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Summary:

I was first introduced to the world of tower defense games a couple of years back with the venerable Desktop Tower Defense. I do have to admit that I wondered if the whole idea of the game, placing various types of gun turrets to try and […]

fieldrunners-grab

I was first introduced to the world of tower defense games a couple of years back with the venerable Desktop Tower Defense. I do have to admit that I wondered if the whole idea of the game, placing various types of gun turrets to try and annihilate a group of small creatures/people before they can escape from you, might indicate some deep homicidal impulse on my part. But when I realized that the creatures where aptly named “creeps,” my worries dissipated.

When the iPhone came along it was immediately apparent to me that this was the perfect platform for tower defense games, with the touch screen an excellent way to place my maze of death. Sure enough the genre has sprouted no fewer than 49 different iPhone games for those who share my intense desire to keep creeps from crossing the screen. I’m not going to tell you which are my favorite, that will come later, but I am going to try and give you a complete snapshot of what’s available in the App store today. Because, let’s face it, if you don’t have at least half a dozen of these installed you’re not really exercising your homicidal instincts to their full potential.

td-geodefensegeoDefense

Price: $1.99 (free lite version also available)
Current Rating: 4.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: Futuristic Tron-like graphics, high-speed gameplay and path oriented maps.

td-geodefense-swarmgeoDefense Swarm

Price: 99 cents
Current Rating: 4.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: Same purposefully (I hope) unsophisticated, futuristic graphics as the standard geoDefense, but with an open field approach to maps.

td-towermadnessTowerMadness: 3D Tower Defense

Price: $2.99 (free lite version also available)
Current Rating: 3.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: This games gives you a reason for your killing, to protect your sheep from aliens. Also you get a 3-D interface, although the graphics leave something to be desired.

td-fieldrunnersFieldrunners

Price: $2.99
Current Rating: 4.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: Fieldrunners offers a relatively vanilla tower defense experience, but is distinguished by its extremely smooth interface and high quality graphics.

td-stardefenseStar Defense

Price: 99 cents (free “prelude” version also available)
Current Rating: 3.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: This space-based tower defense game has you playing on small worlds that you can rotate and zoom into. The graphics are definitely the key feature here.

td-dungeondefenseDungeon Defense

Price: 99 cents (free lite version also available)
Current Rating: 3.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: In this version of tower defense you play the bad guys, in the form of skeletons, and you kill the heroes. I kind of like that idea. There does seem to be a limited amount of gameplay, however, with only three skeleton types to place.

td-sentinelmarsdefenseSentinel: Mars Defense

Price: 99 cents
Current Rating: 4 stars
Distinguishing Features: You place towers to defend Mars from aliens. There seem to be a good selection of tower types and the graphics look impressive.

td-Sentinel2EarthDefenseSentinel 2: Earth Defense

Price: $2.99
Current Rating: 4 stars
Distinguishing Features: The same idea as its predecessor Mars Defense, only this time the alien buggers are invading earth. Impressive graphics are once again the highlight of this tower defense game.

td-navypatrolcoastaldefenseNavy Patrol: Coastal Defense

Price: $1.99
Current Rating: 4 stars
Distinguishing Features: Tower defense on the water, you place your navy to defend against an invader. Graphics are not overly impressive and the interface can get a bit cluttered, but gameplay seems to be deep.

td-thecreepsThe Creeps!

Price: 99 cents
Current Rating: 4 stars
Distinguishing Features: This time the creeps aren’t just trying to innocently cross the screen, they’re trying to get under your bed! This take on the tower defense genre offers cute graphics and some interesting features like destroyable terrain.

td-tapdefenseTapDefense

Price: Free
Current Rating: 4 stars
Distinguishing Features: Solid graphics and gameplay seem to be marred by some user complaints about advertisements. Still, it’s hard to argue with free.

td-7cities7 Cities

Price: $2.99
Current Rating: 4 stars
Distinguishing Features: Coastal tower defense, you build towers next to waterways to destroy invading ships. Towers can gain experience to get more powerful. The graphics are impressive and you can even build your own maps.

