Elemental, my dear defender
The Tower defense game is one of those genres which is completely played out on the App Store now (along with 17 other genres, but who’s counting?), so it’s always handy when you can combine it with something else to freshen things up – you know, like a mix of tower defense and football, or tower defense and zombies , or my personal favourite, tower defense and a fillet of salmon. Delicious.
So here comes ‘Elements Defender’ to add to the tower defense buffet. You are the last magic tower defender who must protect the balance of the mainland while defeating the invasion of monsters. (You’re not really, this is just a game). You must defend the last magic crystal and fight for your life.
It’s a wave based tower defense title with action and RPG elements. As monsters come at you from all corners, you get to fend them off using an impressive variety of upgradable magic weapons representing fire, light and ice, traps to ensnare foes, potions and even pets which attack. Pets which by the way, eat hamburgers . This is a game set in a world of magic and myth and your dog is partial to a McDonalds Happy Meal. Definitely in keeping with the theme there.
Because it has solid RPG features, it’s one of those games where the UI is quite cramped with so much going on. Best to play on an iPhone 5 or iPad for a more comfortable experience, guess you can tell which phone I was playing on then.
But even though the interface is more crowded than a free bar on New Year’s Eve, looks wise the game’s not bad. In fact, it’s pretty nice. Built on it’s own 3D engine, environments are detailed, and the shadow effects are impressive. Character models aren’t the easiest to make out though. They often appear small and indistinguishable. I have no real idea what my main character is supposed to be, but he manages to blast orcs in the face with lightning, so he’s clearly not a construction worker.
Speaking of things that are hard to make out, the entire game confused me at first. You’re thrown into the action with a serviceable backstory, but no real explanation as to what any of the 400,000 buttons on the screen do or how to use them. If you’re savvy you’ll work it them out soon enough, but your initial playthroughs might be full of experimentation.
Movement is also a bit of a thing, and by ‘thing’ I mean ’annoyance’. It’s a system which makes you tap the area of the screen you want to move to, but I never find these to be accurate, and that’s also the case here. You struggle to feel like you’re in total control of where your little not-a-construction-worker, and turning on the fly is difficult. Things get especially unintuitive when you’re surrounded by enemies wanting to magic your face off.
There are also a slew of translation errors which cheapen the experience. There aren’t many games that ask you ‘No enough drug, would you lick to buy it?’ (I most certainly would not). And when presented with the information that ‘Your pet’s intimacy with you increases over time’, I made the swift decision to delete the app before my wife picked up my phone and began to question if I really spend all those late nights in front of my laptop writing about games.
But as tower defense titles go, it’s still rather enjoyable in no small part due to the number of weapons, spells and items to acquire, pretty graphics and impressive, dramatic soundtrack which I listened to for ten minutes before even moving my character. It’s good to mess around with the various battle options on offer, and see how the engine represents each new potion or spell.
Begging for a five-star review in exchange for in-game currency like it does is a little desperate though. And in conclusion I can confirm I won’t be progressing my relationship with my pet other than asking him to off a few monsters from time to time, thank you very much.
Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevThePen. It’s elementary.