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Tower defense game offers strategic, dynamic campaign

The knight who sits on his tower gets up. He summons a flood of more troops and his opponent instantly fears defeat. The opponent realizes a building where he hires troops to fight. After hiring a band of bandits he defeats the zealous knight and advances to the next adventure.

Few games have captured my attention as the Kingdom Rush series. These fantasy tower defense games bring creativity and complexity to a simple game format. I will only briefly go over the first 3 installments of the franchise. I’m mainly focusing on the newest installment, Kingdom Rush: Vengeance. Vengeance focuses on the storyline of Vez’nan (the villain from the first Kingdom Rush) finding that after returning from banishment, his old evil fortress had been turned into a carnival. Breaking from traditional games, in Vengeance, you play as Vez’nan’s general as you command the bad guys.      

Different levels feature new enemies and possibly allies to aid the player in that level.

I discovered the Kingdom Rush games in junior high, messing around in the computer lab. Beforehand, I played very few tower defense games. Tower Defense games (or TD games) consist of multiple levels, each with paths across the landscape that the enemies travel across.

These paths lead from one side of the screen to the other, and the enemies attempt to travel from their point of origin to past your banner. You, tasked with destroying the enemies, build structures to attack them along the path.

Each structure offers different strengths and weaknesses according to the different types of enemies that charge down the path.

In the Kingdom Rush games, the player typically works with four different types of towers. Archers, along with other ranged, physical, towers, often offer fast attack and possess the ability to dispatch light armored enemies with ease. Barracks create two or three troops that stand on the path and fight enemies, stalling them and allowing other towers to attack them.

Mortars use explosives to damage multiple enemies at once. I usually refrain from using these towers due to their ineffectiveness at dealing with high health enemy troops. The last class consists of Mage (wizard) towers that fire high damage, magical attacks that bypass armor. However, some opposing forces possess magic resistance, therefore reducing the effectiveness of the tower.

The following tweet features Iron Hide Game Studios promoting Kingdom Rush: Vengeance.

However, instead of the heroic, shiny-armored soldiers that usually control the towers in other Kingdom Rush games, you have spooky, unfriendly, and surprisingly funny monsters, thugs, and skeletons. I believe that this was a welcome change to games since the descriptions that the game developers gave the bad guys contain the intent of amusing the players. For example, the mortar towers in Vengeance use goblins that ride giant fireworks. Later players can upgrade them into explosive rocket bikes and the description reads “Goblins that fly with a rocket-powered bike. Note: They do not know how to land”.

The first mini-campaign of Vengeance features aquatic, frog-like enemies.

Players find more humor in the many easter eggs hidden in the levels that refer to other elements of pop culture. These include finding Kermit the Frog, Groot, Olaf (from Frozen), the Penguins of Madagascar, Scrooge McDuck, and Terminator. There exist many more that me and many other players of the game will probably never find.

This game presents a creative and addicting pastime that kept me entertained all 16 levels and 3 boss fights. I still have yet to play the side mission, but it looks like a challenge. Vengeance costs $4.99 on both the App Store and Google Play Store. It is also available on PC. There are in-game purchases that provide different towers and heros. Personally, I didn’t buy anything other than the game and it is still perfectly enjoyable.

I recommend this game to any one who wants to experience a new tower defense game. Free on the App Store and Google Play Store, the original Kingdom Rush offers the option to experiment with TD games without buying anything. Some Kingdom Rush games have also became available on some game websites.

For more game reviews, read Super Smash Bros Ultimate offers immersive gameplay or Brawlhalla invites players to test their skill.

Brayden Iest can be reached via Twitter and email.             

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