Kingdom Rush (also available in HD for iPad) from Armor Games is a medieval-themed tower defense game that received quite a bit of acclaim when it was released for the iPad back in April. Last week, it finally released on the iPhone, flawlessly bringing the screen-filling action down to the smaller screen.
At first glance, Kingdom Rush appears to be just like any other tower defense game in the App Store: players build and upgrade towers to defeat increasingly difficult waves of enemies. But Rush adds a number of fun tweaks to the genre, taking the complex maze-building elements of other games and placing it on a much more visually appealing, open landscape.
The four different towers players utilize are relatively basic units, but what makes them so much fun is the amount of customization available in each round. Once players unlock the higher-leveled upgrades, different attack options become available, which adds another interesting layer to developing strategies for each level. For example, after upgrading the archer unit to Rangers, players can then modify the unit’s attacks, adding new abilities and allowing for an insane amount of combinations and deployments to experiment with throughout.
There are further ingenious ideas packed into Kingdom Rush. During each match, players have the ability to summon different power-ups like unlockable ‘hero units’ and other special attacks. It keeps the game active at every turn, always giving players something to do, whether its distract and slowdown powerful enemies by throwing a few extra foot soldiers at them, or bringing out a powerful hero unit to do devastating damage for a short period of time.
With 50 missions in a number of different environments and maps, there is a ton of content to unearth. And thanks to the beautiful animated visuals and hilarious sound bytes from different soldiers, its not one that becomes repetitive or boring -either in its appearance or its gameplay.
It’s been quite a year so far for one of the most popular genres in the App Store, with developers continuing to find unique ways to keep the experience feeling fresh every time. Kingdom Rush is right up there with Fieldrunners 2 as the best tower defense games on iOS, a lengthy, rewarding adventure that is as deep and engaging as it is beautiful.