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Defenders

Nival
Version: Varies with | Everyone
StrategyTower defence

Prime World: Defenders

Prime World: Defenders (or simply Defenders) is a new tower defense game from Nival which was released on August, 2014. The game effectively executes the tried-and-tested tower defense platform with some CCG and RPG elements. The game's stunning 3D graphics, engaging gameplay mechanics, and player progress sets itself from the rest of the titles in the genre. The game features over 26 different towers with several upgrade levels, a 23-mission campaign mode with extra boss levels and randomly generated missions for farming/grinding, ever-changing strategies for every map, and around 36 monster types that will test your wits and strategy.



Defenders has the same setup as an ordinary tower defense title. You build defensive towers along enemy paths and stop them from reaching your artifact. Prime is the game's main resource. You earn some by defeating enemies or by selling existing towers. While in battle, you can get bonus prime by hitting the Next Wave button. This is beneficial if you're able to wipe out the current wave and summon the next wave to get extra Prime.



There are also some different yet considerable gameplay mechanics that makes the game quite interesting. First, buying the same type of towers increases their price. Next, unlike other generic tower defense titles, you can't upgrade your towers immediately. Then, your towers and spells appear as cards that you can collect, fuse or evolve. The number of towers and magic spells you can carry is very limited so you need to swap out some towers and spells depending on the map you're trying to complete. Finally, player progress. Aside from gold, players will earn EXP which will help increase their player level. Player level determines what skills you can access from the game's Talent menu.



Talents are divided to three: Prime, Technical and Magic. Prime talents improve the acquisition of silver, Prime, etc. Technical talents improve your towers and give additional slots, and finally, Magic talents improve your magic damage, slots and card collection. You can unlock these talents as you level up but you can unlock them earlier by spending Stars. Stars are the premium credits. Like the game's generic currency, silver, both of them can be earned after completing missions, tackling achievements per mission or simply buying them from the game's store.



Tower Cards are the type of towers that you can deploy in battle. You'll start with four card slots and once you get your 5th tower card, you'll be able to swap it to any card you currently have equipped. Later in the game, you'll unlock the Forge feature where you can fuse unneeded cards to raise the level of other magic or tower cards. Another thing you can do in the Forge is Evolving cards. Evolution allows you to take two identical towers and make them into a single, more powerful tower. After Evolution, you can upgrade these towers twice in a battle.



You can use magic to turn the tide of battle. The game doesn't have limited energy or mana gauge so you just need to wait for magic to cool down before you can use it again. Magic cards are similar to Tower cards. You'll only start with one magic slot and one basic magic. As you continue in the game, you'll get more powerful cards and the chance to purchase an extra slot for your magic.

You can select the missions on the world map. Each mission marker will display necessary details like your completion rank for that mission, the rewards, achievements, and a brief part of the storyline. After completing ordinary nodes, a boss node will appear. You are not required to face this boss immediately; you can grind and farm through the randomized maps with varying difficulty. This is a great way to earn silver that you can use to buy new cards from the shop for card fusion/evolution, buy new Talents, and something to spend on Fusion fees. You can repeat a previously completed stage but you'll earn diminished rewards.




Each map's layout is quite simple. There's only one path from the monsters' entrance to your base. The locations where you can place the towers are fixed and limited as well. Monsters don't attack your towers so you can focus on placing them strategically or upgrading them. The camera can be rotated 360 degrees and can be zoomed in and out. Some randomized missions may confuse you for a new map whereas it was just an old map introduced from a different angle.



Anomalies are special spots in the map that provide bonus effects to the tower built on it. Totems are structures that you can destroy since they either contain extra Prime or they can simply provide boosts to any enemy within their range. When you pause the game, all the spots where you can build towers will be displayed. This will also allow you to inspect various objects in the map, like totems and Anomalies. You can also freely build towers while the game is paused. Use this to effectively plan your tower placement.



The game's graphics is simply stunning and outstanding. Every battle map is intricately detailed and you'll see the minute details even when you zoom in. You don't see this impressive visuals in a (free-to-play) mobile title that often. The design for each level perfectly captures the hostile yet beautiful fantasy world of Prime. Upgraded towers change in appearance. Killed enemies release their ghastly souls upon death. Even every tower and monster animation is smooth and distinguishable. The overall layout is superb; the UI (user interface) is cleanly arranged and designed. The font size of the game is quite small so it may pose a problem for devices with small screens. The text is readable enough in my Nexus 2 tablet but I can only imagine how much trouble it will be for smartphones or phablets.



There's voiced dialogue in the game, although it has low volume through your device speakers. Plugging in a good headset/earphones however reveals how great the game's sound system is. The sound effects, the background music, and overall audio quality is magnificent.



The runs very smoothly on my tablet, however there are split-second and random framerate issues especially when there's a lot of units and enemies on the battlefield. Other than that, I didn't encounter any bugs, errors or any problems. If you're one of the people that keeps encountering problems with the game, you should consider the hardware factor. The game itself is really large and the device resources it needs to tap to run properly might be limited or shared with other applications, which is a common problem for smartphone users.



The game doesn't require constant internet connection. However, to be able to track your progress in your Google Play account, you have to be connected. The game also offers prizes by logging in daily while the account is online. For a free-to-play title, it is quite pleasant playing the game without any form of ads popping up. The only things you'll encounter are the in-game micro-transaction offers. The game doesn't have any multiplayer features so this is an entirely solo affair.



Tower defense games have high replay value since they're quite addictive by nature. Defenders takes it to next level by offering tons of things to do in the long run. The CCG aspect of the game alone is already a good addition since it offers players options to grind for money and attempt to win rare and more powerful Tower or Magic cards they can use. The game doesn't limit players from grinding since the randomized maps already provide considerable amount of silver and experience. Also, the game doesn't create a gap between spenders or the casual, free players. The in-game store offers items that can be bought by silver coins.



Prime World: Defenders is one of the best-looking, interesting, and must-keep titles I've seen. I really love the graphics, the mechanics, and the overall game design. If you're a fan of the genre, give this a try.

4.7 / 5.0
 
review by vhayste | Sep 6th 2014

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Viewer reviews for Defenders

Review by RichFeb 9th 2015
This game looks stunning - looking forward to giving it a proper try shortly.
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