td-battlefieldnuclearbombBattle Field – Nuclear Bomb

Price: $2.99 (free version also available)
Current Rating: 4 stars
Distinguishing Features: A wide selection of towers, with 10 different types. There’s also a leveling system and, of course, nuclear bombs.

td-towerdefenseTowerDefense

Price: 99 cents
Current Rating: Not available
Distinguishing Features: Cartoonish graphics look decent but the description is strangely short and there aren’t enough ratings to merit a score. I kind of feel bad for the developer.

td-abugsdefenseA Bugs Defense

Price: 99 cents
Current Rating: 2 stars
Distinguishing Features: The premise is pretty simple, bugs are invading the house and you stop them with various insecticides. The graphics are cute and cartoonish. Unfortunately there seem to be some game-play “bugs” that bother reviewers.

td-sgtowerdefenceSG Tower Defence

Price: 99 cents
Current Rating: 2 stars
Distinguishing Features: Graphics are… unimpressive. There’s a strange wooden background to everything and the towers and creeps look like something out of 1985, and not in a good retro way.

td-BesiegementBesiegement

Price: 99 cents
Current Rating: 3.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: Interesting mix of graphics for a fairly vanilla tower defense game. The point of view is different from most, and you do have a good selection of tower types.

td-portdefenderPort Defender – 2D Tower Defense

Price: $1.99 (free lite version also available)
Current Rating: 2.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: Not a lot special here, the graphics aren’t anything to swoon over and the selection of maps and towers are pretty standard.

td-warpdefenseWarp Defense

Price: Free
Current Rating: 2.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: I was a bit curious to see how the “warp” in the title would be implemented in the game, but it turns out it’s just a path-based tower defense game with laser-showesque graphics.

td-dragonslaughterepisode1Dragon Slaughter Episode I

Price: $2.99 (free lite version also available)
Current Rating: 3.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: Fantasy oriented game with excellent graphics. Interesting tower purchasing system requires you to combine orb types, with various strength and weaknesses.

td-ninjatdNinja TD

Price: $2.99
Current Rating: 4 stars
Distinguishing Features: OK, there are Ninjas, what else do you want? Well, there also seem to be some beautiful graphics here, along with magic based ninja powers. Unfortunately your enemies are not pirates.

td-moonlightminionsMoonlight Minions

Price: $1.99
Current Rating: 4 stars
Distinguishing Features: Impressive graphics, with an underground path-oriented theme. Your “towers” are various fungal compositions, I’ll let you make what you will of that.

td-gardenwarGarden War

Price: 99 cents (free version also available)
Current Rating: 4 stars
Distinguishing Features: A pest oriented tower defense game, in this one you defend your garden from various creepy buggers. Maps appear to be path-oriented and graphics are very good.

td-tridefenseTriDefense

Price: $3.99 (free lite version also available)
Current Rating: 3 stars
Distinguishing Features: This version of tower defense offers decent graphics and some interesting features for example creeps can appear from anywhere on the screen and you can modify the terrain.

td-bloonstowerdefenseBloons Tower Defense

Price: $2.99
Current Rating: 4.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: In this path-based tower defense game you want to pop the escaping balloons, but you get to use dart-throwing monkeys to do it, sounds good to me.

td-boombrigadeBooom Brigade

Price: 99 cents
Current Rating: 3.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: An interesting mix of shooter and tower game. You get three types of troops to fire at the incoming creeps, but they don’t do it automatically, instead you have to draw their attacks onto the screen. Reviewers indicate it’s a hard proposition.

td-defenderchroniclesDefender Chronicles – Legend of The Desert King

Price: $3.99
Current Rating: 4.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: Fantasy oriented path-based tower defense game with a leveling system for your general that gives you bonuses for troop types.

td-zombieattackZombie Attack!

