Tower Defense, The Apocalypse, and YOU!

Tower defense games are games in which you have a limited amount or resources available to build towers to defend your safe space from waves of enemies. Each wave defeated gives way to a stronger wave and loot you can use to build more or upgrade existing towers. [Like real life, except with do-overs!]

I like to say things like, “I’m not obsessed with [thing I spend time that should be allotted to other things doing].”

Sometimes I’ll be playing my tower defense game and not realize that an entire flight from Phoenix to Boston has passed me by. Hm… But it’s not because I want to, it’s because I must—I’m the God of Front Doors! I must protect my nouns.

This week (month?) that statement is directed at a tower defense game on my phone called Castle Defense (or Castle TD once it’s downloaded…) Creative moniker’s are not a staple of the genre.

The thing about tower defense games though, is it’s not really about “fun,”“survival,” or even “winning”. It’s about PERFECT!

I don’t know what’s on the other side of that opening but it’s by duty to protect it. Protect it from super fast pigs and hearty Pterosaurs. Maybe there’s a genetic mutation factory and a  pre-school on the other side of the wall and every creature that gets through is morphed into an even more terrible monster with a hunger for innocence incarnate?

I like to think about tower defense games in terms of survival preparation. I might not have everything I need to do the job that needs doing—Surviving—but I’ll need to sort out HOW? I can’t just spam the landscape with trip wires if an air attack is possible.

How can tower defense games help you prepare for the apocalypse?

1. Perseverance – You don’t usually win the first time you try a level. Actually, you usually fail multiple times until you understand the strategy that works best in the particular area. You usually get points for every failed attempt, awarded more point the longer you last. Until, finally, you win the level!

2. Defensiveness – This is your land and those are your enemies. That’s the long and the short of it. you will not invite just one in for cookies or rum. You will not hope for the best but expect the worst. You will defend your gates with everything you have at your disposal.

3. Accountability – You have no team to  consult, defer to, or blame. If you think of the gate you’re defending as the epidermis of your actual body, and the enemies as injurious things… whose fault is it when you’re bitten, stabbed, or otherwise maimed because you failed to sleep off the ground AND install a perimeter alarm? (Yours, it’ll be your fault.)

4. Resource Management – If you have 100 points and a cannon costs 80 and an arrow tower costs 50 and the road splits in two, what do you spend your points on? One cannon and hope you can kill enough enemies to afford a second before they get too far? Two towers and hope they’re strong enough to get the job done until you can build more?

5. Time Management – Towers, like in real life, take a little while to build. Mana (your magic powers so you can deploy hell fire or a mini battalion) is limited and also takes a long time to regenerate. If you’ve got super fast pigs (god, I hate those pigs) sprinting through your course, you need to have something ready to slow them down or waiting to take them out because catching up with them is a stressful non-option.

Some recommendable tower defense games:

1. Castle Defense for the Android. – Free at the Play Store

I’m utterly obsessed. So much available game play and time. So many ways to level up units and characters. And good looking too.

2. Fantasy Defense for the Kindle Fire – Free on the Kindle Fire

The Manga-style animation of the logo might be a little embarrassing but the actual game has really normal, almost chibi-style characters. This is how I spent my flight fro Phoenix to Boston—barely noticed I was in a middle seat.

3. NinjatownAvailable for the Nintendo DS

This is my very favorite DS game. Maybe one of my favorite games ever. It’s creative and fun and has a great story and it’s silly and I want to marry it (sorry, Hubs.). I even lent it to my mother because I needed other people to experience the joy it creates.

4. Anomaly 2Available via Steam download but can be purchased via their website [currently on sale until May 15th]

This one is interesting because it’s not a defensive game, its an offensive game. Humans lost Earth in a war in the previous Anomaly game and now they’re trying to breach the alien defenses to take it back! I played Anomaly 2 at PAX East and found that this game was pretty complicated. It may have been because it was in a mid level for the demo or because I’m a slow started. Either way, try it if you can or try some other games in the genre before it.

5. SOUTH PARK LET’S GO TOWER DEFENSE PLAY!Available for download from the Xbox Marketplace

I’ve never played this game but I thought a traditional console game some be here.  It had a lot of reviews on and just over 4 stars so…

What are some of your favorite tower defense games?

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