Krafton gives tower defense a huge facelift with Defense Derby

Posted by Alina Gasca on July 31st, 2023
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

It would be fair to say that a genre of games that isn’t in the spotlight often is the humble tower defense. In a world of AAA shooters and expansive open-world options, they are easy to overlook as they lack that hook that grips you. This is about to change, however, as Krafton is reinventing the category with Defense Derby.

Don’t just throw money at the problem

One of the most integral features of Defense Derby is the betting system, which you will encounter in the eponymous Derby Mode. Four players will be quasi-battling against each other to see whose tower can be the last one standing. So, how do you defend a castle? With troops, lots of them, but these fickle fighters only go to those who win at auction.

Barring your hero, two initial fighters, and one after each boss wave who will join you from your deck, your ranks will only swell through some good old betting. After each round, one unit will be drawn from a player's deck, and everyone will need to put up Derby Chips to try and buy them. The highest wins as you would imagine. Sounds simple, but this generates some of the most intense mental battles.

Spending too quickly will lock you out of a lot of future bidding, so you will need to tactically decide which units you desperately need and who to pass up in hopes a better option comes along. Also, don’t forget that three other people also need units, but you can use that to your advantage. Some of the best moments in Defense Derby are when it is down to the last two players, and you both try to outguess how much the other will bid, how cheap can this unit be bought for and can you make this other player spend all their coins so you can grab the next five units for cheap. It is incredibly good fun for such a simple system.

Make those fighters earn their keep

As entertaining as these betting battles are, that's just half of the fight, the rest of it is actual combat don’t forget. You have your shiny new units, now you need to use them. Whilst Defense Derby is a tower defense, that title doesn’t do it justice. This is not a static affair of placing your army and hoping for the best. You are able to, and will 100% have to, shuffle your people around the castle to cope with enemy waves. Even the first can cause issues if you aren’t careful.

Each of your units has an ability, ranging from damage to buffing, and an attack range, so you will have to move them to keep them in play. However, you can only move each unit once every ten or so seconds, so you will need to plan ahead. Another thing to bear in mind is the synergy effects you can get. Lining up the same attack-type units, or bunching up those of the same faction, will lead to some very noticeable attack bonuses, so you will always want to keep them active. This isn’t always so easy though when you have 25 high-speed hyenas charging down the lane. Battles get furious, you will be throwing units left, right and centre, and are guaranteed to love every bit of it.

Endless options for how to fight

To achieve those game-changing buffs, you will need to hire the correct fighters, which are easier to come by with the right deck. Comprising eight units, and one hero, the centrepiece of your army that basically dictates your build, there is a huge pool to build from. There are three factions; Human, Beast, and Spirit, which are then broken down into two types; Physical and Magic.

If you choose the Spirit Hero Elgry, you will probably build a Physical team due to him buffing their attack power. Build a Spirit team around him, and your Dendroid Warrior will be unstoppable with the attack boost and his ability to increase synergy buffs. Or pick our personal favourite hero, the Beast faction Osborn, who increases the Attack Power and Attack Speed of every single Beast unit, all praise the universal buffs. There is a massive range of units and abilities to mix and a huge number of decks you can build, each of which is viable. A surprising and impressive feat.

The best training grounds are the unintentional ones

With all these choices, you will need somewhere to test them, and that’s where Blitz mode comes in. Ostensibly a way to gain idle bonuses and Talent Points to boost your unit and heroes, it also serves as a fantastic way to test any of your builds. Simply play through it until you reach a level you can’t clear, and use that as a benchmark of how your Decks perform. It even has a handy damage meter so you can see where your weak links are. It may not have been designed as a training tool, but it handles fantastically well as one.

To get stronger, you need to level up units, which might lead you to think it will be expensive to trial so many Decks. Well, thanks to the Altar, it is a little easier. This feature lets you transfer levels between units to cushion the resource hoards of the indecisive. Through testing, it appears that any level under ten can be transferred for free, and above cost the premium currency, Gems. That is a pretty generous threshold and an excellent system in a game with this much customisation.

Krafton has done a fantastic job taking a genre that can be a little, let’s be honest, unengaging, and transforming it into this masterpiece. Every single game is a fresh challenge thanks to the bidding system's inherent randomness, and when Defense Derby launches, you can only imagine how many other units will be added for more choice. This is one to watch closely.

About KRAFTON, Inc.

Positioned in the heart of South Korea, KRAFTON, Inc. is deeply committed to unearthing and launching mesmerizing games that offer exclusive and captivating encounters. Established in the year 2007, KRAFTON plays host to a galaxy of internationally recognized developers that comprise PUBG STUDIOS, Striking Distance Studios, Unknown Worlds, VECTOR NORTH, Neon Giant, KRAFTON Montréal Studio, Bluehole Studio, RisingWings, 5minlab, Dreamotion, and ReLU Games. These studios continuously challenge the status quo, harnessing cutting-edge technologies, with a goal to engage an expanding fan base by diversifying KRAFTON's platforms and services.

KRAFTON is the driving force behind leading entertainment properties, encompassing PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS, PUBG MOBILE, The Callisto Protocol, NEW STATE MOBILE, Moonbreaker, TERA, and ELYON. With a driven and passionate global workforce, KRAFTON is a forward-thinking organization, carrying world-class competencies and aspiring to venture further into the realms of multimedia entertainment and deep learning. Visit to explore more about KRAFTON.

About RisingWings

Originating from South Korea, RisingWings is a game development studio with a steadfast focus on delivering universally enjoyable mobile games. With a mission to lead the mobile gaming market, RisingWings has a track record of developing a diverse array of successful mobile games, spanning from real-time strategy to easygoing games like Castle Craft, Castle Burn, Archery King, Bowling King, Mini Golf King, and Golf King: World Tour. For a deeper look into RisingWings and its creations, please visit

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