Game Reviews

Armored Defense – Tanks Cubed

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Fend of waves of tanks… and tanks… and more tanks, in this tower-defense style strategy game from ArmoredSoft featuring somewhat improved graphics, and plenty of levels to keep you busy. Tower-defense games, if you’re not familiar with the genre, are an industry standard in the mobile gaming world.

Title: Armored Defense | Developer: ArmoredSoftGenre: Action, Strategy |

Players: 1 | Version: 2.12 | Size: 12.2MB | Price: $4.56

Armored Defense QRCClick QRC image (from phone) or scan with a barcode reader.

Each map is static with set entrance and exit-paths for enemy units to follow. You’ll be purchasing turrets, placing them strategically, and upgrading them as you get more money… all with the hopes of killing everything before they reach the other side.

Armored Defense is yet another installation in the rather vast library of tower defense titles, and it’s a modern-style, military themed version. There are three maps – three – in this game, and each map will run you through seventy (that’s 7-0) stages of more and more enemy tanks. Some tanks are big, some tanks are small, some tanks stealth, some tanks are fast, and some even turn into smaller tanks (I assume, carriers) when they explode! Your options for blowing-up said tanks are turrets, with the option of mounting one of them on a train-track for mobility. In addition to turrets, you can place land mines which slow-down enemy units, and call in an air strike which drops a bomb (after 5 seconds) on a group of enemy units. Like every tower defense game, you’ll be upgrading your turrets to increase range and damage.

I played-through twenty or so levels on each of the three maps, and found it to be somewhat entertaining, though I found myself wanting of variety. Interface-wise, the game provides you with a handy play/pause button – which is nice for planning and deploying new turrets. Unfortunately, you really have no clue what each turret’s capabilities are unless you happened to have been smooth enough to write them down during the tutorial. There are no on-screen overlays when you select a turret, so hopefully your memory’s better than mine. Deploying turrets is rather interesting as well, as you’ll be tap-dragging them into position (as opposed to most TD games that have you tap to select, then tap to place).

Speaking of the tutorial, the text is riddled with bizarre phrases and spelling issues (like “invaiders”), and struggles to convey actually helpful information. Fortunately, the game itself is pretty straightforward, and with the limited number of turrets and upgrade options, the most complicated thing about Armored Defense is creating a new game (see Options).

Controls: When the round begins, you’ll find yourself pausing the game, tap-dragging turrets on to the map to deploy them, tapping a few for upgrades, and then tapping Play to start. During the course of the game, you can play/pause to your heart’s delight (via the on-screen buttons), fast-forward, and zoom up to three zoom-levels if you want to get a bird’s-eye view of the action. Unfortunately, you can’t really do anything but watch in two of the three zoom-levels. Because of the tap-drag mechanic, those of you with big fingers may find it difficult to place turrets accurately. There’s also no option for retracting air-strikes if you mistakenly start to place the crosshair.

Graphics: My first impression of the graphics in Armored Defense took me back to an old PC game, Total Annihilation, which used somewhat simplistic textures with the hopes of emphasizing game play. Honestly, I don’t understand the Market comments in this department. The graphics in this game are ok – nowhere near as detailed or colorful as Grave Defense – and the units themselves are regularly running over and under each-other. Because of the lack of collision-detection, or at least pathing where the units stay apart from one-another, I’m left feeling like this game is unfinished. Lastly, the menu overlays (transparent borders, especially) are heavily pixelated and look poorly designed.

Sound: Turret sound-effects are decent, as are explosions, but that’s all the sound you’ll get in Armored Defense. There’s no background soundtrack to speak-of, and you’ll find no tapping/placement effects as you navigate the screen. This game could definitely use some polish in the sound-department.

Options: In another difficult-to-understand UI situation, you’re provided a myriad of difficulty and ranking options when you start a new game. These options are barely explained in the tutorial and you’re mostly left to figure it out yourself. You can select between Rookie or Veteran mode, and from there you pick from three careers – Volunteer, Regular, and Elite – all of which use the same maps, and take you through seventy stages of tower defense. However, within each career are three sub-ranks – Soldier, Officer, and General. What does this mean for you? To complete an entire career, you’ll be plodding through 3×70 = 210 stages of the exact… same… map. Have fun.

In addition to difficulties, careers, and ranks, you can browse your statistics and toggle sound on/off.

Verdict:
I can safely say that I’m confused as to the Market reviews of Armored Defense. With people raving about the graphics and the game play, you’d think this game would be top-notch. After getting lost in the tutorial, suffering through the many (and easily correct’able) spelling and grammar errors, and then being stuck in a career spanning 210 stages of the same map… I have to say, I completely disagree. This game has good potential, but strikes me as unfinished and over-priced. For the steep $4.50 price-tag, there’s plenty of other solid tower-defense games out there to keep you busy.

Rating: ★★

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