Developer: Chillingo
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4G

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

There’s no such thing as a standard tower defense game or path management game nowadays on the App Store. This is a good thing – the best entries in these genres are no worse for wear even years after their original release. This means developers can’t just rehash the concepts thinking that they’re going to be fresh after a certain amount of time. So, we start to see hybrids of genres, and A.I.R Defense is what would happen if a tower defense game collided with a path management game, in sea of green colors.

Your goal is to protect your base from invading enemies, by way of building air units to take out the invading forces. Your have a variety of units to use to accomplish this task. You have planes and helicopters that can take out units with their limited amount of ammo before having to return to base to reload. You also get units that can lay down mines, fire a straight line of fire at enemies in the way, and ones that can reveal enemy position. The game comes with 5 campaign levels with a limited number of waves you have to survive, and then defeating these levels unlocks them for endless play in Survival mode.

The game does a nice job at blending the path management and tower defense genres, and really forcing you to think as you play. Because you only get so many shots with your units, you have to be smart with timing and strategy to get your units to attack enemies and back to reload without letting your base taking damage. The game’s path management elements are limited but ever-present – your ships have to dodge bullets in order to stay alive and to not lose their upgrades. The visual style is very green, but the style is very distinctive, as your units and powerups are green and blue, and enemies are always red and yellow. The game also comes with Game Center support for leaderboards and achievements through Crystal. There’s a separate iPad version that works very well, and is priced $0.99, identical to the iPhone/iPod touch version.

The game does a mediocre job at describing what exactly units do, sometimes – the spy plane is introduced before you would need it, and so it’s just kind of confusing when you start playing with it. On the iPhone/iPod touch version, it happened at least once where my menu where unit selection on a base was partially obscured by the menu buttons in the lower left corner. As well, the game has a lot of spelling errors strewn throughout.

AIR Defense is a visually unique twist on a couple of familiar iOS genres. While the game is sometimes rough around the edges, there’s some compelling elements here for those who enjoy defense games.

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