Kingdom Rush (Review)

I’m a big fan of tower defense games when they are done right. Crystal Defenders, Dungeon Defenders, and Plants vs Zombies are by far my favourites of the genre, but a little flash game known as Kingdom Rush has been giving all three a run for their money.

Kingdom Rush is, as a whole, a pretty standard tower defense game. You get four different types of towers (archer towers, artillery cannons, barracks, and mage towers) which all serve different purposes and can be upgraded as you progress through the game.

Archer towers are, naturally, posts that shoot out a steady barrage of arrows at enemies. They can hit flying enemies, which makes them a valuable asset when waves of flying baddies appear later on.

Barracks train crews of soldiers to block roads and combat any enemies that come within range. When barracks are upgraded, they train stronger soldiers. Deploying soldiers throughout the level works brilliantly as a way to stall the enemies at on certain junctions and roads. Have a stretch of road where your towers deal lots of damage? Throw some barracks down to keep the enemies there longer!

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Mage towers are pretty uninteresting early in the game, but when you unlock their final upgrades, they become very enjoyable and helpful towers that allow you to create giant golems, turn enemies into sheep, and shoot death rays. They’re a very versatile (and helpful) tower towards the end of the game.

Artillery cannons are essentially just very large cannons that deal massive area of effect damage to enemies. These towers are perhaps the most lethal in terms of raw damage, but their slow attack speed balances things out so that they aren’t terribly overpowered. This will change when you max out the upgrades on a level 4 cannon though. Once you start firing homing missiles across the map and light entire roadways on fire, you know that nothing’s going to be messing with you!

If your towers are having trouble keeping a wave at bay, you can call upon reinforcements to help you out. They have a short cooldown and can be used very often, but reinforcements are initially quite weak and are nothing but a very brief stalling tactic at the start of the game (though they work wonderfully when paired when soldiers from barracks).

Another power you can use, which has a sixty second cooldown, is the ability to rain meteors down upon your opponents. Yes, meteors. This power deals an insane amount of damage to anything it hits and, chances are that unless you are using the power on the toughest enemies in the game, you’ll kill whatever you target in one go.

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The objective is to, of course, keep the enemies from reaching the end of the road. You have twenty hearts that you have to protect and, whenever an enemy slips through your towers and reaches the end, you’ll lose one heart. Some larger enemies will force you to lose more than one. When you lose all twenty hearts, it’s game over. Ideally, you will want to finish levels with all twenty hearts which allows you to unlock bonus challenges for each level.

Whenever you beat a level, you will be awarded with upgrade points which can be spent on, of course, upgrades for your towers and special powers. Most upgrades will just increase the power and range of your towers, but the upgrades for your meteors and reinforcements are much more interesting. Max out your reinforcements and they will become tough soldiers gain the ability to throw spears at flying enemies. Fully upgraded meteors gain the awesome ability to not only rain down longer, but can randomly hit all across the map as well.

Kingdom Rush isn’t a terribly long game, having only about twelve or so levels (plus two premium levels that you must pay to unlock). If you are only playing to breeze through the game’s story then you won’t be playing for too long. However, if you are looking to beat each level as well as the two challenges for each and every one, then you’ll be busy for a long time as you will essentially be increasing the length of the game by three.

Click to enlarge.

For a flash game, Kingdom Rush is exceptionally good. The gameplay is absolutely top notch, and the graphics and sound are pretty impressive for a game of this kind. The graphics aren’t extremely advanced and are basic 2D, but there was a lot of care taken in spriting everything in this game and it shows. The music is also a lot of fun to listen to and is actually, as a whole, much more enjoyable than what I hear in quite a few commercial games.

If you’re a fan of tower defense games, then giving Kingdom Rush a try is a no brainer. Considering it’s fully free to play (though unlocking premium content costs money, as does acquiring the game on the iPad), there’s no reason for you not to try this game. An even greater incentive to try this game is the fact that the developers have promised later additions and expansions to the game. This is without a doubt one of the better flash games that I have played.

Final Score

8.5/10

Pros:
+ Bonus challenges add lots of replayability.
+ Gameplay is top notch for a tower defense game.
+ Great music and sound effects for a flash game.

Cons:
– Difficulty is not consistent throughout the game.
– Game could have been longer.
– Premium content feels tacked on.

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