Sentinel 2 has features gushing out of its every orifice. OpenFeint integration, tons of weapons and cool powers, and a slick interface… all in one little Tower Defense game. What does one do in Sentinel 2, you ask? Sentinel does what most tower defense games do and that is it requires the player to place little towers into an environment swarming with enemies in order to defend some key point of the map. In Sentinel’s case, the enemies run inside of a trench in their efforts to break down your defenses.
Frankly, I am amazed that I have not started to hate Tower Defense games. They do, after all, take up an entire page on my iPod. Sentinel 2 is good, but like every youngster in grammar school it wants terribly to be considered special. Sentinel 2 is a recipient of an honorable mention for my special award, the: “Tower Defense with unique element” prize. To the untrained eye this may seem cynical, but anyone familiar with the TD genre will know that the games that truly add a game-changing element are hard to come by. Sure, many games add a little spice in the form of a nifty tower or a dastardly enemy, but Sentinel manages to push past this into territory that I would call mildly unique.
The reason for this mild degree of “specialness” is that the thing that makes Sentinel 2 stand out is not its gameplay but its platform. Sentinel 2 makes use of OpenFeint technology, a service that is loosely described as an Xbox live for your iPhone. Linking up with friends and the ability to score achievements within an iPhone game is something not seen all that often and for this I commend Sentinel 2. Unfortunately this does not make Sentinel 2 any better of a game, but rather allows the hardcore user to get the most out of social options available to them. Games today are not given a high score simply because they support Xbox live, but rather are scored based on their use of the service within the game. Sentinel 2 does not considerably change because of its use of OpenFeint, and I am not going to let the benefits derived from this service bump its score any more than another game that has online leaderboards or a similar feature. While OpenFeint is assuredly a good service, it is limited to a proportionally small amount of games at the moment which limits its use and I will not fault the game for this.
From a gameplay perspective, Sentinel 2 does little to separate itself from the pack and for the most part is a traditional Tower Defense romp. Players throw down towers from space, along with special weapons such as missiles that will go directly from the atmosphere to enemies’ faces with the tap of an icon. There are several kinds of barriers to slow enemy progress, and other structures on the map affect your resources. One can also send out little drones to do repairs and collect things; while the drones are not a selling point they are a nice feature. The entire system is fairly deep, and I found the selection of towers to be engaging. After taking a step back from the game, I can say that I enjoyed my time with it but have few reasons to keep at it.
The iPod Touch difference: Chances are, if you are playing on an iPod Touch you do not have constant access to Wifi. This means that you will not be able to use the OpenFeint system at all times. I went a full week without even bothering to look into it, let’s face it: does the world really need to know you are playing Tower Defense on the bus? Let me be clear, the world does not need to know you are playing Tower Defense on the bus. Furthermore, nobody wants to be interrupted with, “hey is that game fun?” on the 47th wave.
What else is there to say? It is Tower Defense, check out the full version in the App Store for $2.99 U.S.D.
Sorry fellow cheapskates, no lite version for this one.
Graphics & Presentation
Sentinel has deceptively good graphics, the highlight of which are pre-drawn maps. These maps look great, until one zooms in. The animations for the enemies seem somehow strange. I did enjoy the menu system which adds a futuristic feel to the experience.
To play one’s own music one must to the double-tap the home button trick, but the games music is good enough. The sound effects could not be more bland.
Place towers, upgrade towers and use on board weapons. Okay?
The OpenFeint (no, these guys aren’t paying me) technology does add a bit of freshness to the game, and it is seamlessly integrated. The fact that there are so many waves in one round aggrivated me, despite the fact that you can save your progress I find TD games that have so many waves wear me down more quickly.