Review: Radiant Defense18 Apr 2012 0
If you're going to tell me that tower defense games are played out: don't bother. You're preaching to the choir. TD games are a plague of Egypt on the Android Market and the App Store. Most of them suffer from one or more of a common pot of deficiencies: too easy, largely non-interactive, and bare-bones production values.
Hexage's Radiant Defense defies all of those criticisms. It is a tower defense game, yes - but it's challenging (maybe too challenging), there is quite a lot for the player to do, and the game is absolutely beautiful.
Radiant Defense has a quirky sense of humor and art direction so colorful I thought I had developed acute synesthesia the first time I launched the app. Both of those are very much to its credit, as the tower defense game by its very mechanics is one of the most ludic video game genres in existence. It's hard to take self-serious plotlines like the ones in say, the Sentinel games at face value when the terrifying alien antagonists have traveled hundreds of light-years just to get into orderly, easily blow-up-able queues. Better to dispense with the plot entirely, or as Radiant Defense does, use the plot to explain mechanics and develop some humor.
Radiant Defense keeps you busy building and upgrading towers to destroy the monsters trying to get from point A to point B, but it also lets you alter the monsters' path in-between rounds. The waves also move quickly, forcing you to stay on your toes and keeping your idle time to a minimum. The game also saves every wave, so defeat doesn't mean throwing away several minutes of playtime and starting over. This feature was less useful than it could have been when I played because I found that the seeds of my failure were usually sown with poor decisions several rounds before.
One criticism that is sure to appear is one about Radiant Defense's pricing model. The game is free to download, but there are some towers that are only accessible to players that purchase them through $0.99 in-app purchases - buying them all sets you back four bucks. The game is perfectly playable without them, but then again, the game is easily worth $4 in replay value. Hell, I'd pay that much for the soundtrack.
So if you've had enough of tower defense games, fair play to you. But if you can stand one more, let it be this one. And when you do, turn up the brightness and the volume on your device for it, because Radiant Defense is the most gorgeous looking and sounding game I've seen this year.
5 out of 5