Star Defense Review

Star Defense is a tower defence game redefining a somewhat over-crowded genre for the iPhone.

Publishers ngmoco have shown us their talent previously with top titles such as Rolando and Dropship. Now they, together with developer Roughcookie, present their take on the tower defence genre.

img_0076Star Defense plays like a maze/path tower defense with set paths the enemies travel. They go from their insertion point towards your base. To stop them you have five classes of towers to deploy, each upgradeable three times. Towers do different kinds of damage: bullet, electrical or fire. There is also a goo slow down tower important to have once it gets hectic. Some enemies can be resistant to one type of damage which means you can’t just build one type of tower, you have to be able to kill with all types of towers. A Viceroy spider for example tend to be immune to fire, in those cases bullet or electrical towers must be deployed to kill it.

img_0086What really sets Star Defense apart from other tower defence games is the change of perspective. The battles in Star Defense is fought on 3-d worlds in space where you have to scroll around to follow the path. This change of perspective really enhances the game as you have to be quick in finding your way around the map. This is imperative as you have to choose wisely where to place towers along the path to be most effective. At first I thought of it as a gimmick but as soon as the pace picks up it adds some quicker elements to the normally slow tower defence genre.

img_0069The story is all about helping mankind to survive the onslaught of the alien S’rath. S’rath comes in all forms and shapes. From small swarming critters to large cyborgs walks the path towards your destruction. The placement of towers as well as correct decisions to which tower to upgrade next is important to stop them. You have a maximum number of towers you can build on each map, and sometimes you have to sell a weak tower to buy a stronger. Credits are gained from killing the S’rath. There are seven worlds you have to defend, all breathtakingly beautiful with perfectly suiting music. There are three levels of difficulty with medals to earn if you beat them all.

img_0074The game is controlled by means of touch controls that works brilliantly. Pinch in and out to zoom in and out. When buying a tower simply drag it to where you want it. To upgrade double tap a tower to get the upgrade/sell option. The enemies come in waves and you can hurry them along by ushering in the next wave prematurely. At times this is the only solution to kill a large enemy that you haven’t got firepower to stop. Send in a weaker wave as well, and kill them to get credits to buy a tower to stop the large one. It adds further to the strategy of the game.

img_0089A really neat feature is the challenge mode where you can play a game and submit your scores to Twitter and Facebook. Who can survive the highest number of attacking waves? I like how prominent this is in the game, it is not just like having an online leader board. Rather it is having a complete mode for chasing online high scores.

img_0071The production values of Star Defense are really top of the line. It blows away all competition in the tower defence genre, and quite frankly I can remove the others from my iPhone. Bye bye to Fieldrunners, The Creeps!, Crystal Defenders, 7 Cities, iDefend, Besiegement, INKoming! and Circuit Defenders. I will keep geoDefense though as it still spanks me silly. Star Defense is a good place to start if you are a total newbie to tower defence games as it is quite easy on the easy setting, has a motivating story mode and looks/sounds great.

img_0073Some might argue that there is a lack of towers in the game but I think five is just enough to keep the game interesting. The power to credit ratio seems ok, no tower is overpowered. You get what you pay for, cheap towers do little damage, large do much damage. As you progress you will have to sell the small gauss towers to build large gauss cannons.

If you are into tower defence games you should definitely get this. If you aren’t I think you should get Star Defense and get into the genre right now.

Presentation & Graphics


Brilliant, at times I just scroll around zooming in and out to behold the beauty of it all. I would have liked a bit more variation when it comes to the enemies, other than that I find this game flawless. No slowdown even with maximum amount of towers attacking several enemy waves.



Brilliant. The orchestral arrangements are the best I have heard in an iPhone game, heck I only think Halo and Halo 2 for the Xbox beats Star Defense. Sound effects are great with volume of weapon fire varying depending on how closely zoomed in you are. Overall the game is perfectly tuned for earphones with lots of stereo and panning effects.



Strategy game that at times demands quick decisions and tower placements. Controls are perfect. I would have liked to have a speed up button to hurry it all along. On the other side I really like that there is no pause and build possibility. In a lot of tower defence games you can pause to build but not in Star Defense, this further enhances the feeling of speed and urgency in the game.



20 medals to attain, 30 achievements and six worlds to unlock. An online high score mode using Twitter and Facebook is a brilliant addition.

Game Rating


The best tower defence game ever! It wouldn’t surprise me if Star Defense becomes one of the classics for the iPhone that we talk about years from now. Don’t let the $5.99 price tag deter you from getting this gem.

Star Defense $5.99

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  • Casse

    Could this be one of the “Editors’ choice”?

  • Torbjorn Kamblad, Sweden

    It should be, sadly I am not an editor but a mere writer. I leave it up to the bosses to decide:)

  • Rock $ Rolla

    Now this is a good tower defense game

  • $Justin$

    This game isn’t good, it’s fantastic. I was a little questioning about the price tag but I realized this game is worth more than $5.99. 10 Stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jc

    this is a good tower defense game. geo defense is still my favorite by far. even a game like the creeps is more fun for me then star defense. i do play it on occasion and prefer it to sentinel 2:earth defense. definitely worth the .99 price tag they have on it now.