I’ll be honest here: I’m not a huge fan of conventional tower defense games. I almost always need a twist of some kind on the basic gameplay of building defensive structures and managing an economy of resources to fend off stronger and stronger enemies. Otherwise, games too often feel a little too sterile or straightforward.
This is to say that this list features only one game that most folks would unquestionably call a tower defense game. The rest are more like titles that borrow concepts and mechanics of the tower defense genre and use them to creative effect. With that in mind, check out the list below:
This is the conventional pick. Ironhide Studio has been consistently raising the bar on tower defense games for years, with Kingdom Rush Vengeance being their latest and most successful attempt. In it, you take control of the baddies from all the previous Kingdom Rush games to get your due against the knights and heroes that have done you wrong for so long.
Dungeon of the Endless is one of my all-time favorite games, and this is mostly due to how well it mixes roguelike dungeon-crawling with tower defense mechanics. It also helps that it has some of the most striking minimalist pixel art and music I’ve experienced in a game. Check this out if you want the most brutal but replayable tower defense experience on mobile.
For those with a competitive itch, there is no better tower defense multiplayer game than Clash Royale. More than five years since its release, Supercell is updating the game with all kinds of content, matchmaking still takes just a few seconds, and it still does its innovative elixr-based real-time battling better than the flood of imitators that have come out in its wake.
Bad North is a real-time strategy game where you command troops of viking warriors as they defend islands from invading foes. The tower defense ties here are tenuous at best, but you do literally have to protect buildings on these tiny landmasses so that you can accrue enough money to keep your army strong enough to fight their way through to the end. If you think another tower defense game should be on here instead, whatever. This game is better than whatever you’d replace it with.
There aren’t many tower defense options on Apple Arcade, which is to say there’s essentially one. Fortunately, it’s pretty good! Don’t Bug Me isn’t especially complicated or long, but that’s what’s nice about it. It’s blend of tower defense, real-time strategy, and shooting is digestable and enjoyable without overstaying its welcome. In that way its kind of the perfect tower defense game to have on a service alongside 200+ other games.
Genshin Impact is far from a tower defense game, but it has had two time-limited events that are some of my favorite tower defense gaming I’ve ever had on mobile. This mode—called Theater Mechanicus—would probably be my favorite tower defense game if it was its own standalone experience (read why here, or here). Instead, it’s buried so deep inside a free-to-play open-world rpg that only regular players can access it whenever it comes around. This is why it gets a mere honorable mention.