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Developer: 7Sixty LLC
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0.3
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

What’s great about The Minor Lords: Archibald & Remus, aside from it just being a solid tower defense game, is that it manages to have compelling in-app purchases without feeling like a rip-off. Whether the player wants to spend a little extra or not the game is still fun to play. As more of these freemium games flood the market maintaining, this balance has become increasingly important.

The first thing players may notice is how The Minor Lords attempts to use humor to liven up its otherwise standard fantasy RPG world. Archibald and Remus are just two squatters wandering from castle to castle in places like “Fledlingtown” and “Livervurst” just looking for a place to crash. It’s more cute than funny and the voice samples of the lords as well as the narrator fall a little flat. However, the jokes work well enough and are a good compliment to the game’s crisp 2D artwork and breezy music.

Gameplay-wise touch controls continue to fit this genre like a glove. Placing towers is easy as is navigating the numerous menus. So whether one needs to create an extra line of defense near their castle or give their catapults a cow-launching upgrade a few quick taps will do it. Eagle-eyed players can even tap on the occasional rich noble as he strolls by and steal his gold. Another neat gameplay quirk is the combo system where by placing certain towers near each other, players can kill enemies in a way that provides gunpowder, a resource needed to build last-resort towers like exploding barrels.

The initial download comes with a handful of towers and 15 stages, a fair amount of content that will take a while to get through. Players can then choose to buy additional towers and stages. The game even lets one try out a single premium tower in each stage. It’s deviously brilliant that these towers are the highlight of the game. Between the amazing range of the crossbow and the sheer insanity of the badger launcher, it is easy to see how someone could give in and buy these ultimately superfluous upgrades. Rounding out the package is a robust achievement system with standouts like “Robin Hood” which rewards stealing from nobles on a regular basis.

Taken on its own merits, The Minor Lords: Archibald & Remus is a great little tower defense game that’s even better because it is free. The paid extras are just that: extras. What’s there to lose?

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