iPad Game Review: Myth Defense HD: Light Forces (Universal) Review
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Myth Defense HD: Light Forces is a feature-rich, fun and beautiful tower defense game that puts you in command of the forces of the Light in an attempt to prevent forces of the Dark from reaching the opposite side of the screen.
Myth Defense HD is a classic tower defense game in the style of Fieldrunners. You are presented with a variety of terrain and obstacles around which you must build an impenetrable web of death, and then funnel the forces of darkness into it. Gold is earned by killing enemies, and, once earned, can be used to purchase towers, upgrades, and enhancements. This is a classic formula but Myth Defense is in no way formulaic in its execution.
Winning battles, earning achievements, and collecting artifacts will enable you to craft runes to enhance your towers; a fantastic game mechanic that adds an entirely new strategic layer of gameplay. There's a total of 22 different tower types including various projectile towers, magic towers, heavy projectile towers, holy damage towers, slowing towers, and traps. One of my favorite aspects of these towers and their available upgrades is the fact that some upgrades apply a synergistic effect while others are antagonistic. For instance, a fireball tower will cause increased fire damage to enemies slowed by oil, but it will negate the slowing effect caused by freezing. This requires some careful planning as you will often need both kinds of towers on the same battlefield to stop all 14 different kinds of enemies, including goblins, zombies, orcs, spiders, tanks, vampires, air units, incorporeal units, elementals, sprinters, and slow-moving behemoths. Each of these enemies is particularly vulnerable to a certain type of damage, and many are resistant or even invulnerable to other types. For this reason, simply racing up the tech tree so you can spam the most powerful towers isn't going to get you anywhere. Know your enemy, and know yourself.
Myth Defense is not an easy game to win; especially if you don't pay attention to the previous paragraph. This is clearly intentional. While the game is new to iOS, it has been on the Android platform for quite a while, and has clearly benefited from months of balancing and playtesting. If you can't beat a level, rethink your strategy because you shouldn't have to replay battles just to progress.
As much as I enjoyed the campaign, I have to say that my favorite feature of Myth Defense, and the reason that it will remain on my iPad long after the campaign is over, is the random map generator. Hungry for a quick bout of mayhem and death, but are tired of the pre-made maps? Simply launch the game in Battle Mode and select (once unlocked) Random. I absolutely love open-ended features like this, and I think you will too.
One thing I really like about the graphics of Myth Defense is the size of the units; they are small. While this may cause some squinting on iPhones and iPods, it also allows you to see much more of the battlefield, which is a great tradeoff. All of the assets are professionally drawn and animated, and, in spite of their diminutive size, add a great deal of personality to the game. While Myth Defense is optimized for the iPhone 5's larger screen, the game is not optimized for retina displays, which is my only real gripe about the game.
The sound effects are great in Myth Defense, and so is the music. In particular, I found the effects to be nicely sampled, not overly repetitive, and rich with in-game cues to help you keep track of game activity.
In-App Purchases (IAPs)
There are no IAPs in Myth Defense, which makes this game a steal at its asking price of $2.99.
Myth Defense HD: Light Forces is highly recommended for tower defense fans and casual gamers alike. It's reasonably priced, universal, offers unique gameplay, and the open-ended random map feature means it will always feel fresh. Yes, it could use a retina upgrade, but that's a small complaint considering the amount of quality and polish that clearly went into it.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4 - Clean and support for iPhone 5 is great, but could use a retina upgrade. Sound: - 4.5 - Great sound effects and a pleasing soundtrack. Controls: - 5 - Conforms to standard tower defense game interface guidelines, and is accurate and responsive. Gameplay: - 5 - Surprisingly deep gameplay without feeling tedious or contrived. Highly recommended.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Try to force the enemies down corridors created by your towers, both to slow their advance across the screen, and to maximize damage. Be cautious when you upgrade so you don't inadvertently negate the slowing effects of a frost tower with a newly upgraded fireball tower. Air units will completely ignore any ground maze you create so be sure to place towers with air attack capabilities in their flightpath. Start with the campaign; it's fun, and will teach you the basics as you play.