Lich Defense from Jelly Oasis just made its way into the iTunes App Store. While each game should be judged on its own merit, it’s worth mentioning (for several reasons) that Jelly Oasis has another tower defense megastar in iTunes, the similarly named Elf Defense. For those familiar with the previous game, they’ll find plenty familiar (and plenty of new content) in Lich Defense.
Unlike its pastel faerie-folk oriented counterpart, the protagonists in Lich Defense are of a darker nature. As the title suggests, the “hero” of the day is an undead king. The Lich King serves as both the game’s main character and the tower to be defended. This dual role affords the game some of its more unique game play mechanics. Players defeat waves of attackers by placing a satisfying variety of towers as well as by utilizing the Lich’s special skills.
The control system is typical for tower defense, with the in-game controls being elegantly streamlined in a manner which will be immediately natural to players that have experience with Elf Defense, and simple to pick up for others as well. To place a tower, the player taps the appropriate area of the map, selects the tower from those available in the pop-up icons (based on the tower’s price and utility), and moves on. To remove or upgrade a tower in-level, the tower is tapped again to bring up a second menu—sell or upgrade—each represented with appropriate icons.
The Jelly Oasis team has built some impressive games in the past, and Lich Defense lives up to that reputation. Smooth in-game controls and the enhanced role of the “tower”—that is, the Lich—make Lich Defense stand out in the crowd when it comes to tower defense games. Now, certainly there are tower defense games where the tower or castle has some rudimentary offensive tactics of its own, but this is brought to a whole new level in Lich Defense. The Lich has slots available for three special skills, which are basically area of effect attacks. Players can choose which of these skills to earn and equip and upgrade, and they can also upgrade the Lich’s attributes as they see fit. This adds some dimension to the strategies players will choose as levels become more challenging. And they will become more challenging. Aside from the generous game play offered by the multitude of levels (kept fresh with three environmental themes and countless enemies and towers), the game boasts customizable speed, quests, and a normal/hard mode option. As we’d expect, the IAP set up is extensive, although not particularly necessary to play (so long as the player is willing to exercise some patience with difficult levels!)
In terms of aesthetics, Lich Defense is competent but not innovative. While the designs are polished, the characters don’t really ooze personality. The Lich can be customized with different robes, but his role could be accentuated with more animations that engage the player a bit more.
Lich Defense is available in the iTunes App Store now, for $1.99, and it’s a solid castle defense title with the polish and quality Jelly Oasis has become deservedly well-known for.