From the creator of Final Fantasy, comes a tower defense game.
When I heard that Mistwalker would be releasing a series of iOS titles, I was excited to see what new Japanese Role Playing experiences they would bring to the platform. Mistwalker is headed by JRPG giant Hironobu Sakaguchi, the man who brought us Final Fantasy. Their first release, ‘Party Wave,’ made less of a splash than iOS gamers expected, but my ears perked up when I heard that Mistwalker’s second title was a tower defense game. Sure, it is a crowded genre of which I have reviewed countless entries, but I wanted to see what Sakaguchi would do with such a game.
The game that was ultimately released with the title ‘Blade Guardian,’ is right in line with what I would expect with picking up any generic tower defense title. Players drop down defensive towers and wall segments with the goal of protecting their base from wave upon wave of enemies. Towers can be upgraded to increase their effectiveness, and all in game upgrades and purchases are managed with gold obtained from killing enemies. There is still room to add flavor within this resource management oriented genre, and many titles have opted to insert an “attack” mode or hero units to do just that.
Blade Guardian attempts a similar feat with the addition of, well, Blade Guardians. These mechanical units must be freed from an enemy, and are then placed on the attack for your team. They march against the flow of enemy hordes to attack their base. Blade Guardians can be transformed into spheres that do increased damage, but the spherical forms are controlled by tilting the device. Tilt control is not something I want in a tower defense game in the first place, but it doesn’t work well in Blade Guardian. I have destroyed more of my own towers and walls in sphere mode than I have enemies. Did I mention that you can destroy your own hard-earned towers with one of these things? They don’t feel challenging to control; the controls just feel broken.
Outside of some difficult but typical tower defense gameplay, Blade Guardian doesn’t bring much else to the table. The art design is uninspiring, and I don’t get a sense of place or purpose from the game. The screen is also constantly panning, as if the level is the Windows logo in one of those bouncing screensavers. I know it is just a little stylistic touch, but it causes me to lose focus and is disorienting in general.
Blade Guardian does one thing out of the ordinary, and it doesn’t work well. There are a sea of tower defense titles out there, and Blade Guardian seems content to blend in.
Blade Guardian is available as a Universal download on the App Store for $0.99