Developer: AMT Games
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Tower Defense games, whether you like them or not, are about as ingrained in iPhone lore as it can get. Since the whopping success of Fieldrunners, countless tower defense games have popped into the store… some good and some not so good.

Epic War TD certainly isn’t in the not so good area, but it definitely isn’t in the top tier of the genre. Starting the game, it looks like a slightly more complex version of a typical fixed path tower defense game. The basics are all there, such as the standard waves of enemies, a fairly typical unit tree (machine gun cannon, missile tower, laser tower, slow tower, etc.), and money that is dished out for unit kills, but Epic War gets a little fancy with the rest.

The most difficult thing to understand about Epic War TD is the strange enemy resistance tree. By hitting a little inconspicuous button that looks like a target, you see a huge screen overlay with all the enemies and their resistances to different towers. Instead of just giving towers set amounts of damage dealt, each enemy unit takes damage differently. The obvious goal of the developers is to make each wave count, forcing you to really pick what you build and upgrade (the tower upgrade tree is quite extensive) between each wave. The problem that you run into is that the resistance tree is all organized by enemy unit picture, and it’s not exactly easy to tell the enemy units apart. All of them resemble each other, making is frustrating to really plan things out. For the record, the idea of enemy resistance is solid, but its implementation is sloppy, making the game look less polished than it could.

Also tough is the difficulty, which is extremely tough. Like other tower defense games, Epic war starts you with a set number of units that you can let get through, but that number is all you get for the entire game. There are only four levels to get through, but the levels are really set up for you to fail. For example, level two, even on the medium difficulty, doesn’t give you enough starting money to perfect. No matter what you do, you will get tagged with 5-10+ units getting through, and that is frustrating. To counter this, each level you beat gives you the option to play a little minigame to give you some lives, but the minigame really just distracts from the game itself, and could probably be eliminated altogether.

It goes without saying (again) that certain parts of Epic War TD were frustrating, but it does get quite a bit right. The tech tree really is well done, the weapons are all well thought out and function well, and the enemies (other than their bland appearance) are well thought out. Epic War TD just lacks a level of polish and balance that differentiate it from the genre heavyweights. The developers promise big updates in the future (more levels, retina display updates), but as is it will probably only cater to the most hardcore tower defense fans.

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