Last year, I reviewed a tower defense game by Ironhide Game Studio called Kingdom Rush for iOS. It was a great take on the genre, with great production value and addictive game-play. Recently, Ironhide released a sequel, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers. While the argument can be made that it’s just more of the same, there are enough differences to make it worth your while to play!
Like its predecessor, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers is all about a massive influx of unwelcome guests to your fantasy kingdom. Monsters of all shapes and sizes have decided that your home is something that they want to invade – and they mean business. The path to your kingdom is fixed, as are the positions where you can place towers, so you will have to exercise a fair amount of strategy to deal with the interlopers. As you progress through the levels, your towers can be upgraded (in-round) to higher levels, resulting in access to greater power and special abilities. As you earn stars by successfully completing levels, you can “purchase” upgrades to improve various aspects of the different classes available to you (such as their ability to do damage, or the reduction of their production time and cost, for instance).
Heroes are available to customize so that they can kick ass more effectively.
In addition to the towers, you have a hero unit. Heroes are much more powerful than normal units and come with their own special abilities as they gain levels (various attributes of your hero can be upgraded, as well). There are several hero units to choose from (some free and some not), each with their own style of attack and defense. There is enough of a selection to accommodate most playing styles.
Even with these towers and your hero, some levels are pretty tough to complete. Thus, you also have one last line of defense in the form of general special abilities: summon units and meteor shower. Summon units does exactly what it says: it summons some lower-level fighters to wherever you choose to touch on the path. They will engage the enemy once they are approached. Meteor shower is activated in the same manner, and will pound the Earth wherever you choose. Each of these powers has a cool-down period – but after they recharge, they are available to use again. There are also special one-off items that can be purchased using gems (which are earned by killing beasties), which also help you to turn the tide against the enemy.
When I powered up my iPod Touch 5 and started Kingdom Rush: Frontiers for the first time, I was greeted by essentially the same style of opening screen as the previous title. Really, Kingdom Rush was pretty tight in terms of the game-play and user interface, so it was smart of Ironhide not to mess with that formula. As I got a little further into the game, I was slightly taken aback by how similar this new title was to the old one. To be clear, there are not a lot of new features in this sequel that set it apart from the original. That being said, there are new towers to develop and new monsters to fight – this amounts to plenty of new challenges to face. In my books, that’s a win.
Help defend your kingdom! Three different challenges for each stage!
The cartoonish graphics and audio make a triumphant return, and the quality of the game is top-notch. Whether you have played Kingdom Rush or not, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers is worth the money ($2.99 for your iPod/iPhone). There are plenty of achievements to unlock in the game, and lots of fun new challenges to occupy your time. Like the previous game, each stage has a maximum of three stars to grab, as well as two challenge scenarios to master (which means two more stars to help you with your upgrades). My only gripe about the game is that some of the heroes are pretty expensive to unlock (the Dragon is $7!); of course, the three free heroes are nothing to sneeze at. The bottom line: kiss your time goodbye, but in a good way.