Defender Review

Defender Review

Jan 23, 2012

I think we all have days when we feel besieged. Wave after wave of setbacks try to keep us down, and we soldier on. I may be going out of a limb here, but I think that’s why, subconsciously, defense games are so popular. A horde approaches to knock down your tower, and you are all that is standing between Good and Evil. It can be cathartic to take that feeling of overwhelming odds and turn it into a challenge to beat. And, specifically, to fire arrows at.

Defender is a game with a simple title, and a seemingly simple objective: stop monsters from destroying your tower. You are the tower’s archer, and you use your bow to hold back and destroy the creatures that appear in waves, bent only on breaking through your walls. The instructions are also simple and straight-forward: tap the screen to fire arrows, long-press for continuous fire, and drag-and-drop your spells onto enemies to trigger them. You earn gold killing enemies and crystals for successful level completion. Gold and crystals are them used to upgrade your weapons, defenses, and spells.

One of the things I like about Defender is that when you die you don’t actually lose anything. You start each round with full health and mana, and you also keep any gold you may have earned despite dying. You don’t earn crystals though, so it is still a challenge to increase your strengths without the mana boosts necessary. The game does offer you the option of purchasing extra gold or crystals. Ordinarily I hate the idea of paying extra for game-components, but considering the fact that the game is free…it’s actually completely fair for the developers to try.

I do wish though that they would tweak the attacks mechanics a bit. You have the option of single-firing arrows, but since every enemy needs at least two shots to take it down, you’ll find yourself exclusively using continuous fire immediately. And the problem there is that you end up essentially dragging your finger all over the screen, blocking your own view. As well, the game can’t fire arrows and cast spells at the same time. This is a problem because when you’ve been in continuous fire mode for too long and try to cast a spell the game needs a second to catch up. It doesn’t lag, it just delays your spell cast. This can give enemies the time they need to get past you and score some costly points.

Defender Review Rundown

8
Graphics/Sound - Clean, no lag, and the little monsters even seem to have some life to them. I wish they had more than one music track though, it gets quite repetitive after a while.
6
Controls - Long-pressing on the screen lets you fire continuously, but when you suddenly need to switch to using a spell the game can get stuck for a moment and lose you precious seconds.
8
Gameplay - It's very straightforward and easy to jump into. It has a real learning curve for strategy and will challenge you.
8
Replay Value - It's hard to stop when you know that you almost beat the level that last time. As well, there are enough spells to unlock to keep you interested, but not so many that it's pointless to try.
8
Overall - A pretty solid game, I've quite enjoyed it. It's not surprising why this game is so popular - accessible enough for the beginning gamer, but enough of a long-term challenge to keep the more hardcore among us interested.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Angelina Purpura
Angelina is an avid tech fan, amateur photographer, visual artist, foodie, and movie aficionado. She also like cats, rainbows and zombies (but not zombie cats, that would be sad). Tweet her feedback at @Anzi.
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