You are running late for class and try to sneak into the crowded classroom as quietly as you can. Unfortunately, that snarky grad assistant who gives you dagger looks is waiting by the door. Not too long after, you are deluged by bluebooks and exam papers being lobbed at your head. You make it past her, barely, only to be confronted by the dean, who is quite a heavy hitter himself.
No, this is not a stress dream related to college. Welcome to Ivory Tower Defenders a new tower defense game for the iPhone and iPad.
Here comes a new tower defense game that is loosely based on real life. The developers, Slow Life Games, took a page from their own university experience to come up with a new tower defense game that changes all the rules – and yes, you’re graded for it.
You know the drill when it comes to tower defense (TD) games, if you’ve played a fair number of them already. You build towers to take down waves of creeps going along a path towards your base (and if they get past your defenses, you lose a health), earn money from your kills, and use your money to upgrade your towers. In addition, you have to adapt to the environment and the difficulty level, meaning, you can sell your towers if you need money or replace the ones you’ve installed with different ones depending on your strategic needs.
In more ways than one, Ivory Tower Defenders takes the most basic premises behind tower defense games and offers several twists. First of all, your ‘creeps’ are a varied bunch of students – slackers, geeks, jocks, each with their respective strengths and characteristics. Second, the ‘path’ these ‘creeps’ go along is a typical university classroom, and their ultimate goal is to get to their seats before you take them out. Hence, depending on how it plays out, the students deviate from their ‘path’ if a seat is already taken. Third, your towers are professors, super strict grad assistants, the dean, even. You can’t remove them once you’ve placed them in a certain location. (It would be nice if you’re told beforehand about this in the tutorial and not just a tip) These are three reasons why Ivory Tower Defenders is not your typical TD game.
The game is not easy to beat. The Honors difficulty level is even harder to beat, because you’ll barely survive the normal difficulty mode. This is in large part due to the fact that you can’t change your defenders, hence you have to do a lot of thinking even before you start the level. Where you stumble along the way largely determines how the game will proceed (because students will only go to the unoccupied seats), making the game quite unpredictable. Right now, there are four levels and two difficulty modes, but with 100 waves to beat each one, expect to spend a couple of hours on each level. For TD addicts, this might be a new kind of addicting gameplay.
Yet, for all its promise, I think Ivory Tower Defenders still has a long way to go to live up to its potential. You have a unique and pretty funny premise for a TD game but the graphics are far from polished and are disappointingly low-res. The background sounds and effects sound rather generic and fail to evoke the general mayhem inside a university classroom. Third, the lack of a fast forward button makes the game progress rather slowly – for 100 waves, I was already impatient by the tenth wave. Fourth, I would have liked some depth in the upgrades to your towers, considering you can’t change them.
Just like us when we were students, promise does not always translate into something more. However, unlike real life, which is not held together by strings of code and graphic designers, I believe that with a significant update, Ivory Tower Defenders can become the tower defense game it should be.
appSIZED rating: 3 out of 5 [I’m tempted to give this game a C instead]
App: Ivory Tower Defenders
Download: Ivory Tower Defenders
Device: Universal (for iPhone and iPad)
Copy: Provided by the Developer
Developer/Publisher: Slow Life Games