So while on holidays, my phone got a huge workout to fulfil my gaming needs. I’ve chosen three of these games to review, partly because they are the only three games I played, but also because they don’t require an ongoing internet connection, something which is really important when internet costs 79 US cents a minute.
So admittedly, I’ve been playing this one for a while. There are currently 3 games in the series, Kingdom Rush, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers & Kingdom Rush: Origins, released in that order. If you can’t guess from the image to the left, Kingdom Rush is a fantasy tower defense series from Ironhide Game Studio with appealing cartoony graphics, solid game design and a couple of extra features that make it very repayable.
Unlike most tower defense games, there are only 4 basic tower types: archer’s nest, barracks, artillery and mage’s tower. And while this might seem a little sparse, the entire game has been designed around the way these towers work. The idea is that you use your barracks to spawn three defenders with limited health (usually aided by a single hero unit), while your archers, mages and artillery take out the units you’re defending against. All enemies have either regular armor, magical armor or no armor at all, so it helps to have a variance of towers. You only have limited spaces to put your towers, which means that there’s a huge amount of strategy involved.
The towers also have two possible variances at the final upgrade, each with three extra abilities. This leaves a bit of room for different combinations and style of play. This formula is pretty much the same throughout all three games and while the fully upgraded towers vary from games, there’s not much change between them. There’s also two extra game modes where restriction is placed on the towers you can build and upgrades that can be applied which acts as a sort of challenge mode.
While I can happily recommend these games, they’re not perfect. Like most mobile games these days, there’s a certain amount of in-game purchases (except in the Steam version). While I purchased the original games for between 99 cents and $5, there’s some in-game purchases which cost up towards $15. While this is incredibly expensive, the purchases add very little to the game and are not worth the money. This is not pay to win, but rather pay to… add extra stuff you don’t need. There were also a couple of boss levels which, while hard (and that’s fine), defied the purpose of tower defense as the boss getting through resulted in instant loss, meaning all previous effort and strategy was for nothing.
So bearing in mind, you don’t need to spend any money after your original purchase, I still highly recommend playing these games if you enjoy tower defense.
Rymdkapsel is exactly as Swedish as it sounds. Imagine Spacebase DF-9, crossed with Tetris with a splash of IKEA decor. Not to mention the designer, Martin Jonasson, is Swedish, which pretty much explains everything. You start off with two minions, a handful of resources and some soothing elevator music. The aim is to expand your space station using rooms while harvesting resources, generating energy, food and more minions, finding artifacts and defending against waves of hostile aliens (or they could be people, it doesn’t really matter). After each wave, the time frame before the next wave increases. Which means that after around the 20th wave, minions start dying.
So how does Tetris come into it? Instead of allowing you to build what you want where you want, you can only build in Tetris-shaped blocks, with no choice with what shapes comes next. The purpose of that room is entirely your choice, but as resources start to become thin survival become quite difficult.
I admit, I didn’t feel a huge desire to replay this game over and over again, but it’s definitely worth the money and a couple of hours bingeing.
So… technically not an indie game, but I’ve enjoyed it so much that I think it’s worth mentioning.
First of all, I have no idea what Rayman is, what his deal or what any of the Rayman games are about. He has no limbs… none! Yet he has hands and feet! Anyway regardless of the sorcery that accompanies the main character, Rayman has been around for two decades now and would have to be one of Ubisoft’s first and longest lasting IP. Rayman has always been a platformer, even following the same progression path as Mario: going from a side-scrolling platformer to a 3D platformer and finally back to a high-definition side-scrolling platformer (with some random spinoffs along the way).
Anyway, Rayman Fiesta Run is a 2D, side-scrolling, speed-running platformer. The goal is to get from start to end without taking any damage and collecting as many lums (golden flies) as possible along the way. You can jump, hover and punch by touching either side of the screen. For a platformer, the controls are simple and eloquent, which is perfect for a mobile game.
For each level, if you collect at least 80 (out of 100), you get 4 blue things which help progress you across a candy-crush style map towards the next grouping of levels. Each levels generally has a set path which allows you to collect all the lums and successfully finish a level. I can understand how this might not sound appealing, winning with the power of hindsight that is. But in the case of this game, I love it. It’s incredibly satisfying to go through the whole level and collect everything in one go. It appeals to the inner-completionist in me. And as I mention that, at a certain point, you move into the boss series of levels which don’t award little blue things. Which means you have to go back and complete all the previous levels to be able to unlock the final bosses. While I don’t mind this, it’s an interesting design feature.
Out of the three games I’ve reviewed, Rayman Fiesta Run is my favourite. It’s colourful, the soundtrack is bouncy, addictive, handles well and because the levels are short, lends itself perfectly to a phone game.
The next review in 3 weeks will on Massive Chalice