Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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It's a little on the shallow side but despite that, Lumberwhack: Defend the Wild is still terrific fun and quite well made.
Players control Koko Kornelius, a monkey who commands a series of other animals in their bid to stop the scourge of lumberjacks invading their land. It's an important ecological message but done in a quite cute manner, proving ideal for family gamers.
Using a form of tower defense style gameplay, Koko can run from tree to tree collecting up bananas which can then be used to "purchase" the help of other animals. At first, there's only the choice of one type of monkey to hire but it's not long before tigers, crocodiles, snakes and other enthusiastic animals get involved. In each case, the animals offer an individual advantage. While the tiger is fast, it also has weak defensive capabilities compared to the strong all-rounder gorilla. The snake can poison enemies, gradually weakening them as the crocodile approaches them from behind. Each animal type costs a different number of bananas so there's also the issue of balancing waiting out for a stronger animal or rushing ahead with plenty of weak ones.
It's a fun and simple mechanic, with the offer of an upgrade system further enhancing progress. At certain junctions it's possible to pursue different routes, unlocking new animals and power-ups along the way. Being able to control Koko directly, as well as use him to co-ordinate efforts, also adds to the amount of things that can be done rather than being restricted to sitting back and watching.
To an extent, Lumberwhack: Defend the Wild never hugely evolves from its original idea but its simplicity is endearing and makes the time pass quickly. With plenty of levels on offer and no in-app purchases in sight, Lumberwhack: Defend the Wild should keep many a tower defense fan happy for a while to come, even despite such shallowness.