Kingdom Rush
StrategyTower defence

Kingdom Rush

A Fine Medieval Rush!

Kingdom Rush is a tower defense game developed by Ironhide Game Studio and published by Armor Games. The game takes place in a medieval fantasy setting which will pit players against hordes of enemies with different individual abilities, strengths and weaknesses. It has three difficulty levels that can be changed anytime before selecting a level.The game has four core tower types with that can be upgraded to different sub-types, with each unique tower ability. The game also features achievements, micro-transactions and is also void of intrusive ads.

Kingdom Rush follows the tried-and-tested tower defense mechanic: build towers along the predetermined paths in the map to engage waves of enemies and prevent them from getting past your checkpoint or the map's exit. Even with only four main tower types available, Kingdom Rush further improves this structure by including tower abilities, tower sub-types, tower upgrades, heroes, items, and powers. Mixing several enemy types with their own weaknesses, strengths, and abilities offers an array of strategy options that players can devise on their own.

The game has different locations which can be selected in a world map. Each level has three mission types available: Campaign, Heroic Challenge, and Iron Challenge. Campaign is the default mode and is required to unlock the level. Completing the campaign mission with no lives / hearts lost also awards players with three stars. You need three stars to unlock the Heroic Challenge and Iron Challenge. The latter two are challenging but optional missions that have several restrictions imposed on them and completing them will give you one star each that you can use for upgrades.

Each map has a fixed path that enemies will follow and designated points where players can place their towers. Enemies can't attack or destroy towers so players just need to concentrate on building and upgrading the towers. Gold is needed to upgrade or purchase towers. You'll start missions with a fixed amount of gold to build your early defenses. You can earn additional gold by killing enemies and calling the next wave early.

Stars are used to purchase upgrades for your towers and powers. You'll earn them from completing levels and challenges. You can earn up to five stars per level. There are a total of six different upgrade paths: four for your towers and two for your powers. Their upgrade cost will vary; higher tier upgrades costs more to upgrade of course. One helpful feature of the game is that it allows you to Reset your upgrades and restock the allocated stars without repercussions. This allows you to re-purchase the upgrades you need in accordance to the strategy you have in mind.

You'll also earn Gems by simply playing, regardless whether you clear a level or not. This is the game's currency and can be used to by consumable items from the shop. Remember that items are consumed permanently, regardless if you successfully complete a level or not so make sure to use them sparingly and at the right moment. You can also buy more gems through microtransaction.

The game also allows you to use Heroes. Only one hero can be active in a battle at a time, and he/she doesn't retain their levels. They can level up during a battle but they'll reset to LV1 when you start a new mission. Heroes are a force to reckon with, capable of stopping a group of enemies with their special abilities and skill. They can be moved from one location to another, making them a versatile and invaluable part of your strategy. They are also immortal; if they get killed in action, wait for their cooldown to finish and they'll back on their feet again with full health. The game has three default heroes you can unlock by completing campaign stages. The other heroes can be bought using real money.

Each of the four main towers in the game. Archer towers deals average damage and has a good rate of fire. Barracks trains up to three soldiers that can engage enemies in melee combat. Mages Guild deal magic damage that's every effective against armored targets, and lastly, Artillery which has a slow rate of fire but deals heavy area damage.

Towers can be upgraded up to three times, further increasing their damage and range. Upgrading the barracks improves the soldiers survivability by equipping them with better equipment and increasing their health. After that, they can be further upgraded to one of their two sub-types. For example, an Archer Tower can be upgraded to either Rangers or Musketeers.

Each tower sub-type has at least two different skills. Based on the example above, Rangers can upgrade to Poison Arrows or Wrath of the Forest while Musketeers can buy the Sniper Shot or Shrapnel Shot skills. These skills can be further upgraded for more potent effects or devastating damage.

You also have to powers: Reinforcements and Meteor Storm. Reinforcements deploys two soldiers along the enemy path of your choice while Meteor Storm summons a shower of fireballs to rain upon the selected spot to deal devastating area damage to any enemy caught within the radius. These powers need to cool down before they can be used again. They can also be further upgraded by spending Stars on them.

The game's visual presentation is cartoonish but can be quite appealing. The tower and unit designs are simple yet they can be individually distinguished from one another. The towers change their appearances based on their upgrades, and even the puny soldiers you deploy on the battlefield get aesthetic changes as they receive upgrades. The effects and animation blends perfectly well with the game's visual style. This keeps everything interesting and immersive. The game's audio is also top caliber, featuring full voice acting. Heroes and towers have their unique lines that they deliver everytime you interact with them. The sound effects are also synched perfectly to what's happening, keeping you deep in the action.

The game costs $0.99 dollars but is definitely worth the purchase. The game can be played offline and its microtransactions are kept to a minimum. Basically, the so-called "power of money" can't be abused in the game. Sure you can spend cash to buy extra gems and more powerful heroes but playing the game without spending anything extra is also possible, even recommended. There are no ads and no bottlenecks where players are severely restricted from progressing, even blatantly forcing them to spend cash to continue playing.

The game has good balance and gives players the freedom to tackle missions with their own strategies and apply their own approach to missions. The challenges are good distractions as well, and the restrictions forces players to broaden their strategies. These, along with interesting tower types and upgrades allow players to sink in hours and hours of gameplay, while also giving the game a high replay value. Kingdom Rush is also stable; I've yet to encounter bugs, freezes, shutdowns, or startup problems. My minor complaint about the game is its lack of a Fast-forward button, which is present on most TD titles I've played. But this is not a major problem that will ruin the game. Having this feature is just a plus.

If you're a fan of tower defense titles and won't mind paying a small amount up front for an outstanding TD title, you should definitely include this in your mobile game library.
4.6 / 5.0
review by vhayste | Apr 1st 2015

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