Price: $2.99 (free version also available)
Current Rating: 3.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: There are zombies, you need to kill them…pretty self-explanatory really. The best part is the hand drawn (as in pencil on lined paper) tower picker.

td-tribaltroubletowerdefenseTribal Trouble Tower Defense

Price: $2.99
Current Rating: 2 stars
Distinguishing Features: Decent graphics and interface, but be warned that there’s only one level in this game.

td-killallbugsKill All Bugs!

Price: 99 cents
Current Rating: 3 stars
Distinguishing Features: Basic tower defense game except the creeps are giant bugs. Graphics are nothing impressive, but there does seem to be a good depth of gameplay.

td-hextoptowerdefenseHextop Tower Defense

Price: 99 cents (free lite version also available)
Current Rating: 3 stars
Distinguishing Features: Yes, it’s hexagonal, apart from that there’s nothing special here.

td-idefendiDefend

Price: $1.99 (free lite version also available)
Current Rating: 3.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: A lot of gameplay with 36 levels, but you better be a fan of retro graphics.

td-exaltowerdefenseExal Tower Defense

Price: 99 cents
Current Rating: Not Rated
Distinguishing Features: A basic open field tower defense games with mediocre graphics.

td-mote-mMote-M

Price: 99 cents
Current Rating: 3 stars
Distinguishing Features: Another basic tower defense game, this one with path-oriented maps.

td-nemesisdefenceNemesis Defence

Price: $1.99
Current Rating: Not Rated
Distinguishing Features: Path-based tower defense game with a good selection of towers but only three different maps.

td-circuitdefendersCircuit Defenders

Price: $1.99 (free lite version also available)
Current Rating: 3 stars
Distinguishing Features: The premise is that you’re defending a circuit board from viruses. The graphics are… not bad. The gameplay is endless, and by that I don’t mean that you will want to play forever (although you might) but rather that you keep on going until you’ve lost all your lives.

td-retrodefenseRetro Defense

Price: $3.99 (free lite version also available)
Current Rating: 3 stars
Distinguishing Features: Retro arcade style tower defense game with path-oriented maps and 15 levels.

Sweetwatertd-sweetwaterdefense

Price: $2.99 (free lite version also available)
Current Rating: 3.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: This coastal defense oriented game features some very nice graphics and 3D effects. Be prepared, however, that this one is no pushover, reviewers rate it as one of the hardest tower defense games they’ve played.

td-lastportalLast Portal

Price: $1.99
Current Rating: 3.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: The graphics are a bit simple, but well designed. The interesting feature of this game is that you need to defend a central point rather than a maze or a side of the screen.

td-galacticinvasionGalactic Invasion

Price: $1.99
Current Rating: 2.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: Your towers in this game are orbital emplacements to stop alien invaders from reaching earth. Unfortunately the interface seems a bit difficult to use.

td-inkomingINKoming

Price: $1.99 (free lite version also available)
Current Rating: 3 stars
Distinguishing Features: Interesting resource management features require you to turn towers on/off to make the best use of your capabilities.

td-touchdefensetouchDefense

Price: $3.99
Current Rating: 3 stars
Distinguishing Features: Simple but well designed graphics in this basic tower defense game.

defense_stationDefense Station Touchable

Price: $2.99
Current Rating: 3 stars
Distinguishing Features: Average graphics and a pretty standard path-based setup without a ton of depth.

tower_defendTowerDefend

Price: $1.99
Current Rating: 3 stars
Distinguishing Features: Nice if you like old arcade graphics, but not much else compelling here.

td-marsdefenceMars Defence

Price: Free
Current Rating: 2.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: Very basic from graphics to gameplay. Reviews indicate this is a work in progress.

td-tidesofwarTides of War

Price: 99 cents
Current Rating: 3 stars
Distinguishing Features: A mix of real-time-strategy and tower defense. You have both units and buildings that you can deploy on the map to keep an invading horde of pirates from overwhelming you.

td-powertowersPower Towers

Price: $1.99 (free version also available)
Current Rating: 3.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: There seems to be a lot of depth to the gameplay, with nine tower types and eight different mission types. The graphics look like something from the DOS era, however.

td-stoptheboxesStopTheBoxes

Price: $1.99
Current Rating: 1.5 stars
Distinguishing Features: The developer says it’s a tower defense game, some of the reviewers agree, but I sure can’t figure it out.

td-defensegridcompanionDefense Grid Companion

Price: Free
Current Rating: 2 stars
Distinguishing Features: The graphics look nice, but there’s not a lot of information from the developer, nor a lot of reviews. Of course it doesn’t cost you anything to give it a shot.

