Kingdom Rush

Windows, OSX, Linux, Android, iPad

Publisher: Ironhide Game Studio


Background

Who doesn’t love a good tower defense game. Kingdom Rush is no exception with tons of levels, enemies and characters to play as this game is a take on the tower defense genre. Developed by Ironhide Game Studio and released as a small time flash game on publisher, Armor Games, website on July 28, 2011. It was then ported to Steam on using the Unity engine on January 6, 2014. The game features wave after wave of medieval monsters and undead trying to make their way through your own personal gauntlet of towers all vying for the kill.

Kingdom Rush Steam Trailer

Gameplay

The game plays pretty much like any other tower defense game. The monsters walk down a set path and it is your job to set up towers and traps to keep them from making their way to the end of the line. You start with 20 lives and must keep them from crossing off the screen, thus losing how ever many hearts that enemy was worth. Each stage has three different modes requiring you to change up your strategy, there is the regular stage where you have so many lives to get through the waves and upon completing that challenge you unlock the heroic mode in which you must protect your single heart from 6 waves of elite enemies. Then their is the Iron Challenge which will drastically limit your building capabilities and usually take away your hero and you must survive one incredibly long wave of continuous enemies, defeating each one so as to not lose your only heart. The game features many stages each with their own layout and build spots that you must very carefully take advantage of if you wish to succeed.


Tower Defense

Pure Anarchy

What is the key component of any Tower Defense game? The towers of course and this game has four very standard-class towers. First you have the Archer tower which fires arrows at oncoming enemies and has very long range and can even target flying enemies. This tower can be upgraded to either the Ranger Hideout, which puts two very elite archers at the top with poison arrows and a kindly old wizard at the base of the tree who possess the ability to stop enemies in their tracks. Or it can become a Musketeer Garrison, which sees the two archers trade in their bows for a more powerful, yet slower rifles. This tower features the longest target distance with a possible execution chance, as well as a shotgun ability that decimates close range enemies. Then you have the Barracks tower which trains up to 3 soldiers to get out on the track and engage enemies directly. This can follow two paths, one being the Holy Order, which provides the men with much protecting against attacks and holy healing and striking. The other option being the more violent and aggressive Barbarian Hall which trains ravenous warmongers as opposed to gentleman warriors. This tower create some of the most aggressive fighters with them being able to dual-wield axes as well as throw them at all enemies. This damage comes at the sacrifice of their defense, as the crazed warriors care more about the kill then their own lives.

The Juggernaut’s Assault

Next is the Wizard tower which excels at destroying armored targets whose defenses conventional means can’t seem to penetrate. It can be upgraded to the Sorcerer tower, whose forte is what else… summoning. He can summon a Stone Elemental which can be upgraded to withstand a ton of damage, and the Sorcerer can also turn enemies into sheep who are easily defeated. Or he can be upgraded to the Arcane Wizard, who focuses on pure annihilation, with his death ray that can instantly disintegrate an enemy or his teleportation spell that takes a group of enemies and sends them back down the track to run through the gauntlet again. Finally, there is the Artillery tower that has two dwarves flinging explosives at crowds of enemies and can be upgraded to the Big Bertha that just loves to blow things up. It has a missile launcher that shoots a missile or a cluster bomb that breaks into pieces and carpet bombs a crowd. It can also be upgraded to the Tesla x104 which obviously opts out of the explosives in light of electricity. It can be upgraded to have a damaging electrical field and also have the electricity arc to more targets. There are plenty of options, you just have to figure out what goes where.


Heroes

NO shortage of war heroes

If you're not someone who likes to depend on towers to do the work for you then you do have a more direct option available. The game features 12 unique heroes that each have their own abilities. Unlike the mobile version of this game you unlock the various heroes through story progression as opposed to in-app purchases. They have heroes to fit all types of players, they have Alleria Swiftwind, who lends herself well to the players who prefer to stay back from the action and pick off the weak stragglers or focus on the big bad who seems to annihilate anything it touches. There is also Malik Hammerfury who is the true juggernaut of “Kingdom Rush,” as he possesses the highest amount of health of all the heroes and is a walking blockade how is great at crowd control. He is not without his short comings off course, being his lack of a ranged attack that doesn’t allow him to attack flying enemies. When defeated they will enter a cooldown until they respawn in which they cannot attack or move. The heroes level up as they defeat enemies in the stage, they gain access to new abilities and stronger attacks they progress and then have to do it all over again on the next stage. Find the character that fits your play style.


Verdict: 9/10

This game takes the traditional tower defense game and adds an interesting flair to it. With 4 different tower types that branch out even further from that, and the ability to play a more active part in the defense using your chosen hero. The game is pack with easter eggs that you can use to your advantage such as a Yeti hiding behind a wall of ice that can be recruited after the wall is destroyed. It does lack an enthralling story that pulls one in but that is supplemented with addicting gameplay. The game requires you to really think about the strategies you are using and different enemies will require different strategies. The various enemies and the map layouts keep the game from becoming monotonous and boring. It would be nice for the game to feature another tower or even a third upgrade path for each tower to allow for some more variety but nonetheless, the towers available do a good job of allowing for variety and the player must choose what goes where to maximize each towers efficiency. This game rests at the forefront of the Tower Defense genre, and helps to keep a very underrepresented genre going strong. This game has spawned two sequels and is great game for any Tower Defense lover to own.

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