Developer: SonicBoom
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Tower defense games seem to be a dime a dozen for the iPhone. Having been an avid fan of them as a time waster on my desk top, I was excited to hear about the forthcoming Kill All Bugs. Combining a 16-bit graphical style and a 80’s horror theme makes Kill All Bugs stand out from the many other tower defense games for the iPhone. Sporting an easy to navigate interface and a decent variety of towers the game offers enough to keep a played hooked on the game in the beginning, but how does it last under extended play?

img_0700There are a variety of towers to choose from included your basic gun towers, a slowing tower, a flamethrower, and a rocket launcher. A somewhat unique feature of Kill All Bugs is the inclusion of a laser gate that, when used as the only route to the city, damages bugs just for crossing the laser’s path. Towers fire at a reasonable rate and certain tower abilities, such as the slowing tower, must be manually activated by clicking the tower and choosing to use the tower’s ability from a context menu. I didn’t appreciate the strategic potential of activating a tower as most tower defense games don’t make you work so hard to get what you paid for. The game includes an intel menu that gives details on bugs and towers which is a nice feature but not important.

The visual style of the game is true to both the 16-bit style of a gameboy or super nintendo and provides a certain level of nostalgia for veteran gamers. The bugs look like bugs and the cities and towers have a SimCity quality that I found fitting for a game of this type. During a game even the menus have a 16-bit feel, however outside of the game in the main menu the visual style is more that of a comic book or advertisements for a horror movie, giving a thematic apperance to the entire experience. Loading screens and mission briefings have a certain propoganda like feel that adds to the militaristic nature of your insecticide. img_0689Inconsistent use of a “scary-movie” font for some menus and titles seemed to interrupt the visual style rather then enhance it.

The sounds of the game portray the sounds of battle and the 80’s horror feel incredibly well. All the sounds seemed reminiscent of the various insect apocalypse movies I saw late at night on TBS. The sounds and music can be turned off via the menu or are muted automatically when the iPhone is silenced.

The replay value of any tower defense game is questionable for me, as the game play must get repetitive at some point because the basic objectives of the game cannot change–kill all bugs. Given that this is the name of the game however, replay does fairly well so long as you’re comfortable with killing all bugs. Because there are different ways of approaching each level and you get to control much of your development the immediate feeling of monotony is subdued.

Overall Kill All Bugs stands out in its use of theme and 16-bit graphics to create a well made tower defense package. Relative to competitors, Kill All Bugs solid game mechanics paired with its visual and auditory theme give it a compelling experience for the player. This game is a must for anyone that enjoys tower defense but doesn’t want to break the bank.

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