Ash is not in a happy place, not at all. He was supposed to be in the middle of some advanced moves on the rug with his girlfriend. That didn’t go according to plan, and the trip to the cabin in the forest turned into a nightmare. Sucked into a portal, and back in time Ash is upset. And it does not help that an evil version of himself is trying to destroy the Necronomicon. Armed with a boomstick, a fist of steel and an arsenal of one-liners Ash enters the battle.
Army of Darkness Defense is a castle defense game where you have to protect the Necronomicon located on the left side of the screen. The evil horde approaches from the right. You have to make sure to kill a set number of enemies, and then the current wave is over. This means that there is no grind them down slowly gameplay otherwise found in many castle defense games where you have to destroy the enemy castle. Now it is a matter of survival, and strategy is about selecting the correct troops to produce at what time. Resources accumulate automatically, and can be sped up if you opt to upgrade the smithy.
Ash is an integral part of the action. The controls are limited to movement back and forth by simply touching the left or right of the screen. If Ash gets up close he uses melee attacks, and from afar he fires his boomstick. Ash also has two magical abilities at his disposal that you select before each battle. These recharge, and are used by touching the corresponding icon in the top right corner. Ash is also used to pick up coins, and resources. The coins are important as they give you more to spend on mid wave upgrades.
Between waves you get to upgrade Ash, his magic, troops and castle defenses. This is the second large strategic aspect of the game. Which troops to take into battle, and what magic to use and upgrade. If the game is over during a wave due to the deadites reaching the Necronomicon you still get to keep the earned money. As there is no level selection available this means that you can be stuck on a level for quite some time if you have chosen the wrong upgrades to go for.
There are 50 waves of enemies in the game, and I only got stuck on the very last one. I had to replay that last wave about 30 times to get my troops to a high enough level to stand up to Evil Ash. After the final wave an endless mode is unlocked, and that is all you have left to do. There is no way to replay individual levels other than resetting progress completely. Depending on how well you manage your upgrades you will have between three and six hours of gamelife. Even thought there is a definite need for strategy to win Army of Darkness Defense is a light take on it compared to games like Paradog and Legendary Wars. Game Center integration caters for leaderboards, a vast pile of achievements and cross device save games.
The presentation is quite good, and both good and evil minions look good. As everything is seen from the side the animations are limited, but at least the death animations are good with limbs falling off. There is only one level in the game, and only one intro movie. I think more could be done with such a fantastic movie trilogy as Evil Dead. The usage of Bruce Campbell is excellent though, and highly enjoyable to hear the true Ash throwing one liners at the dead.
Army of Darkness Defense is a fun take on castle defense, and definitely a must buy if you are a fan of the trilogy or Bruce Campbell. Limited game life, strategic planning and variation draws the final impression down. Playing as Ash is always cool, and just like earlier games featuring Ash the quality isn’t the best but it is still great fun.
Army of Darkness Defense $0.99
Seller: Backflip Studios