Tweet Defense Review (iPhone)

Game Review: Tweet Defense
Release: March 9, 2010
Genre: Tower Defense
Developer: GrinLock Limited
Available Platforms: iPhone and iPod Touch ver. 3.0 or later
Players: One
MSRP: Introductory price of $0.99
ESRB Rating: 12+

The Story*

“A lethal marketing virus has turned half the world’s population into brain eating zombies. Now they are after you and your friends’ brains!

All you have on hand are every day items and an internet connection. Reach out to your Twitter friends to help you build defense towers out of every day items. Stop the zombies from penetrating your home base and eating your grey matter!

With your friends manning the towers and your brilliant battle strategies the zombies don’t stand a chance … or do they?”

*(taken from the game’s description on iTunes)

To be honest, when I first heard about Tweet Defense I thought it was going to be a new game on Twitter; something similar to the Assassin’s Creed Twitter Experience. It wasn’t until the game actually released that I realized I was completely wrong.

Tweet Defense is just another addition to the crowded tower defense genre. I like the genre, but there are so many that still use just the original concept; top down game play with waves of enemies that travel a linear path to an exit. Place towers along the path and stop them from reaching that exit. Tweet Defense is no exception.

From the start, you’ll want to sign into Twitter. This will give you multiple bonuses for your towers. The amount of friends, followers, and number of tweets will give you a boost in your rate of fire, range, and damage respectively. Following the daily booster will allow you to buy the booster tower at a cheaper cost in game and will also receive an additional range boost. Get used to this because you’ll be signing in every time you start the game as these added boosts do help.

Now for the core tower defense game play. Ten maps are available with three difficulty settings. You aren’t really presented with a challenge on any difficulty until maps 7 to 10 though. From 1 to 6 the paths that the enemy takes are narrow and long so with a good setup, it shouldn’t be a problem. 7 to 10 are more open and require good planning. These levels will require you to use your towers to make a path for the zombies giving you more time to shoot them on the path you make.

Gameplay consists of zombies entering from one side of the map and exiting on the other. Paths are set for these zombies to travel on. You must set up towers along this path and destroy the zombies before they reach the exit. Each tower is different and costs resource points. Killing a zombie will grant you 15 points each. Each tower is self explanatory. You can use Nail guns, Catapults, Flame Throwers, Gloop Towers, Electric Towers, and Boost towers. Each cost 50, 150, 200, 500, and 1000 respectively with the boost tower depending on your twitter options. As for zombies, there are Sneakies which are slow zombies, Blubberbies which are tough zombies and require a lot of fire power, Mombies which spawn Zuppies when close to death and freakies which are slow, but require a bit of firepower. When you exit the game, the game will automatically save so you can continue from where you left off.

With gameplay out of the way, there are some great things with this game. Visually the game looks great. Whether you are playing at the default zoom level or zoomed in close. Everything is smooth and no jagged edges. Zombies are rendered great. When killed, they fall backwards in a fountain of blood. The towers are built from items commonly found outside of a house. With the later levels you will be setting up a lot of towers. With the amount of towers and zombies on screen, there is no visible lag. Very impressed by that. Another great feature is the auto save function; when you want to quit, the game will auto save allowing you to continue with your round and map.

The music is very repetitive but you have the option of using your own music too. The zombies sound like you’d expect but when you have a lot on the screen all dying at once with every tower firing, it is annoying and will have you muting the game.

While the game looks great, I noticed quite a few faults worth mentioning. There is supposed to be an update released but I don’t know what fixes it will include. First thing I noticed was the pace of the game play. It feels boring. Compared to most of the new tower defense games I play, they require more interaction than just placing a tower and waiting. More often than not, you will have a strong set up and will just be watching the zombies die. Depending on your settings, the screen may dim or go to sleep. Second, at times it can be hard to place a tower exactly where you want it as your thumb is in the way. This isn’t so much a game fault, but a hardware fault. With a tile set or grid I feel it could have helped with location. Also, when trying to upgrade towers near the edge of the screen, it is almost impossible to do. Third, the game doesn’t save your Twitter information. I can see why this was left out because in order to get the booster tower bonus, you must follow the person on Twitter. This can easily be done in game with a simple button, but by giving the option to save the info and follow this person automatically would have greatly improved this Twitter functionality. As I mentioned before, even with 3 difficulty settings, the game isn’t really difficult until map 7-10. There are no boss battles either. This would of made it much more of a challenge and rewarding when defeating a boss.

My Final Thoughts:
As a tower defense game, Tweet Defense is fine. It has everything you’d expect – varied waves of enemies, various towers, upgrades, and multiple unique levels. I have one problem though; it’s the same experience as any other tower defense game. Sure, you can use twitter to put a bonus on your tower, but it doesn’t provide anything new to the genre. Games like Plants vs Zombies, Fieldrunners, Defender Chronicles (2D tower defense), and geoDefense Swarm that are available on the iPhone provide a unique experience. The twitter option is neat, but just feels tacked on. If you are a fan of the tower defense genre, you won’t be disappointed. If you are looking for a tower defense game with a new take on the genre, you’ll be for the most part, disappointed. While the game is at $0.99 I recommend buying it, but when the price increases, the choice is up to you.

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