Kingdom Rush - A fantasy-packed tower defense game that towers over the genre
It took me a good while to become accustomed to the genre of tower defense before I could really enjoy the genre and do more than simply tolerate it. What made me warm to this style of gameplay? It wasn’t dogged persistence, a sudden realisation of the greatness of the format, or even the act of immersing myself in such games until I enjoyed them by default. It was my encounter with Kingdom Rush, a title which not only typifies the genre of tower defense, but actually makes it fun to play. Many are quick to claim that the game doesn’t actually bring anything original to the age-old format, to which my reply is to point out that the game manages to deliver one of the most stylish and substantial tower defense experience within the confines of the genre’s format. Though I loathe corporate jargon and words like “synergy”, this Kingdom Rush possesses exactly that since the whole experience is notably more than the sum of its parts.
Have at thee!
Kingdom Rush is a game of strategic tower placement for the defense of your kingdom, which is constantly under attack in one form or another by a multitude of different enemies, all bent on making it from one end of the terrain to the other and through your kingdom’s gates. Each enemy you let slip past your defences costs you one life; lose them all, and you lose the round and must start again. Killing enemies results in the acquisition of small amounts of money which you can then spend on upgrading your towers in during the game. Your towers can also be upgraded between the levels with stars that are earned during them. With around 20 levels, 8 types/sub-types of tower and over forty types of enemy to contend with, the potential for fun here is nothing short of immense, and the likelihood of flittering hours of time away on this game is more than a potential consequence, and is rather a foregone conclusion.
Allies and Adversaries
Your tools for stopping enemy invasion in its tracks some in the form of four kinds of tower: Melee, Magic, Ranged, and Artillery. The melee towers deploy foot-soldiers in to halt the enemy in their tracks and tie them up with hand-to-hand combat, while archers can be placed close by to shoot arrows and magic towers situated in the vicinity to fire bursts of supernatural and occult forces at them. Artillery towers fire explosive blasts at the enemies, but have a considerably slower range of fire than the other towers. You are able to upgrade each tower’s capabilities in-game, as well as use upgrade stars between levels to permanently increase the effectiveness of them. The final upgrade allows you to choose between one of two types of final form that the tower will become. Take the magic tower, for instance, which can be upgraded in its final stage to either an enemy-teleporting and death-ray shooting Arcane Tower, or the Sorcerer Mage tower which can polymorph enemies into sheep or the ability to summon powerful foot-soldiers.
The enemies in the game are also diverse in type and possess different stats which make them more vulnerable or resistant to certain types of attack. Fast-moving wolves can easily dodge the melee-type footsoldiers, Shamans are highly resistant to magic-type attacks, and armoured enemies are also resistant to artillery or archer fire. Other enemies require a combination of attack types to be taken down efficiently, such as the Ogre, which is extremely slow by has comparatively large quantities of health. You will encounter over forty different types of enemy in the game including boss-type foes that require all of your might to take down.
Heroes and Other Happenings
You can also recruit hero characters in the game that also act like one-man artillery units that can be deployed over the terrain to cause some serious damage for a limited amount of time. The terrain itself can also be a help or hindrance to you, with some areas possessing creatures that can assist you or ones that will get in your way such as spiders emerging from forests. You can also summon spells such as ‘Rain of Fire’ that rains meteors down from the sky or calling reinforcements to help with your footsoldiers.
Ok, so Kingdom Rush from Ironhide Games is probably one of the best tower defense games ever to exist in this realm of objective reality, and is probably the best tower defense game in existence (that is until Kingdom Rush: Frontiers hits the scene) The varied gameplay and requirement of strategy in choosing tower types, upgrades, and wise tower placement is further supported by the insanely pleasing cartoon-like visual style and comedic sound effects. The game has style, the game has substance, and it has the genre of tower defense by the proverbials, but this is for the genre’s own good.