Developer: Digital Goldfish
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

I tackled Bloons TD 5 partially out of curiosity: why was this game #3 on the iPhone top paid ranks, as a $2.99 game? That’s like seeing Sasquatch riding a unicorn. And it was the 5th entry in the series, how is it still so popular?

Well, after playing, it makes sense: this is probably the ultimate traditional track-based tower defense game on the App Store.

The rules are the same as every other genre entry: kill creeps before they reach the end of the track. The creeps are all balloons, er, bloons, and the towers are all monkeys who really hate bloons, apparently. It all ramps up from there.

There are dozens of tower monkey types, all with different attack styles and purposes, with abilities that can destroy the different bloons. These include stronger bloons indicated by color, bloons of different material that can only be shot at by certain units (or with certain upgrades), and the MOAB, which is a giant bloon that also means game over if it gets through.

Remember how I mentioned there were dozens of monkey units? Well, each unit has an upgrade tree, where two different upgrade types can be deployed up to 4 levels of upgrades, but once a type hits level 3, then the other can’t advance past level 2. Upgrades also only unlock as units gain experience, which is earned by deploying them in the field more often.

There is a lot going on, and the game celebrates this fact, with cheeky reminders that things are getting harder, or that more and more bloons will be coming in with certain waves. It’s easy to get lost in all the unit types and upgrades, though hitting the question mark icon on any screen will usually explain what’s going on.

Really, I don’t even think that I’m scratching the surface of what this game contains. There’s a dozen maps of varying difficulties and designs. Bucks and tokens can be earned to be spent on helpful life-saving boosts and long-term permanent upgrades respectively. There’s a manual iCloud save support in the options, which may come in handy if and when an iPad version comes out, as the game is not universal (Bloons TD 4 came in separate iPhone and iPad versions). The sessions can be rather long, so use that fast forward button. It helps a lot.

Just based off of the sheer amount of content alone, and the complexity contained within, I definitely have to recommend this to the die-hard traditional tower defense game fan, which is anyone who reads the warning message about later levels making the device lag and gets excited. Those willing to dive in to a tower defense game that’s ready and willing to be deep should check it out as well. This is one of the best $2.99 (plus in-app purchases for currency) values on the App Store.

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