Mine your business: Ionage is a new vein of tower defense

Attack or mine resources… by attacking.

Owen might be at war with tower defense games, but having spent a little time with the alpha of Android TD Ionage, I think it might be worth a truce.

Ionage puts you at the helm of an orbital asteroid mining platform, onto which you can place turrets, or towers, some of which can be defensive but beyond that superficial influence, Ionage really does play more like an RTS than a stock TD game. The main differentiator is that instead of simply defending against a mindless onslaught of random enemies, here you’re building an orbital platform with the goal of supplanting any competing platforms. Your opponent is an equal, able to expand just as you do, competing for the few extra resources you can mine from nearby asteroids. The conflict is more direct and more strategic as a result.

“The Alpha really is just a proof-of-concept for the core mechanics”, Twice Circled‘s Tim Wicksteed, the game’s developer, admits to me before detailing a list of planned features and upgrades. A campaign and objective-based mission system is in the works, along with all sorts of module upgrades to give your base and your turrets a different flavour, but at this stage it’s all early and very much in-development. Tim Wicksteed has plans for multiplayer but that “is a significant development activity” and won’t likely be ready for launch. It’s an interesting take on the genre and one of the few times when we can say the words Android and exclusive consecutively so it has that uniqueness going for it.