App Reviewed on: iPad
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I am sure everyone who has an iOS device knows a little bit about tower defense. The genre took off early and multiplied at an astonishing rate, and it still hasn’t slowed down. The Angry Birds fad stole the spotlight for a while, but I think it is safe to say tower defense isn’t going out of style just yet. Magic Dream Games has taken the genre and built a solid experience with Monster Trouble HD, but does it defy genre conventions?
In Monster Trouble you use a bank of coins to set up a variety of mostly wooden structures, and then populate those structures with a very colorful cast of small town villagers and farmers. Each level features a timer that slowly ticks away as wave after wave of little monsters filter out of various caves and hide outs on the map. If you survive the onslaught, and complete a specific objective for each scenario you can move on to the next level. The game starts out a bit slow with only a limited amount of options, but after a few levels you begin unlocking access to some of the more flavorful towers and abilities. The difficulty is admittedly challenging but not in a frustrating way. The challenge stems from having to use a trial and error approach to strategy. Combining the right towers with the right characters, and building them at the right locations is the key to success.
The graphics are charming with nice animations, but they do seem overly inspired by the generic cartoon fantasy style made famous by Blizzard’s Warcraft series. This isn’t a bad thing though because it helps the game achieve a comedic vibe. The soundtrack features some catchy tunes and a lot of great sound effects that also lend a great deal of humor to the experience. The main thing that falls short is the dialogue. The game’s atmosphere really sets you up to expect some very funny lines, but I rarely cracked a smile when the characters were chatting. I still enjoyed the various characters because of their unique character models, portraits, and their roles on the battlefield, but there is definitely room for more personality.
Thankfully, Monster Trouble isn’t all conventional. A lot of tower defense games place an emphasis on set-up and upkeep, but Monster Trouble allows for some great player interaction. When monsters die you have to quickly snatch up the loot they drop before it disappears, and sometimes you have to take out pesky enemies on your own. If you drop a potion on an enemy it turns into a sort of grenade and blows the little guy up. This is handy for when some of the more crafty bad guys slip through your defenses. You can also move your arsenal of characters from tower to tower when the need arises. I found this to be a key part of the game’s strategy because it allows you to swap heavy hitters, long rangers, and area of effect units in a pinch without having to rebuild a new structure.
Magic Dream’s game is a nice addition to the tower defense roster, and even though it feels quite familiar, there are enough small tweaks in the gameplay to make it a worthwhile experience for fans of the genre. The game can be great fun if you have the patience for strategy. I really appreciated the PC gaming vibe of Monster Trouble, but I was left longing for a more engaging story.
Tagged with: $3.99, magic dream games, monster trouble, tower defense