Recently we looked at the plethora of tower defense games available for the iPhone. For anyone who looked at that list and wondered where they should actually spend your money, today’s article is for you. I’m not going to argue that the following five games are the best tower defense games on the platform, but I will tell you that if you decide to spend money on any (or all) of these games, you probably won’t be disappointed. I also tried to pick from a good range of gameplay types, so you can pick up a couple of these and get relatively different gameplay experiences.
Price: 99 cents
This is the hands down winner for adorable iPhone tower defense games. The premise is pretty simple, there are monsters trying to get under your bed and you have to stop them by placing your towers along set paths. The graphics are cute, in a Spongebob Squarepants kind of way, and the gameplay offers a variety of interesting features.
For example, you can attack terrain like trees or small hills in order to open more space for towers. In fact one of the gameplay modes requires you to destroy terrain and build your way across the map in order to destroy the creep’s spawning point. There are also interesting towers, like a flying saucer that you can activate a couple of times during a game and move around the map using the iPhone’s accelerometer. There’s also plenty of depth to the gameplay, with a wide variety of maps.
Fieldrunners was one of the first games I bought for my iPhone, and this grandaddy of tower defense games still holds up incredibly well. The graphics are excellent, with both the towers and the creeps very distinctive. The gameplay is focused on the open field approach, which means that the creeps don’t move along distinct paths, but instead you have to use towers to herd them in the direction you want.
I prefer this style to the path-oriented tower defense games because you have a lot more options on how to set up your defense, along with more space to make mistakes, meaning you have deeper gameplay. Fieldrunners doesn’t offer the plethora of maps some other tower defense games do, but the ones that are available offer distinctive challenges as well as various selections of towers. If you’re looking for an open field tower defense games you won’t be disappointed with Fieldrunners.
This game competes with The Creeps in the cuteness factor, as your “towers” are small ninjas. The graphics are also good/cute, but Ninja TD offers its own distinctive gameplay that is different from other iPhone tower defense games. To start with, the maps are a mix of open field and path based. Creeps can’t move freely across the map, but there’s enough space in the path they follow to allow for some creative Ninja placement.
In addition to the Ninjas themselves, you can also place various Ninja powers, which can do various things like send a creep flying back to the beginning of the map. There are also invisible enemies that require specific powers to be seen and attacked. These powers need to be unlocked so you’ll have to put some effort into the game before you get the full selection of gameplay options.
Price: 99 cents (Free version also available)
As you may have noticed I’m partial to games with very good graphics, but Star Defense may be the most impressive of this bunch when it comes to graphics. Not so much because the game is more beautiful than the others, but because of the 3-D elements. The paths in this space oriented tower defense game are found on small worldlets, which you can spin around and zoom into with your fingers.
If the ability to wow your friends with an iPhone game isn’t enough for you, Star Defense also packs in a some good gameplay. In particular, this is the tower defense game for those who like Xbox achievements, as you can unlock a variety of different achievements. You can share those achievements online, compare your score to others and there’s even a challenge feature that let’s you send your score to friends and challenge them to beat it.
Price: $2.99 (Free version also available)
If you look at the iTunes ratings for Sweetwater Defense you’ll see that it doesn’t rate as highly as some of the other games in this list. There’s a good reason for that…Sweetwater Defense is hard. Really hard. I almost lost the freakin’ tutorial while playing this game.
The key to Sweetwater Defense is learning how to mix and match your towers. You’re not going to be able to get away with just plunking down a bunch of cheap towers and maxing out their upgrades, even on easy. If you’re willing to be challenged you’ll also find that the game’s graphics are excellent and the gameplay interface is intuitive.