There’s no shortage of tower defense games in the App Store, but fans of the genre looking for a light-hearted, kid-friendly TD title that nails the interface and upgrade path on your tablet’s ample screen real estate will love Bloons TD 4 HD. Racing fans looking for a more destructive experience will give Death Rally the checkered flag, while Great Little War Game HD brings a fresh, cartoony approach to turn-based strategy games. Finally, Quietus bring a retro ‘80s Mario-like experience to our tablets, dipped in a thick mixture of dark and dreary dungeon-style graphics.
Bloons TD 4 HD ($6.99)
Monkey see, monkey… pop? Bloons TD 4 HD finally makes its way onto the iPad, and it’s a must-buy for tower defense fans of any age. Your challenge? Place monkey-themed towers onto each play field, and pop all the balloons before they can make it through the circuit. All tower types are clearly visible on the right side of the screen, while upgrade options are perfectly visible across the bottom. You’ll need to upgrade your towers, add new ones at strategic choke-points, and think ahead about which types will work best at various locations. In the early going, the game does an excellent job of unlocking each tower type and giving you a chance to try them out in turn. Once you get beyond level 30, things get a little crazy. You’ll need to use the pause button to get your bearings from time to time, and the last few stages will cover your screen in some downright crazy mayhem.
Death Rally ($4.99)
If you’re in the market for a console-quality racing game that straps some serious firepower onto your racing rigs, Death Rally won’t disappoint. The game opens with a movie-like intro, drops you into your first death race, and never looks back. Winning the races takes second place to seriously messing up your opponents, and with the sheer number of weapons and upgrades available along the way, there’s always a crazy-fun way to unload ordinance during each contest. Put away those shells and banana peels, fellow gamers, it’s time to get serious. Each vehicle you unlock brings new handling characteristics to the table, and the sheer variety of tracks and super-smooth graphics engine add up to a perfect racing experience on your iPad or iPad 2.
Great Little War Game HD ($2.99)
For shooter fans, adjusting to a turn-based war game might take some getting used to, but it’s worth the time. Great Little War Game HD drops your blue soldiers into an enemy landscape, and it’s up to you to move them forward, find the high ground, and attack in turn to wipe out your red foes. Each unit has a radius of movement and attack points to spend in each turn, and you’ll go back and forth over several minutes to see who comes out on top. The lack of an undo button for each move can be frustrating, so be careful before you click in that movement space. With 20 full missions to tackle, ranging from head-on assaults to base capturing, and vehicle support to boot, there’s a massive amount of content to plow through to get to the end of this gem. The graphic engine is clean and crisp, with weather effects adding to the overall experience, and the tap controls make manipulating every aspect of the game easy and clear. Here’s hoping the developers add in the ability to see the attack range of each unit on both sides, plus tanks need to be upgraded to do far more damage to unprotected foot soldiers.
Run a gauntlet in Hell for the devil himself in this decidedly dark, ‘80s retro 8-bit graphics title. If you’re successful, you’ll return to life rich and powerful. Fail, and it’s time to take up permanent residence. After dropping into Hell, you’ll need to swipe across the screen to move your little skeleton across each platform, then swipe up at the proper times to jump. You will die quite a bit before mastering the controls, but it’s worth the effort. The lava pits, dark stone environment, and plethora of waiting treasure chests are just waiting to be explored and opened. The one-touch control scheme is unique, and the developer, Connor Ullmann, is promising a set of additional games with this scheme in place in the coming months. As a retro-gaming fan, I’ll be anxious to see where he takes us in the future.