Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Childhood's End has courted more than a little controversy in recent times. Pulled from the App Store due to concerns that it had a mascot too similar to an internet meme about pedophilia, Childhood's End is back and free of the scourge of Pedobear. That mixup makes the game sound lurid but in reality, it's a pretty sweet and cute tower defense game. It's also extremely similar to Pixeljunk Monsters which brings mixed blessings.
The player takes the role of Big Phil as he attempts to protect his mother's flowers from evil teddy bears. Fortunately, these teddy bears don't look quite as evil as they could so nightmares shouldn't occur.
So begins a game of very typical but enjoyable tower defense action. At the start of each level, players are given a certain amount of money to plant new towers to attack the teddy bears. Once a teddy bear is destroyed, money and gems (in most stages) are unleashed and the player can collect the to use for better defenses. Different towers gradually become unlocked, ranging from basic arrow turrets to cannons, freezing towers, lasers and even a mortar. Waves of enemies steadily come at the player with a boss battle at the end of each level.
It's all pretty typical stuff but it is fun. Slight niggles do occur, such as while moving Big Phil around. Position Big Phil under a tower and he gradually upgrades it. Sometimes, when there's a lot of towers placed, it can get awkward to place him under the right one. Coins and gems must be collected by running near them, which again can be awkward amongst numerous towers. It's not a major flaw but it is an irritant during extended sessions.
Over 20 levels are available, spanning three difficulty levels and offering some branching paths. Easy will be a little too easy for seasoned tower defense experts, but it's a fun introduction to the rest of the game.
For $0.99, Childhood's End offers a fun time for a few hours. It is quite derivative of Pixeljunk Monsters but with no sign of that game coming to iOS, this is a welcome and inexpensive replacement.