By Nate Adcock on Sun, 05/01/2011
Monster Trouble is 3D Tower Defense fun, and make no mistake, this game will suck you into endless hours of grinding gameplay. If you like TD games already, and looking for one with a medieval theme, high-quality rendering and effects, and a bit of campy humor, then this is definitely your game.
The main trouble so far I have with Monster Trouble is the load speed (and very minor trouble indeed). Each level takes around 20 seconds to load, which seems a bit long on my iPod touch 4. The game is around 108MB, so not a tiny program, but still not huge. The rendering is well done, but I have several games that eclipse this game in size, and start much faster (with 3D, high-quality graphics, etc). I grabbed it via iTunes on my computer, and sync'd to my iPod without issue.
Tower Defense is not my favorite game type, but I enjoy a spot of Fieldrunners now and again, so not alien to the genre. My big complaint with Fieldrunners (and simple TD games in particular) is that the enemy always does the same thing. Over and over, wave after wave. The only thing that really changes is the concentration and fortitude of the waves of advancing opponents. It's a lot like trying to stop ants from getting in your house, and after awhile is all a bit boring. Monster Trouble adds dynamic features to this idea (namely, a true 3D perspective) that makes it a much more interesting prospect.
The objective is still pretty simple. Your job is to build and provide a defense for something (in this case a farm, village, mill, etc.). Monsters will swarm in from various approaches to attack your location. You must quickly erect fortifications upon which to station your defenders. Key elements of deployment (as in all defense strategy) really depend on terrain and approaches to the target. The most important consideration being the location and proximity of your defenses. Interlocking fields of fire are key, so it is always good to position towers so that the combined firepower--close to each other and the defended object--will have maximum effect against advancing waves. The game has good tutorials to help you get started.
TD usually involves a time/money trade-off between force protection (upgrading your defenses), and/or simply deploying more cheaper defenses to stop the enemy. In other words, do you wait to have enough money for better options/defender types, or simply build the cheaper defenses now (sometimes you don't have a lot of choice). MT has several types of defenders and tower types as you progress through the game, and employing them properly is important. A hunter can shoot at greater range, but he has a lower reload speed than a farmer (A hunter also costs more).
Monster Trouble differs from many TD games in several key aspects. Firstly, it is more akin to a 3D battle-strategy game than with pure TD. Enemies attack the towers in a much more random fashion, and when shot at, will run directly to a defender to fight instead of blindly toward some distant goal. The game area can be zoomed back to encompass the whole scene or zoomed into a specific area of melee, and it is often imperative to monitor and interact in this fashion. You can move defender positions quickly (say a hunter dies and you don't have money for another) to respond to catastrophic failure of parts of your defense.
MT also adds the element of picking up battlefield booty during game play, which is another unique aspect of this game. As attackers are destroyed, coins and power-ups pop out (potions can be used as weapons, or to heal your defenders), and can then be picked up by tapping on them. This keeps you engaged in the combat beyond simply building and fortifying new defenses. Some monster characters can steal your coins, which require them to be destroyed faster than others. You can quickly kill such targets with a special weapon, or by directing fire from your defenders at them.
Some monster attackers also use special weapons like fireballs that continue to cause damage even after the attacker is vanquished, so force protection elements like a well and steady supply of water may be needed to keep your defenses intact. You can quickly see a defender's range of attack by tapping on him/her. You can also see health status of all defenders by selecting the potion icon. Similarly, damage status can be viewed by selecting the object/s you are defending. You can also monitor progress through the level by noting the center gauge above.
Monster trouble is plain and simple the best TD game I have yet played on iOS. The 3D effects and movement of both attackers and defenders is fantastically detailed (especially at the higher zoom levels). The added battle concepts—picking up power ups and coins—also make this an even more interesting challenge. I give it only a minor critique on startup time, and I noted that defender position selection could be quirky and unreliable at times. Otherwise, I enthusiastically recommend this game! Grab it here in the App Store for $1.99..
You can check out a YT video of the action here.