Developer: Dreamgate
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

I was initially attracted to Steampunk Tower for its theme and setup: the two-sided gameplay seemed interesting, and steampunk is always an interesting aesthetic. Well, I fear that might have been it for the game: it looks okay, there’s some interesting moments with having to fend off invaders from both sides, but overall it’s just kind of unimpressive.

SteampunkTower-4Players must protect their tower from being destroyed by a variety of foot soldiers, balloons, and steam tanks – this is a steampunk environment, after all. Enemies come in waves from both sides, so players must use their four tower types intelligently. Towers can be moved from their spaces to different areas, or even from one side to another if need be. It’s a much more dynamic game than most in the [adjective] defense genres, and lends an element of active strategy that rewards my interest.

However, I quickly felt my interest not paying off. First, the control system was one I had to fight constantly. Often when moving a tower from one entrenched position to another it would move somewhere else or not at all, at least on the iPad. On the iPhone, the gesture to swipe from the bottom to build new defenses conflicts with the Command Center gesture. Perhaps this should be reworked on there? Either way, it’s an entirely flawed series of mechanics, but it has a good heart, I suppose.

The reloading system is backwards. Defenses eventually run out of ammo, and must reload. It’s possible to have a defense reload by moving it to the center of the tower, but this does so very slowly. It reloads a lot faster when the ammo runs out, and even quicker when in the center! Why? The game punishes players for being prepared for ammo reloading. At least the reloading should be speedy when intentionally doing it.

SteampunkTower-2The idea of swapping out defenses in the towers for other ones is not explored as much as it should be: usually, onslaughts are identical on each side. This is a game with two different fields, why not explore this further? As well, enemy weaknesses feel like a useless, obfuscating feature because the only way to check them is in their initial appearance or in the encyclopedia in the game menu.

Steampunk Tower ultimately let me down. There’s interesting things here, but there are a lot of damaged parts as well that make this hard to recommend.

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