Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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The original Fieldrunners revolutionized Tower Defense games and proved to be one of the first big hits on the App Store. Past games had enemy waves following a very specific route to their goal, meaning that all the player could do was line up towers alongside such paths. Fieldrunners gave players the power to decide the route for themselves, placing towers which would divert the enemy's trajectory. Fieldrunners 2 continues that successful format, but also adds plenty of new and fun twists.
Stepping away from the traditional open plains style of the original, Fieldrunners 2 includes a variety of different level types. The same game mechanics are there with enemies taking the most direct route to their goal but pre-defined obstacles such as bridges affect where they go. This also provides ideal places to create choke points, such as when a bridge loops around a few times.
Further strategy comes in the form of the game's puzzle levels which require certain goals to be completed. These tend to involve steering the enemies towards lasers or mines rather than destroying them in a conventional fashion. The first couple of levels might be relatively straightforward but it wasn't long before I found myself scratching my head at certain sections. They're a great change of pace from the usual tower defense style.
This all adds hugely to the level of creativity that the Fieldrunners series has been known for in the past. Mixing level types up between survival scenarios, time trials and puzzles ensures that nothing feels too predictable.
One of my favorite stages was one that encouraged the use of forming a loop the loop with the towers, thus trapping the waves in a vicious circle of weaponry. There's a lot more to Fieldrunners 2 than conventional games of the genre.
It's not all perfect for Fieldrunners 2, with the difficulty level sometimes feeling uneven. Casual mode doesn't get challenging quickly enough while higher difficulty levels will infuriate far too soon. There's also the issue of time with some levels taking 30-40 minutes to complete because of the sheer amount of attack waves that must be dealt with.
Neither issue really detracts from the fun element though. It's immensely enjoyable playing through Fieldrunners 2, even when you're losing. There are a few places where in-app purchases could have been easily implemented but, refreshingly, Subatomic Studios has dispensed with that, focusing on rewarding players through spending the virtual currency they earn rather than pay for with real money.
Fieldrunners 2 is a fine example of just how much fun can be garnered from an iOS device. Offering many hours of fun for a mere $3 is an utter bargain and Fieldrunners 2 truly deserves its title of the new king of tower defense. Now, how about an iPad version?