Developer: Orient Maple
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

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

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Gosh, this one hurts a bit. Every once in awhile I play a game that seems like a great idea but doesn’t quite pan out like I thought it would. Ever Defense is the biggest shame of all though, because instead of a glaring mega flaw, it is the culmination of small errors that dooms this game to a bad review.

Let’s do something a bit different here, let’s really dissect this one… disassemble it and then build it back into something better, or something like that. Going into developing an app, the most important thing to do on day one is to come up with a great concept. Ever Defense touts itself as a mix of a free form tower defense and an RTS. Try to think of the entire game as a level of Command and Conquer without the ability to build troops. I think Orient Maple had something good here to start with.

Now the next step here is the execution of the game itself. Your menus, sound effects, and graphics all need to go on the back burner for a bit so that the game itself can shine. Being a tower defense game, there are two items that are absolutely critical. To start, you need at least 4 towers to defend your base with. Ever Defense gives you 3, a laser, a tesla coil (which inexplicably shoots some sort of grenade like electric ball instead of a Red Alert style lightning bolt), and a freeze gun. The next critical element is that the towers have to be upgradeable. This is absolutely critical if you want to hold peoples interest for more that 10 minutes. Ever Defense does let you upgrade towers, but they don’t really do anything different other than shoot further and harder. They look the same, the blasts look the same, they just go a bit further.

Being .5 for 2 on the tower defense elements, we can now move to the RTS elements. Since we have already removed all units from the equation, we are left with base building and defense, traditionally my favorite two things. To keep things interesting, you have to have a bunch of buildings and some of them should be upgradeable to give you more cool things. Variety is key in RTS base building. Ever Defense unfortunately failed here too. Instead of variety, you are given the ability to build a power plant and a miner. No upgrades… none.

On top of only having 5 total buildings to build, the prices are all out of whack. With the lack of variety being very apparent, it is very important to give the ability to built a ton of buildings rather quickly. The way the money system works is that you must place miners on top of “deposits”. Each miner gains you something around a unit of money a second. You can only build on spaces close to power plants, so simply having the outreach to expand your base and to defend it is very difficult. Expect to have about 5-7 miners in any given game. With this system, you might expect a laser tower (base defense tower) to cost 50-60 units. It costs 200. With units coming at you from all directions, base defense is very tough due to a lack of funding.

Problem two here comes when the action gets thick, you realize that all the enemy units are attacking only your power plants. You can spend money to repair them, but thats like fixing a runny leak with duct tape. To really fix this, you have to build more towers, but once the power plant gets destroyed, your towers lose power and can’t shoot. I’m all for difficult, but this difficulty is just due to a lack of balance.

Once you’ve gotten past the gameplay issues, you need some nice graphics throughout to really bring people into the game. First off, the opening menu is all wrong. The layout is fine, but the text must be set at font size 4. Fortunately, getting into the game is a breeze, but once again you are stuck with everything being smaller than it should. The tower build buttons on the right are so small that it’s hard to not hit the wrong one. The prices on the button are also far too small, like borderline ridiculously small. The main game graphics are alright, but because of the itsy bitsy size, when you are dropping down towers, you are covering up half of the battlefield. On a side note, there is no grid to build on, so you just have to experiment with how close you can build units.

One last very annoying thing is that there is no save feature or a continuation feature. If you, for any reason must quit out of the game you will lose your progress. Once you start playing, you are stuck playing until you lose (or in my case get bored from lack of variety).

I honestly can’t recommend Ever Defense to anyone, not even the most hardened of hardcore tower defense or RTS players. The gameplay balance is nonexistent, the variety is in the same boat, and none of the intangibles that you would expect from a solid app are there. To be honest, the best part of the game was the Orient Maple developer picture that pops up while the game is loading. If they put in half as much time making their game as they did making that logo, this one would be a winner.

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