  1. I just downloaded Booom Brigade. The game has a lot of potential, and it is quite hard, but isn’t that what games are supposed to be? I have too many games on my iPhone that i’ve finished in a few hours and then what? TapDefence took me a while to perfect but I nearly beat the game every time before they updated it, so now you’ve got many choices on game styles. The only games I keep on my screen are games like these which can be played different each time, Air Control, TapDefence, Booom Brigade, Scrabble, etc…

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  2. thanks for the post i was just looking for some free apps for my ipod touch

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  3. there is a “tower defense” section in the iTunes Store (on a computer). – so the same list is there. :)

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    1. There was a list. It’s not there anymore and it was limited to just a fraction of the apps.

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  4. Wonderful list. But since I can’t download and try them all, which would you recommend? (Not specific to this post by any means, but I find that the “50 iPhone programs you didn’t even know existed!” types of posts are a little exasperating.) Are all of these programs just simple cookie cutters of each other? Or is there one that stands above the others? If so, why?

    I’d much prefer “5 wickedely awesome Tower Defense Apps for the iPhone.” I can easily download and try out five apps, but 50 … I think I’ll go back to playing Solitaire.

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    1. Rob, the “5 Wickedly Awesome Tower Defense Apps for the iPhone” post is absolutely in the works. We just checked so many of them out initially that we figured we might as well throw it all in a post to have a central resource.

      The “Top 5″ post is taking a bit longer to write since each app is getting a more of a review.

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  5. Personally Im waiting for Plants vs Zombies.

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  6. I’m looking forward to Hordes of Orcs from MrJoy. The Mac and Windows versions have been out for a while, and there’s a public beta of the upcoming iPhone version:

    http://www.mrjoy.com/posts/34-Public-Beta-of-Hordes-of-Orcs-iPhone

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  7. [...] Defense Galore: Bei TAB hat man sich die Mühe gemacht, 49 der im AppStore erhältlichen Tower Defense-Spiel (hier die [...]

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  8. One tower defense game that I’ve been enjoying is Final Fantasy: Crystal Defenders, which has a much cheaper (I can’t remember if it was free) “Lite” version that works as a trial.

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  9. Fieldrunners is by far the most addicting one I’ve played in this list.

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  10. TapDefense *was* a good game. Now, I find it a scam. I hope that other apps don’t follow this practice. Let me explain. It is a free app that supported itself by those little Ad Banners. That didn’t bother me. The latest update/version states it has “2 new towers” and other improved compatibility stuff. I was so excited to get the “2 new towers”. However, once you opened the game, it tells you that in order to get one these new towers for this *free* game, you have to either “install one of these applications or complete one of the offers to unlock” it. Out of the applications listed, only one is free. The offers are basically those online surveys where you have give out your email and other personal information or purchase certain offers to third party vendors such as Netflix, etc. This is a new low. The company that makes/supports it TapJoy is even offering other companies to do the same thing for their iPhone apps. I kid you not, on their blog, “Quadrupling Revenue For a Popular Free Game” http://tapjoy.com/blog/post/2009/08/19/Tapjoy-Case-Study-Virtual-Good-Monetization.aspx#comment. Oddly enough you can’t post a comment. I hope this doesn’t become the norm. Apple needs to control this but I don’t think they care. When an app is free, don’t offer updates where you really have to pay to get it… I can’t even find where to complain about this to Apple or Apple Store. Can someone tell me who to complain to? It’s just disgusting!

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