I should have started writing this article about two hours ago, but I didn’t. Why? Because I could not stop playing Kingdom Rush. I knew I needed to write about the game, and before each round I kept telling myself, “this will be the last one and then I would get to work.” Finally, I have managed to put the game down, and alas, here we are. If that’s not the highest praise I can offer a game, I simply don’t know what is.
Kingdom Rush ($0.99) tower defense game looks like the standard affair for the tower defense genre, but it has a certain quality that makes it greater than the sum of its parts. Sure, you are still placing towers and thwarting hordes of enemies from invading, but it has enough twists to the standard gameplay that it feels like something new and exciting. Every detail from the sound to the gameplay feels like a finely crafted machine.
All too often iOS games feel rushed to market as some sort of quick cash in, and with Kingdom Rush, I can say with 100-percent certainty that this was not the case.
On the surface, the gameplay in Kingdom Rush appears like any other tower defense game, but there are some key elements that break out of the expected flow of placing towers to kill enemies. The first is the addition of a hero unit. This special unit can move around the map in a way that makes the game feel more like a RTS. The hero unit can be the difference between stopping the enemies and failing to do so.
Another major difference between this and many other tower defense games is the way it limits the amount of towers. Instead of being able to place almost limitless towers along the map, there are designated patches of land. This required deeper thought, as you have to limit the amount of each piece of defense placed.
The last major differentiator for the Kingdom Rush tower defense game is the special abilities. As you progress through the game, you earn new abilities that allow you to get an edge over the invading forces. You can call in reinforcements to help slow down the enemies and some of the more powerful abilities will blast them to an early grave.
As you would expect, the game controls through tapping the screen. You click a tower you want to place and tap the plot of land on which you want to place it. The same is true for special abilities.
There is a robust unlock system that keeps things interesting. You earn stars for completing levels, and these will allow you to make your units and building stronger. There are plenty of choices, so each player will be able to build out their forces in a way that suits their play style. There are also special items you can purchase for single use if you are having trouble with a level.
Audio & Visuals
The graphics in Kingdom Rush are simple and beautiful. It uses 2D sprites in a highly stylized way that works perfectly regardless of whether your device is a large iPad or a much smaller iPhone. Each character and building has its own style, as do the enemies. The best way to describe the visuals in Kingdom Rush is call them exciting. Each level and new enemy has a completely different feel from the one before, and that goes a long way towards keeping you coming back to the game.
The sound stands tall as another fantastic element of Kingdom Rush. The music and sound effects add to the game without being distracting. Hearing your army fighting is just as enjoyable as witnessing the battle.
There is plenty of fun to be had in Kingdom Rush. There are 45 different enemies, each requiring a new strategy. There are long and engaging boss battles that require a completely different strategy than the rest of the enemies.
The game also features achievements to give you something to shoot for each time you play. It even comes with challenge modes for each level that will test the skill of even the best Kingdom Rush players.
To put it simply, there is a lot to do in Kingdom Rush. As I said in the intro, I had a hard time putting the game down to write this review. It has stupendous visuals, riveting sound, and what I can honestly say is the most fun tower defense gameplay I have ever experienced.
It might sound like I am gushing over the game, but I really could not find a single flaw in the Kingdom Rush tower defense game. Play it for yourself and hit the comments section below to let me know if you agree!