Developer: Pixile Studios
Price: $1.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

When I first saw that Stratosphere: Multiplayer Defense was a tower defense game, I thought that it probably was going to be like all the rest. After all, it just seemed almost impossible at this point to make a game that stands out in this genre since there are so many. Boy, was I wrong to judge so quickly. Stratosphere: Multiplayer Defense takes the TD genre to a whole new level through its multiplayer gameplay style. Instead of waiting for enemies, gamers send them to each other while creating defensive towers to keep out their opponent. Of course, there’s also over 60 single player missions with three levels of difficulty for those who enjoy playing solo.

Designed specifically for the iPad, the game utilizes the entire screen to create a great multiplayer experience. To get started, decide to either play lonely campaign mode or select multiplayer. I opted to begin in single player mode to get a grasp for the controls.

Stratosphere has a board game appeal, but it still holds onto the traditional tower defense concepts. As players progress in lonely mode, they’ll complete missions as they defend their gate with towers that are dragged onto the board to fight off the creatures that travel down the path. Like other TD games, the towers destroy the creatures which earn players coins that can be used to build more towers and release additional creatures to take on the enemies. Surviving for 10 seconds at a time also earns players more coins. When a game is over, blue coins are awarded to purchase power-ups, modifiers and perks.

There are different levels to play, but they must be unlocked by playing through them all. The game starts with Orbital Alley. In multiplayer, gamers are encouraged to make an optional stratobet which is a customizable message that the loser has to send out on Facebook or Twitter. I opted out of it, but it is quite clever. Battling against each other is a lot of fun. The idea is to defend the gate from the opponent. If ten creatures pass through the gate, then it’s game over.

Since Stratosphere is so new there are a few areas that can be improved. For one, it needs more strategic elements and variety to make it more challenging and interesting. Unlocking modifiers is fun for a while, but things get boring quickly. Secondly, there is no online play to keep things competitive.

All in all, Stratosphere: Multiplayer Defense probably isn’t for serious gamers. I feel like it may have more of an appeal for casual gamers and children alike, but that doesn’t make it a bad game by any means. It’s still a great way to compete against friends, and I’m looking forward to what the developers have in store for future updates. It’s off to an awesome start.

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