Developer: Origin 8
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
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It goes without saying that the Sentinel series is one of, if not the most successful tower defense franchises in the App Store. Unlike other games in the genre, the Sentinel games actually feel like games that could withstand the test of time on any portable system. They all have excellent graphics, more detailed textures than any other game of their kind, have a wide array of towers and one shot weapons, and most importantly, are challenging.
The team at Origin 8 though had their work cut out for them when they decided to create the third game of the series, Sentinel 3: Homeworld. Not only did they have to match the high bar that they had already put in place, but they also had to exceed their standards enough to keep the tower defense crazies (like me) happy... and boy am I happy.
Before the additions though, newcomers to the game will find the same formula that have delighted the seasoned vets for a few years now. Sentinel 3 is a fixed path tower defense game that adds a few tidbits to the tried and true formula. Instead of just having an allotment of creeps that you can let through, Sentinel gives you a base and an assortment of barriers that you must protect. Protecting these barriers not only prevents the creeps from getting to the main base, but they also act as a great enemy hoarder for your big guns to shoot at. The other addition to the mix is interest, something that many Sentinel players use differently. As you pass wave after wave, the money that you don't used gains interest, letting you accumulate towers faster than you normally would in a typical tower defense game. The trick is that while you aren't spending, you aren't building... and the creeps sure don't get easier as the games progress. If you plan well enough, the interest system can really be a boon to your bank account.
Not to rest on their laurels, Sentinel 3 adds some major features to the already packed game. The first is a commander unit that can finally do away with the pesky enemy units that find their way into the tiny spots on your walls and wreck havoc. Not just a typical unit though, the commander adds moral to the towers around him and gains EXP in battle, allowing you to upgrade his abilities and add combat abilities between levels. The use of the commander doesn't effect the game quite as much as, say, the heroes in Warcraft 3, but it definitely adds a welcome RPG element to the game. Also added is the weapon selection screen which makes you buy tower and one time weapon slots for use in levels. From there, you have to make the tough decisions as to what weapons and towers you go to battle with... and if my experience is any sort of indicator, the selection often comes down to trial and error.
If you want to bypass all the RPG elements and just get right into the game with all the weapons, you can play the classic mode which works much like the old Sentinel games. There is also the standard "endless" mode that lets you play with all of your RPG-esque stats from the campaign mode, but in an endless style for Game Center high score glory.
As expected, Sentinel 3: Homeworld is one of the most polished, well designed tower defense games in the App Store. Each of its 20 levels are extremely well crafted, and the additional units, weapons, and RPG elements all come together to create the best game the series has to offer. If you are a fan of the previous Sentinel games or just love the tower defense genre, be sure to pick up Sentinel 3 as soon as you can.