By Peter Magers on Sat, 12/03/2011
Fantasy Defense is a tightly constructed tower defense game that’s almost instantly addictive, thanks to some awesome enhancements.
The back story is familiar enough. Once upon a time, there was an evil king. A monster king. A Wraith King, even. This bad guy terrorized the human population with a stunning assortment of monsters until some heroes sealed him up. Of course, sealing up isn’t obliterating, so there was bound to be trouble later. Enter the player, and get to monster smashing.
The player’s fortress and the monster fortress are represented by gates in each stage, with a path between them. You place your fighting force along the path to prevent waves of monsters from reaching your territory. The player’s gate has a certain number of HP for each level, and each time a monster breaches the gate, it does damage. There are two types of fighting units in the game—heroes and everyone else. These types are divided into warrior, mage, and archer categories and you draw from two types of currency to deploy heroes and fighters. Placement is drag and drop, and you can also tap around to get your fighters to focus on particular objectives.
You’ll earn gold by slaughtering enemies, and it’s this that you use to place regular units. You don’t start out with much, so you have to keep an eye on gold level to place more fighters during each level. Hero points are used to place heroes and to upgrade them. Outside the levels, you’ll have access to the shop and skills area where you beef up stats and purchase items. There’s a lot crammed into this, for a tower defense game that is so fast-paced—the RPG and action elements give it a satisfying level of complexity. Initially, I didn’t think this would work as a casual game, given all of the features there are to learn and control, but the pacing of the first stages makes them a sort of on-the-job-training. Quick enough that you have to tap around blindly, which reveals more than you’d expect, and slow enough that it’s not overwhelmingly likely that you’ll lose repeatedly.
Graphics are pretty old school, in a good way. Think Heavy Metal meets anime for the cut scenes and loading screens, with audio to match. The sound effects during play are simple, but nice, and since each unit has an effect or two, when the screen is full of enemies the sound of battle is impressive.
The game is vast, with a lot of themes, stages, and endless waves of enemies; plus, you can adjust the speed of play to make levels more or less challenging. On top of that, you’ve got three modes of play to keep you entertained. I’m stingy with games, but this one has enough going for it to justify it’s generous $2.99 tag, so pick it up.