Title: Medieval Defenders
Developer: 8 Floor Games
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 80 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: No
Tower Defense has been a genre of games growing in popularity over the past 25 years. Ever since Atari launched the first tower defense game back in 1990, the genre has slowly grown and evolved over the years. While it was scarce back then, there are a lot of tower defense games in the works as of now. Even popular franchises like Final Fantasy have jumped on the genre and made spin-offs of their own.
Among fan-made and officially-made games, tower defense is starting to get ever-more-popular on handhelds due to the easy access and the simplistic, yet tactical gameplay of the genre. Not too long ago, I reviewed a defense game for the Vita, in the form of Krinkle Krusher. This didn’t follow the normal defense formula, but provided itself as a challenging defense game, all the same.
Today is the time to dive into the genre, once again. The Vita has gotten other defense games than the one we have reviewed so far. 8 Floor Games, the developers behind the recent game, Doodle Kingdom, has released a proper tower defense game on the Vita this month. Here is my official review of Medieval Defenders!
Medieval Defenders doesn’t really have a storyline attached to it. Basically, you’re the owner of a medieval castle and kingdom, whom is under attack from invaders. Your job is to create and deploy towers and other weapons in order to ward off the invaders and protect your castle. It’s technically a plot setting, but there is no story to the game.
Medieval Defenders is a touch-based tower defense game. As you play through the game, you will be defending your castle by means of erecting and upgrading towers to fight off the invaders on various pieces of land that you own and can pay gold to create new towers. The game goes in stages and doesn’t deviate that much from a standard formula for the genre.
When you go into the game, you will have access to the game’s campaign, which is the only way you can play. There are 2 Chapters to the game, each with 20 stages to play through. There is also an options section as well as a Shop, where you can use in-game currency to upgrade various parts of the game, like damage certain towers do to how much things cost to tower range.
When you play through stages, you will have cast, roads, plots of land, and spawn points, where enemy waves will spawn to attack you. In each wave, there will be numbers of enemies marching up the roads, aiming to attack and destroy your castle. Your goal is to create various types of towers in your plots of land to be able to fight off and defeat as many enemies as possible, so your castle doesn’t fall by the time the final wave runs through the stage.
Managing the towers is the biggest aspect of the game. Placing towers and upgrading towers costs Gold. You will have a certain amount of gold when you start each stage. To get more, though, you have to defeat enemies or place towers that mine gold from the ground. Let’s say you start a stage with 50 gold. You have enough to place a cannon tower and cannot do anything else until that cannon defeats enough enemies so that you can afford to do more. As you play through the game, you will unlock several different types of towers as well as spells you can cast and recharge to ward off your enemies.
Because of the gold restrictions, there is a lot of strategy to going through the stages, especially towards the latter parts of the game. You cannot only place cannons and cannot only place cross-bows. Some towers are more effective against certain enemies and some can hit ground-based enemies but not flying enemies. Some stages will require you to experiment around with placement, types, and more until you get the right flow and combination.
The difficulty of the game is there and will test your wit, but it’s not overly difficult. Krinkle Krusher, for example, was hard from the get-go. Medieval Defenders, however, remains more of a casual game and has a much more forgiving difficulty. By the end of the game will be difficult, but it won’t make you rip your hair out.
The big thing people will not enjoy about Medieval Defenders is how much it pressures you to utilize Micro-Transactions. When you finish each stage for the first time, you will be awarded with Elixirs. These Elixirs can be used for upgrades as well as reviving your castle if you are failing a mission, buying exclusive land plots, or making new purchases when you don’t have enough gold. The game will constantly ask you to go to PSN to buy more gold and Elixir with real money. You don’t need to do this in order to beat the game, but it’s something that will pop up a lot.
All in all, Medieval Defenders isn’t an incredibly long game. Each stage should only take you a couple minutes to finish. If you never have to retry the stages, you can beat the game in a couple hours. However, given the difficulty of the game, it is more realistic to say that the game’s stages will take you more 3 hours. It’s still not a very long game, but has some enjoyment for the tower defense fan.
The controls for Medieval Defenders is a bit thing that Vita players may not like. The game has no button controls at all. From start to finish, you will be controlling the game, using nothing but the touch screen, just like the Mobile version of the game. From the menus to combat, you will be tapping on various parts of the screen to do everything.
The biggest problem with this is that the controls don’t always work the way they’re supposed be. I found many situations where I would tap a section of the screen and a tower a good bit to the left or right to where I tapped would activate as if I selected it and not an open area. This is something that happens very frequently. The game still does the other control you’re doing, but it’s frustrating to try to do a spell and have upgrade screens coming up at the same time.
The visual presentation of Medieval Defenders is one thing in the game that works really well. The 2D visuals of the game look crisp and smooth on the PS Vita’s screen and it shows off the genre really well. There’s nothing overly fantastic about the visual presentation, but for what it is, it’s nicely done.
The load times also are done well in the game. Loading each stage doesn’t normally take more than 3-5 seconds and there is little to no lag in the game at all.
Medieval Defenders is a basic Mobile-to-Vita transition. On the downside, the game pressures you with micro-transactions, there are no button controls, some of the touch controls don’t work as well as they should, and the game only lasts a few hours. Past this is a decent game for the tower defense fanatic to waste some time with.