Kingdom Rush Frontiers iPhone Review
Given the success of the previous Kingdom Rush game, Ironhide studios would have been foolish indeed to tamper with a proven formula. So it is that Kingdom Rush Frontiers takes what made the original tower-defense game so enjoyable, and gives it a ferocious polish, rather than a comprehensive makeover.
At the start of each mission, you choose how to spend your currency when it comes to placing defensive towers - archers, magical towers, melee barracks and so on. As enemy waves march towards the end-point of each level, any enemies that come into contact with your defenses get a taste of battle. If too many opposing units cross the finishing line, you'll fail the mission. Fortunately, you accrue new resources during battle, allowing you to tweak your reinforcements.
So it's very familiar stuff for tower defense fans, then, but once you begin unlocking new tower upgrades the strategy deepens considerably. You'll have to very cautiously decide which upgrade path provides the best defense against the challenge at hand, and there's a great deal of replay value to be had from this strategic experimentation. Hidden away in what seems like every map are little side challenges too, adding even deeper replay value to the game.
Success on the battlefield rewards you with victory stars, which can be used to add passive bonuses to your troops. Perhaps you'd like to reduce the cost of building your powerful turrets, or the price of your mage's magical abilities. How you choose to invest these points over time will largely be a matter of personal playstyle and preference, and it's another great way of encouraging you to replay missions and eke out every star you can.
To help you in that goal, you can take advantage of special Hero characters which move rapidly around the screen and add a mighty boost to your firepower. In the Hero Room, you can even upgrade those characters to dish out more damage, or stay alive a little longer on the battlefield. From wizards to rogues, there's a character to suit every combat taste, and the timed reinforcement powers are back in full force too.
Criticisms? On the iPad's screen in particular, the units are just a little too small to make identifying friend from foe an easy affair, and positioning your hero character around the screen is a bit too fiddly for our liking. For the most part though, these are minor frustrations that are resolved with practice, along with a greater visual understanding of the enemy types. There are also some pricey and powerful Hero characters to buy from the in-app purchase store - a pity, given the relatively high cost of the base game.
In every other area of the game though, Ironhide has given fans of the series exactly what they clamored for - another top-notch tower-defense game that expands on the previous games in every way imaginable. There are more upgrades, a greater diversity in environments, and more enemy types than ever before. Fans have likely already grabbed the game at launch - for everyone else, know that this new Kingdom Rush ensures the series remains at the top of this bloated genre.
What's Hot:One of the best mobile tower-defense titles gets the sequel it deserves. There's deeper strategy, loads of replay value, and plenty of secrets to be uncovered.
What's Not:A fiddly big-screen interface, and the premium Hero characters are over-priced.