Reviews

Firewall Review

Review by Matt Dunn

Firewall, developed by Solus Games (Funky Punch), is one of the first tower defense games to be released for the iPhone. Using some great retro-styled graphics, it pits you as a firewall who’s purpose is to destroy oncoming viruses. Is this Firewall strong enough to block a low score?

READ THE INFO FIRST. Seriously.

READ THE INFO FIRST. Seriously.

Tower defense games have been around for a long time. Some of the more popular games actually came about as modded Starcraft maps almost 10 years ago. Since then, many, MANY defense games have been produced – all with the same goal. Place down “towers” (standing units) that shoot out at wave after wave of oncoming enemies. It’s a simple concept, but something that can be applied to many different styles of play.

Firewall takes a clever twist on this game genre, by applying it to, well, a firewall! It’s your job to stop all the oncoming viruses. Worms, trojans, and more come at you on a set path… which starts out going straight from top to bottom. As you lay down various units in the path, it changes to go around the units. It doesn’t take very long to pickup how the path mechanics work. As you can see in the screen shots, I was able to get a pretty nice path going to give me more time to attack the viruses. This is absolutely essential to getting far in this game, which as it turns out, is pretty dang difficult!

The gameplay is Firewall is very simple. You start off a few resources to make a couple low-level towers. For each virus you kill, er… delete, you get more resources. Tougher baddies give you more resources. The key

Creating a path is key to getting far in this game.

Creating a path is key to getting far in this game.

to this game is knowing which units counter which viruses. This is EXTREMELY important. So important, that I’m posting the virus damage chart as a screenshot. If you do not read this, you will not enjoy this game!

That said, even knowing which units to place, this game gets really tough really fast. The longest game I played was maybe 10 minutes or so. This isn’t a bad thing, considering this is a definite on-the-go game. However, for newcomers to the defense genre, this could prove frustrating. Luckily, you can pause the game at any time to strategize, and even to place and remove units.

The graphics of Firewall are awesome, and suit the theme perfectly. The frame rate is buttery smooth, even with a ton going on on the screen. The sound, although it doesn’t have the “electronic” feel to it, is pretty epic battle music. Sound is very reminiscent of Geometry Wars, which works since the graphics are similar as well. Not much variety though.

For $.99, Firewall is certainly a great value. However, I would have liked to see a higher price, and more features added to the game. The ability to upgrade units would be awesome. Also, being able to replace current units easily without having to remove them first would be nice. It gets annoying having to delete a bunch of units to replace them with better ones. I also would have liked to see a few more units and enemies thrown in as well, and maybe the ability to choose game speeds. There is a random mode, which sets a random path for viruses. This is OK, but most people will probably just play the main game. Still, Firewall is definitely a lot

I thought I had it beat. I was wrong.

I thought I had it beat. I was wrong.

of fun, and will still appeal even to newer fans of the genre.

Presentation & Graphics:


The look takes a lot after Geometry Wars. Whether that was intentional or not, it totally works! Graphics are great, and animation is extremely smooth. Game is very polished, and it shows.

Sound:


Sound effects are also reminiscent of Geometry Wars, and they also work well. Unfortunately there’s not a huge variety. The background music is high quality and pretty intense, but doesn’t really go with the “digital feel” of the game.

Gameplay:


Firewall is fairly easy to pick up and play. The touch controls are responsive, and placing units is a breeze. There are some standard features that are missing, like speed control, and upgradeable units, but the game is obviously designed to be simple and balanced, so it’s forgivable to a certain point.

Game life:


Firewall was meant as a game you play on the go for maybe 10 minutes at a time. This is fine. However, it would have been nice to provide a “continue” option for games that you get really involved in. The random mode is nice, but is essentially the same as the main game, with a slightly different path. Would have been nice to have a set of levels to progress through, as that would have definitely kept the user coming back. At the moment, the standard gameplay could get boring after a little while.

Final Word:

Firewall is yet another game that is a great deal at $.99 on the App store. Sure, there is plenty that can be added to make this a 5-star game, and who knows, maybe it will be! Until then, it is a very solid tower defense game with a unique digital twist. The graphics are impressive, and the gameplay will keep you on your toes as wave after wave of viruses are thrown at your defenses! This is a must-have for defense fans, and worth a look even if you’re new to the genre!

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