Developer: Melesta Games
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Defenders of Suntoria has something that numerous other tower defense games sorely lack: actual new ideas. However, they are kept frustratingly at arm’s length by something other tower defense games have in spades: typical freemium annoyances.

suntoria 1 smallIn Defenders of Suntoria, players place traps at pre-determined locations to quickly and efficiently take out invading armies before they reach the base. But there is freedom for creative experimentation within those restrictions. Different traps of different sizes can only go on certain spots, like the powerful but slow bear trap and the wide-reaching razor blades. Between that and the price of traps, there are a lot of options to weigh when designing the deadliest path. Most levels also feature several doors that can be opened or closed to funnel foes in the harshest directions. However, certain enemies will target doors, which require costly repairs to stay intact.

But while these layouts are slightly more interesting than some others in the genre, Defenders of Suntoria‘s biggest twist is its hero system. In addition to using traps, players can position a hero unit, like an archer or a knight, on the field to unleash powerful attacks on enemies. They can even move around mid-match, which is useful for escaping rogue units that directly go after heroes. However, they are vulnerable to traps as well so be careful. The big, colorful, well-animated heroes are also the most visually impressive part of the game’s otherwise generic 3D fantasy graphics.

suntoria 2 smallThe heroes introduce some neat RPG mechanics like weapon upgrades and party expansion. Unfortunately, playing around with these intriguing ideas isn’t free. Players earn stars by completing missions, but not enough to gain access to cool new goodies at a regular rate. To do that, they’ll have to pay. The problem is that players are then left with pretty much the same tools for too many levels, making the game feel far shallower than it actually is. It’s self-defeating and especially annoying in a game that already costs money.

Still, there a lot worse takes on tower defense than Defenders of Suntoria. It just might be hard to figure out exactly what your money’s worth.

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