deepens it further. Poison slows and drains demons health, while fire increases attack power. Certain unit types are immune to these however.

Maps are divided into chapters. Each chapter has a set number of waves depending on the chosen map and difficulty. There are a total of five maps each with five difficulties. Surviving a map on hard grants access to the very hard difficulty; surpassing that unlocks the brutal difficulty. At the end of a completed map, you are given a score based on enemies defeated, health remaining, gold remaining, and the difficulty multiplier. Based on how high your score is, you are rewarded stars. These are saved on the map selection screen separately for each difficulty.

There is no moment of rest in between waves; only during the end of a chapter are you safe. At the end of a chapter, you are rewarded with bonus gold. How much you receive depends only on how much you own. During the intermission after a chapter, you may use your hard earned gold to purchase better defenses and upgrade your camp. One decision can easily decide the battle. If you choose you to upgrade your camp, your units will be stronger, but if they are defeated, you may be left defenseless.

The difficulty factor not only lies within the game itself, but also the conservative way you must play to progress. At the start of the game, you have one commander at your disposal. Commanders add a unique twist to the game, up the ante, and put more strategy into play. There are a total of 16 each with their own abilities, and are based on real people. Only three may be used per battle, so choose your commanders wisely. After every battle in Story mode your commanders are rewarded experience based on your performance. Each can grow to a level of ten, each level up making them quite a bit stronger. Defeating a giant demon gives you the chance to unlock a commander. These larger, more powerful demons are only attracted to large castles. You can only grab their attention by upgrading your camp fully before the final chapter. To do this, you must spend little to no gold every chapter. This is a struggle on easy, and near an impossible feat on normal. Stronger commanders are an absolute must to complete the harder difficulties.

A final factor to the game, are spirit guardians. Before starting a map, you can choose one of four spirits to protect your camp. As you defeat foes, your spirit gauge will increase. Once filled, you can tap your spirit to unleash either a devastating attack, or a life-saving effect. The Azure Dragon commands lightning to strike down your foes, and is summoned the fastest. The Vermilion Bird takes longer to summon, but his attack is more savage. The Black Tortoise temporarily slows the demons advance and the White Tiger temporarily makes your troops invincible.


The art style is amazing and is unique. Maps consists of well drawn ink paintings that resemble old Japanese art. Each soldier individually moves, fights, and dies. Spirits special abilities are flashy and look great.


Music is only triggered when a conflict begins. It is a nice little touch that seems to add a little more to the game. "Panic" music plays when demons begin attacking your defenses and/or your camp.

Sound effects consist of your basic hack and slash. Demons seem to all make the same sound when they die, and there doesn't seem to be any human sounds other than their attacks.

iPod music is enabled if you do not like the way music works, or the music itself.


This game is only recommended for the most hardcore tower defense fans. If you are a casual player, or you don?t like strategy, then this is definitely not for you. Quite a bit of patience is needed to enjoy this game; you will see "DEFEAT" more times than you can count. Other than the insane difficulty level, this game truly stands out from the sea of tower defense games. It is a must have for those who want a challenge or are sick of endless wall of generic TDs.

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: 5 Not much to say; it looks amazing.
Sound: 4 The fast paced music and the way it is implemented adds a nice touch to it, but humans sounds seem to lack a little.
Controls: 5 A simple tap to place system that works.
Gameplay: 5 While it may be insanely difficult, it has a lot to offer.

Playing Hints and Tips:

? Focus on getting the hang of the system and learn some strategies before you attempt to recruit more commanders.
? Do not even attempt normal or hard until you can complete the game on easy.
? Grinding is highly recommended; without strong commanders, you don?t stand a chance.
? Remember, Endless is for fun and nothing else! You cannot gain anything from it.
? Find a map that you have a solid strategy on and only buy one unit/upgrade if possible per chapter to unlock more commanders.
? Use the environment to your advantage; place archers or artillery in areas where they can pick off units safely.
? Don?t be afraid to use your spirit guardian! Using it at the right time can make or break a battle.
? It is recommended to use only the Azure Dragon for the easy difficulty; it summons the fastest and its attack is strongest to defeat all enemies.

App Facts:
Developer: TAITO Corporation
Release Date: April 19, 2010
Price: $2.99
Buy App: Mikado Defenders

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