Developer: 8Floor LTD
Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_0427It is hard to remember the last time that the tower defense genre felt exciting and groundbreaking. For whatever reason, developers always seem to forgo the opportunity to make tweaks to the gameplay formula. The result has been numerous iterations of essentially the same game, just with different visual skins. Can the recently released Fort Defense manage to finally break the mold, or is this another case of cookie cutter game meets a new setting?

Don’t you love it when developers think outside of the box when naming their titles? In Fort Defense players are assigned the task of, you guessed it, defending forts. The only moderate surprise is the fact that instead of the usual ground based combat, this time the conflict takes place on the high seas. Don’t worry though, this isn’t just a paltry onslaught from the Niña, Pinta, and Santa María.

The player’s fort is constantly under pressure from many different types of vessels, all with their own unique speeds and hull thicknesses. Fortunately there are several different types of turrets that take the forms of crossbow, cannon, and even missile placements, all of which can be employed in the name of self-preservation. However, in a curiously confining choice on the part of the developers, each map only has a handful of locations to place weaponry. Careful consideration of turret placements is required in order to ultimately be successful.

IMG_0430Most maps consist of the usual winding and intertwining pathways, all leading to the coveted fort. Under most circumstances, the only units that ever end up putting up any sort of a challenge are the two sets of “boss” boats. These beasts are rather large, move about as quick as the DMV at lunchtime, and can take immense amounts of damage. With that specific lack of challenge in mind, the entirety of the base game can be completed in a single two hour sitting. Over one hundred minutes worth of playtime is nothing to sneeze at, but when the gameplay is this derivative and repetitive most players won’t have the focus or fortitude to reach the end.

Transporting the tower defense genre from the grassy plains to the high seas doesn’t end up yielding enough permutations to make Fort Defense feel like anything special. That said, just because it is not a standout amongst its peers, does not mean it isn’t worth playing. Those looking for their next dose of track guarding mayhem would be well served giving it a chance.

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