Monday, February 20, 2012

Game Review - Kingdom Rush

Trailer -

Wiki -

Let me start by saying this:  This little game made by 3 people is one of the best tower defense games ever made.

To put it simply,if you like tower defense you should really play this game; it has cool towers & upgrades, tons of enemies, a cool art style, is as challenging as you want, and brings in new and very cool design mechanics to the genre.

ALSO, every time you kill a boss, he falls over and shows his butt!  I still laugh.

Design - 18/20 -  In Kingdom Rush, you can expect to see most of the standard tower defense mechanics, presented in a polished, balanced experience.  You build towers, get money for killing bad guys to buy more towers, etc.  KR chooses to only let the player build towers in pre-designated areas, as opposed to the free form tower building some games use.  I generally like the free form tower building, because that usually allows you to block and alter enemies paths.  This is where KR gets interesting.

KR introduces the knight tower; you build this tower and it produces guys that run out and fight enemies near the tower.  It doesn’t really alter enemy paths, but the effect is similar.  You can upgrade the guys to be stronger, the later upgrades are really cool like being able to choose between axe throwing barbarians and spell casting knights!  

As a compliment to the knight mechanic, you also have “Re-enforcements” that you can drop anywhere on the map every few seconds.  When it comes down to it, this is almost the meat and potatoes of what the player does, because the cooldown is fast, I think ever 10 seconds you can drop 2 soldiers.  You can also drop a meteor barrage, that is equally important, but only is allowed every minute or so.  Both of these can be upgraded and highly effective.

All the towers have really cool upgrades.

The levels are varied and well designed, almost too well!!  I had this same problem with Orcs Must Die, the levels are so tight that they’re a bit too hard.  I’m not complaining here, but I’m a seasoned tower d player and I’m having trouble completing the campaign on normal.  I’m sure it will be easy for some people, but I believe more people will be turned off or become stuck and quit because of the difficulty.

KR even has an achievement system within the game.

Tech -  18/20 - I played this game on the developers website (although I heard about the iPad version first), and it was great.  I had a few weird login issues, but they give you 3 online saves and 3 local saves if you want.  The game and menus are responsive and quick loading, the game never chugs.  I would love to play it on iPad.  I wish I could play it in full screen too.

Art - 19/20 - The art is great.  It’s simple, but just about perfect in the look and the information given to the player.  All the enemies are distinct in some way.  The animations may be simple, but they’re cool and they work.  

The cartoony atmosphere is solidified by the batman-like “Whops” and “Thuds” in KR combat.  And like I said earlier, when a boss or mini boss dies and falls over you can see his butt.

They created a really cool visual world here, the enemies are cartoony, but they’re fiendishly cartoony.  Every time you upgrade anything you get a visual reward, the best of which is the knights, they start out looking like farmers, but then get armor, then swords and shields.  Not only is this cool tiny visual candy, it also allows players to quickly look and see the upgrade status of everything without clicking on anything.

Production - 18/20 - KR on the web is free, and cheap on the iPad, but comes in a package you’d expect to pay for.

The menus are slick, all the information you need is always a few clicks away.  New information is given quickly, at the right time and painlessly.

SFX and music are very cool and the VO is even better.  Each tower has a few different things they say and they’re mostly funny, movie or game inspired quotes and they’re memorable.  (“Freedom!!!”, “Hail to the king, baby” and “Yippie ki yay muthaBLEEPer”... This is a family friendly game.)

Value - 20/20 - It’s FREE online and .99 for iPad.  I’ve played it for over 10 hours, all free.  There is paid content, but nothing that would give non-paying players a disadvantage.  You can buy extra maps to play, perfect!  BLEEPing perfect!

Total Score = 93/100

P.S. Play it here:

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