Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
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Tower defense games have proven to be a hit on the iPhone. The hardware on offer works perfectly for picking up defensive structures or units and placing them onto the playing field, in a bid to defend from waves of attacking enemies. Tiny Defense falls into this category, but it's a little different in that the isometric viewpoint has been replaced by a camera angle and terrain that looks much more suited to a side-scrolling platformer. But it works.
A short comic-like introductory scene explains exactly why a defense is needed; a planet inhabited by "Minirobots" has been evaded by the much larger robotical beings, "The Machines". These little metallic folk are to overcome the size-difference and stop The Machines in their tracks. With just enough of an excuse there to make a game, we're into the action -- and aside from the aforementioned camera angle, it sticks to the basics of the genre. Units must first be placed down that generate resources, which in turn can be used to place various attacking or defensive types of robots. A successful defense results in some sort of reward such as a new unit or ability, as well as progression to the next level.
It reminds me very much of PopCap Games' Plants vs. Zombies in the way it plays, and although it's perhaps not quite to the level of perfection that I've personally experienced defending my lawn from the undead, it's certainly the closest I've found on the iPhone to date. The visuals offer a very high level of polish, with both the units and the levels being extremely pleasing to look at. There's also a massive range of friendly and enemy units to use throughout the game eEach has its own tricks or traits and selecting the right Minirobot for the job is crucial. The touch-controls are super-accurate and highly responsive too, which combined with 150 levels, 30 mini-games and 5 themed areas ensure that Tiny Defense feels fresh throughout. The pacing did feel a little slow to me in the early levels, but I can see it being a vital step for newcomers to the genre -- and boy do things hot up in the later stages.
Fans of the genre will absolutely love Tiny Defense, it falls second only to PvZ. Those who've never touched a tower defense game on their iPhone should probably check out PopCap's offering first -- but upon doing so, and realising how well it works on the platform, they'll almost definitely be looking for more. At which point, Tiny Defense should 100% be the next game on their lists.