I have never seen Sam Raimi’s Army Of Darkness (I seriously have no idea why); when the Army Of Darkness: Defence iOS game came out, I was mildly curious how it would play for someone whose familiarity with Bruce Campbell is based mostly on the sleeper hit Burn Notice.
The game, by Backflip Studios, has you playing the part of Ash Williams, a smart-mouthed average-Joe type who is placed in charge of defending a sacred book (called the Necronomicon) from the undead. Armed with Ash’s beloved “boom stick” (shotgun), you start each level in front of the area where the tome is being kept. From here you basically move left and right by touching the screen (the castle gates are located at the far right), automatically engaging enemies when they enter the range of your weapon. If you get hit by en enemy, your health bar depletes (if left alone, Ash’s health bar refills slowly over time). Losing the Necronomicon or suffering a fully drained health bar will cause your game to come to an abrupt end. Ash also has a few special abilities that he can call upon to help do more damage: once used, these special powers are unavailable until they recharge.
Inside jokes like the botched incantation will appeal to the fans of the series.
Insurmountable odds are easier to handle with the help of friends: luckily you have some allies who join you in the fight against evil. A blacksmith works away in the background, ready to outfit the inhabitants of the castle with weapons and armour. He does this by slowly building your iron count, which you can spend on various units. Your acquired cavalry will move toward the castle gates, fighting any enemies they encounter. Your blacksmith can only retain a limited amount of iron; allowing him to accumulate a larger amount will give you the ability to level him up, raising his iron capacity and increasing the rate at which your iron count builds. Castle defenses can also be purchased (archers located on the wall, for instance) using the gold that you accumulate between rounds.
During your battle, your enemies will drop money and iron. Moving Ash over the iron will increase your iron count (allowing you to buy units a little bit faster); picking up the money will add to the bonus you get at the end of the level for surviving the round. This money can be used to purchase new levels or upgrades for Ash and your units, or to buy the aforementioned upgrades for your castle.
For a mere buck this game is certainly a lot of fun. I can see how the repetitive quotes used in the game could be annoying to some people, but I rather enjoy them. Game difficulty increases on a relatively decent curve, so you won’t find yourself having to repeat any levels too often. Whether you are a fan of the Evil Dead franchise or not, you will probably enjoy this game if you are into castle-defense-type experiences.