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.

Twisted Arrows Review

Twisted Arrows Review

Jul 21, 2011

Logic games have been around forever. There hasn’t been a computer released in the last thirty years that didn’t have a brain-teasing, head-scratching, rage-inducing logic puzzler built for it, probably created by some evil masochist who hates all human life and wants it to suffer. That’s what Twisted Arrows wants to be, but unfortunately it falls just short.

The premise is simple. You have to move a ball from one point of the screen to another, using the tiles that have been laid out in front of you. Each of these tiles has a number of arrows on them, showing you the ways you can travel once you’ve landed on them. The twist is that when you land on one of those tiles, it’s going to spin round.

All of the tiles are different colors, and those colors represent the number of degrees they’ll spin once you land on them. It’s sometimes hard to keep track of which tile does what, and the game could really do with an always on-screen list that tells you, especially when one wrong move will lead to an untimely death and the single most annoying sound effect ever committed to code.

The thing you’ll notice whilst you play through Twisted Arrows is that, after the first few simple levels, it throws you straight into the deep end and expects you to be able to swim. Logic is often abandoned in favour of trial, error, and expletives, as you try and navigate an enormous maze of twisting tiles and hellish combinations.

It’s a shame, because the idea behind the game is impressive and interesting. What’s lacking is a smooth difficulty curve and a consistency between the mechanic and the player. With better designed levels, Twisted Arrows would be an excellent game, as it is, it’s a bit too confusing to earnestly recommend.