Townrs Defender shows creative flashes; solid gameplay that will only get better

Posted: July 30, 2009 in Strategy, Tower Defense

Have you ever felt like you were running around like a headless chicken because you had to be at several places at once? That’s the exact feeling you get with Townrs Defender, a play on the castle defense concept that goes beyond just flicking your enemies away. The gameplay is challenging and entertaining, and the enemies are varied enough to keep you engaged. But it does suffer from few issues that need to be worked out including the lack of sound.

Visually, I like the look of the game where you play a lone guardian with magic powers defending the town gate. You have four towers—two upfront by the main paths and two by the town gate to aid in defenses. But, they are also weak and will fall soon enough. The terrain mostly consists of a lush forest where the guardian can easily move around. Right now, the game has one map, although the game does have 3 levels of difficulty—easy, medium and hard—that alters the game conditions and attack waves.

Easy—1 attack direction, 20 attack waves
Medium—2 attack directions, 25 attack waves
Hard—3 attack directions, 30 attack waves

Even on the easy setting, the game can difficult if you think you don’t a defense strategy in mind. The game allows you to choose either a male or female guardian, and for what it’s worth, they look like brother and sister who like to dress up in armor. The game offers a good variety of enemies which visually look good and move smoothly on my iPod Touch 2g 3.0. These enemies include Fighters, Archers, Mages and Water Knights to name a few as well bosses that resemble giant genies having a bad day in the lamp. Each of these bosses has different powers including the ability.

The lack of sound really impacts the feel especially for this type of game. The sounds of weapons fire or even running through the trees would be welcome. The devs have mentioned the addition of sound effects in an upcoming update, and it can’t come soon enough.

The default weapon is the Cyclone Shield which is a short range weapon that generates waves and storms. As you progress through several milestone levels, the Cyclone Shield also increases in its ability and power to freeze enemies in place. Additional weapons are unlocked after completing the game at the various difficulty levels. Complete the game at the easy setting, and you unlock the powerful Plague Sword which turns enemies against each other. The Meteor Wand for shooting fire is unlocked after completing the game at the medium setting.

In terms of controls, moving is done by tapping the location where you’d like to move your guardian. It’s not the most efficient control scheme and can be rather clumsy. A d-pad or virtual joystick may be a better set-up and would make maneuvering significantly easier. Controlling and leveraging the intensity or direction of a weapon is based on finger swipe gestures. For example, tapping on a specific enemy will level an attack on that sole target. To activate a directional attack, simply drag from the guardian outward to level a broader attack on multiple enemies. The deeper you get in a game will unlock two other swipe gestures that unleash other types of weapons dispersal. During the game, you slowly build experience as you survive each wave, and once enough experience is gained, points represented as stars can be applied to these different weapon skills that make them more powerful when unleashed. It’s is pretty basic in this initial release, but it’s a good start adding another layer to this game.

The gameplay in Townrs Defender can be intense since enemies will come in bunches and depending on difficulty, from different places at once. Each enemy, tower and gate will have health bars so you know exactly what’s about to give. The strategy in the game is not to defend and attack each enemy that arrives. The objective is to protect the game, and often you’ll find leading them away is your offense. Enemies will instinctively chase after you. Other times, hiding and flanking enemies is the best strategy. In other words, there isn’t a right way to defend and is only limited by your creativity and ingenuity.

Two additional elements available to you on the grounds are the Healing Fountain and the 2 Transporters. The Healing Fountain will rejuvenate and recharge your guardian’s health, while the transporters will help you get from one place to another quickly. One of things to keep in mind with weapons is that directional attacks take to time to recharge after use, and icons in the upper right corner will countdown the time until a full charge. At any time during the game as stars are earned, they can be applied to your guardian.

As long as the town gate is standing, your guardian can die uncountable times. But, there is a respawning time which temporarily inhibits you from fighting or defending and you reappear back at the Healing Fountain.

On occasion, it can be difficult to move quickly enough and avoid inadvertently activating weapons. While additional heroes and hopefully maps/layouts are planned for the future, the big issue for me is the lack of sound. I realize that is in the next update, but I can already bet that sound will add significantly to the overall feel of this game. This is a good and more or less solid game in terms of mechanics and gameplay, and sound will only make it better.

Townrs Defender is a good castle defense game that brings its own style to the table. The variety of enemies and weapons as well as difficulty levels offers a challenging and entertaining level of play. With additional content and addressing a few issues as noted, this game could really be great.

Albie Meter: 3.5 Stars (solid gameplay with plenty of variety in this initial release that will get even better with sound and even more content; basic RPG elements for now)

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