Tower defence games have become very popular over the last few years, with the mobile platform allowing more people to experience their appeal. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have a few tower defence games, but not many have become hugely popular and left their mark. Defenders of Ardania is the latest tower defence game to try to take this crown, but does it have enough variety and longevity, which other games lack, to do this?
Unlike some tower defence games, Defenders of Ardania allows you to not only defend your keep but also attack the other player as well. There is a choice of three different races to choose from, The Human Race, The Nature Race and The Underworld Race. Although their units and towers have a noticeable difference in their appearance, the actual attacks from the units and towers are relatively the same.
Some of the units available are soldiers that will travel in groups but are quite weak, stronger but slower moving units and sneaky units that travel alone, can move quickly and can avoid towers easily. There are also flying units, but they still need to take the set route the units follow, which almost defeats the point of them being able to fly. There are also healing units, which are slow movers but keep the rest of your units going for longer.
Of course, there are a number of different towers that can counter almost all the units but they can only be placed on certain points of each map. The map is laid out on a grid with green squares indicating where you can build your towers. One major drawback about this system is, when you begin a game, if your enemy manages to build a few towers on some of the key spots before you do, they will usually dominate the match, and it is very difficult for you to claim these squares because taking down towers isn’t that easy. There are a few special abilities that some races have to destroy towers, but they can’t be used that often, and you still need to grab the square before the enemy does. Some units are able to attack towers while they are travelling to the enemy’s keep but the damage is minimal and you can’t rely on this to win a match.
The single player mode is made up of twenty or so levels and can take a fair while to complete if you need to replay any of the levels – which is likely. The tutorial is lacking and you end the first level still wondering what on Earth is going on. After a few levels you will have got the hang of the game, but it does become quite mundane quickly and the levels feel very repetitive. The music helps to cover this up and it’s quite enjoyable to send waves of units out to destroy your enemies with lots of fantasy music blaring out of your speakers, but once the voice overs begin this is ruined.
It would have been good to test out the multiplayer mode, as this is where the game could have come into its own and utilised all of its best features to the fullest but, unfortunately, there was absolutely no players online to play with. The only option available was to play a two-on-two match with a friend against two AI, but this was a very painful experience because the AI are ruthless, it will destroy you one at a time and there isn’t really any way to counter this.
A few other issues that you will experience are some slow down during hectic battles with many units and towers on the screen at once, and there are also some long loading times between matches. The game could have done with an extra coat of paint too, as the visuals aren’t really up to the standard of other Arcade titles that have been released recently.
With some changes to the gameplay such as restricting some access to early tower placements, an improved tutorial and less aggressive AI, Defenders of Ardania might have been a more enjoyable experience, but with a better selection of tower defences games available out there it might be worth spending your precious pennies elsewhere.