App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Sports can get highly competitive, which can lead to cheating of all varieties. Such as performance enhancing chemicals, bribery, illegal plays, and so on. But which sport is the most corrupt? Well if Goal Defense is any indication, it’s pretty much all of them. At the same time.
Goal Defense is structurally similar to many hex-based Tower Defense games: enemies originate from specific points but their path depends largely on tower – or in this case, athlete – placement. Defenses can be upgraded a few times to increase both range and efficiency using currency earned from dispatching enemies. And above all else, the base – or trophy in this instance - must be protected. So yes, it uses several genre staples, but it’s also got more than a few differences that make it feel fresh and exciting, and also lots of fun.
These small differences include the National Lampoon/Mad Magazine styled depiction of the characters, subtle gameplay adjustments, and everything in between. Players from all manner of sports are represented here, from baseball to boxing, and beyond, and each one (as well as their upgraded versions) displays their own unique personality. I’m particularly fond of the lazy-looking hammer thrower who stands around digging in his ear when there are no enemies in range. It’s also nice to see some “towers” that aren’t quite as typical to the genre. Pitchers stand in for standard shooting towers, sure, but boxers – they one-shot any enemy unfortunate enough to find themselves in an adjacent hex - don’t mimic any known tower that I’m aware of. Lastly there are the goofy touches that double as gameplay enhancements, such as the way vans will drive onto the field to illegally deposit more enemies much closer to their target.
The only issues I have with Goal Defense is the lack of a proper character description, and enemy path finding. Obtaining a new player/tower is great, but aside from the fanfare of seeing a new icon there’s zero description as to what the new player’s function is. Trial-and-error is the only way to find out, which can result in needing to restart a level once or twice. As for the enemy path finding, it just doesn’t always go where expected. One level might begin with the reds conveniently funneling down a path between two of my upgraded pitchers, while another round on the same level with the same placement would see one or both enemy lines skirting the outside and splitting the pitchers’ focus. It’s inconsistent to say the least.
I’ve made it no secret that I’m not a huge fan of the tower defense genre, but Goal Defense mixes things up well enough that it’s managed to capture even my finicky attention. It’s weird, wacky, fun, and glorious. It might even win over a few genre detractors.