Sentinel Review

More good tower defense comes to the iPhone.

There are so many tower defense games on the iPhone, and as much as I love to complain about overdone genres, it makes sense on the device. With the system of controls that are in place on the iPhone, tower defense just works. As long as developers innovate, and give me a reason to keep defending X base from Y attacker, then I’m willing to give them all a fair shot.

I went into Sentinel expecting generic tower defense, but I was quickly proved wrong. The first thing I couldn’t help but notice was the amazing visuals. Everything is rendered in full 3d, and looks beautiful. You can zoom in very tight to battlefield and really see the detail of every enemy and your towers.  I have yet to see a game of this type that lets you see this kind of polish on the iPhone. Every detail down to the terrain looks incredibly solid.

Unfortunately, the sound in the game didn’t wow me like the visuals. The sound is good, but repetitive. This may be more a flaw of the genre in general, but hearing the same gun sounds over and over again gets kind of old, and after playing the game for an hour or so I felt compelled to turn the sound off on the iPhone and just enjoy the splendid graphics and fun game play.

Oh yes, the game play, it’s tower defense of course, but there are a few twists in there. Before I get to the twist, perhaps I should explain how tower defense works for anyone reading this who has never played a game in the genre. (Is there really anyone who’s never played tower defense?) Waves of enemies will spawn and walk onto the battlefield, your job is to strategically place defensive towers to keep the baddies from getting into your base. Each tower has a different type of shot that is effective against certain types of enemies. If you make it through all the waves of enemies you win.

So there’s a breakdown for the less adept to the genre; now let me get back to the twist in this particular defense game. The major twist is the addition of barriers. When the enemy makes it past your defenses they will be faced with a wall. These walls have guns of their own, so they aren’t completely defenseless. This gives you a little more margin for error, so it’s great for people new to tower defense, and it adds another layer of depth, so the hardcore can appreciate the mechanic as well. It also gives you a new way to get points after every round. If your barrier is in tact at the end of the round, you get a score bonus.

I had a ton of fun with the game, but I would have appreciated a little more variety. There are a total of 5 towers in the game, and only 4 are available from the start; the fifth is unlocked after you beat the first level. There are only 4 types of enemies as well, which seems a little on the light side to me. There is the standard grunt, the fast runner, the flying guy who is immune to bombs and towers who slow them down, and giant, powerful bosses. It would have been cool to see a few more enemy types, as I think variety would keep people coming back to the game.

I don’t want to imply that game completely lacks variety however, because in terms of stages to play on, there are 3, and they all take a long time to beat. Each stage also has a vastly different layout, so you need to have a different strategy for each one. There are also 2 different modes in the game. There is the normal one you start with as well endurance mode. In the standard mode you play through a certain number of waves and then you beat the level, but in endurance the idea is keep going for as long as you can untilthe enemies inevitably break through.

Overall, if you like tower defense this is a pretty complete package that features some of the best visuals in the genre. It may have some flaws, but I still find it very easy to recommend the game.

Presentation & Graphics
The best graphics I have seen in a tower defense game on the iPhone.

The sound is pretty good, for the first 5 minutes, after that, hearing the same guns shoot and the same enemies die gets pretty old.

It’s tower defense, but with a couple twists, it’s the most fun I’ve had with a game of this type on my iPhone. I must have sunk a good 6 or 7 hours into the game.

Personally, I spent a ton of time with Sentinel, but the lack of enemy types, and the limited amount of towers to choose from keeps the score from being higher.

Game Rating

This was the hardest time I’ve ever had attaching a score to game. It has some flaws that keep the score from being perfect, but I had so much fun with it I want to give it a little higher, but I just can’t. In the end, the lack of variety and the repetitive sounds keep me from giving the game a higher score.

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  • Scott

    Well I only played the lite version of this some time ago and posted some thoughts on the forums but I totally agree with the review.

    It just lacks a bit with number of towers and enemies seem to have no real variety. And seeing the full game has little more then the demo in those areas its a pass for me especially at the price.

    I already have too many TD games to play as is games I bought for 1 buck like 7 cities for instance that seem to offer more for less. Its got good production value but not a lot of substance.

  • iPGN-Dave

    If an update comes along that adds more stuff, this game would be 100 percent worth picking up.

  • Scott

    Totally agree again Dave, in fact the game is now on sale at 3 bucks think I will pick this up now.

    Still iffy at 3 but like you said with a good update it will be totally worth it.

  • Scott

    Well didnt take long to find but this quote is from Origin8 devs of the game so I will definitely be picking this up now.

    “We aren’t ready to show anything yet but you won’t be disappointed. Obviously new maps and enemies will be included but we have plenty of other nice surprises planned too.”