Admit it, you have genre prejudice, too. I don’t know what it is about tower defense games, but I can never seem to get over the hump. My perfectionist playstyle makes me hate it when a single enemy gets through. Most of the time in these games a single enemy doesn’t even cause you to lose, but that doesn’t stop me from hitting the reset button. Kingdom Rush is the first time in a long time that I’ve tolerated my own failure within a tower defense game, and that’s saying something.
It also says something that it took the release of the third game in the series for me to even give Kingdom Rush a shot. (Also, why did I go back to the original instead of just trying the new one?) The fact is, I had prime tablet gaming time available and wanted to try something new. I knew I wanted something strategic and Kingdom Rush Origins is getting some good buzz these days, so I figured this series was the best place to try to defend some towers again. Fucking. Nailed. It.
What makes these particular towers so appealing when it comes to the desire to utilize their defensive capabilities against hordes of enemies?
I have no idea. I have no nuance in describing why Kingdom Rush clicks with me, but here are some things about the game that made me enjoy caressing the screen to achieve desirable results:
Art style – At first I didn’t like how zoomed out it is, but now I find the tiny characters to be quite charming and well designed.
Sound – I think Kingdom Rush has a crush on the sounds of the Warcraft universe. It’s ok, Warcraft sound effects probably have a restraining order out against me so this is the next best thing. I felt at home.
Learnings – The first couple of stages eased me back into tower defense quite nicely. When I tripped up and used a tower poorly, I wasn’t punished so much as I was taught a lesson. I didn’t want to throw my iPad, I wanted to try again.
Progression and Repetition – Pulling from the most fun and addictive gameplay decisions of the best in mobile gaming, I love that each level has multiple challenges. Beat it on normal, come back and try it with different restrictions and harder enemies. That means when I get stuck on one of the later levels, the levels I’m already comfortable will teach me different strategies and make me better. In the meantime, I earn even more stars to level up my towers’ abilities and see some cool new ways to lay waste to my enemies.
Mobile Advantage – There are plenty of levels to play around with and each one is pretty short. I can jump in and out quickly, but I always feel like I’ve accomplished something with each play session. It also doesn’t hurt that tablets are just more inviting to the kiddos these days, so enlisting the help of the next generation is always a rewarding experience, too.
I’m only one weekend in, but I don’t think I can get through Kingdom Rush fast enough. Even better, I have two sequels waiting on me. Someone alert the rest of the genre because I may be coming for all of your towers.
Kingdom Rush was released in 2011 on iOS and is available now on browsers, Android, and PC.