Thursday, February 25, 2010

Game Review: Bubble Tanks Tower Defense

One of my favorite game genres is tower defense. Why? This is why.

So it comes naturally that I'd like Bubble Tanks Tower Defense, even though it doesn't involve actual tanks and the graphics are all just bubbles.

My biggest complaint about the game, in fact, is the mere fact that the graphics and sound effects never go beyond what you would expect from a game full of bubbles. A stupid complaint for a game called "Bubble Tanks Tower Defense," but a complaint nonetheless-because the gameplay is really fun (if you like tower defense games).

It's a lot like most tower defense games, really-it's just that everything involves bubbles.

Everything, that is, but the shadowy and mysteriously abstract walls.

What gets me about the walls is that the game's equivalent to air units, ghosts, go right over them just like they go right over the turrets. Yet they still need to go around the border walls.

Whatever. That's not important.

Interesting gameplay aspect number one-the upgrade tree.

Most such games have lots of upgrade tree stuff. However, I've never seen a game with quite so elaborate an upgrade tree. It probably helps that the most basic tower is the only one you can use without the upgrade tree, of course. That single humble tower must evolve into everything you use in the game.

Including the "mega" towers.

Once you have four towers clustered together in a square that have reached the tops of their respective upgrade trees, you can buy an upgrade to combine them into a single, massive tower. And unless I'm misremembering, it's even possible to merge four big towers into an absurdly huge one. Of course, the big towers aren't especially practical because of their cost, and I've never even built one of the gargantuan ones outside of this massively cheaty thing here.

(The telltale that indicates I'm cheating, by the way, is the little smiley. See it?)

The other interesting gameplay aspects are the enemies. Most tower defense games have pretty generic enemies-just average guys, fast guys, slow and tough guys, and flying enemies. (I hate flying enemies with a passion. I hates them!) But this game also has "splitters" (they become hordes of little guys when hit-I don't like them much, but they're variety and that's good) and "spawners" (who create bubbles that turn into replicas of themselves, though the replicas don't create bubbles themselves-I like these because they're fairly easy targets, though they'd be a pain if the spawn spawned more spawn).

The main thing missing from gameplay are blocks, that is to say, little structures to fill in gaps between the unwieldily large towers, but I can't complain too much.

Like any tower game, enemies come in waves, and you can get more points by getting the computer to speed the waves up. In order to maximize your defenses, you need to arrange them in a certain way to increase the area the "ground" units must travel over.

This is a good start, and is fairly typical of what you can do at the beginning. However, in order to maximize the effectiveness of this particular setup, I had to sell a few towers and rearrange them a bit.

If there are enough waves and you're getting enough bubbles, you'll be able to upgrade the quality of your defenses considerably, which in this game means huge towers like this one.

I often get impatient with this particular game and have the computer flood me with waves in an effort to get done sooner. This is often a bad idea...

But I'm not too worried. I managed not only to set up a winding path for the normal enemies to follow, but those green turrets at the center of the screen are anti-air... er, ghost... towers, and their central placement means the ghosts, beelining for the gate I'm defending, will go right over them. Ghosts are liable, by the way, to end most of your games, as air units are liable to end most tower defense games that feature them.

See? Won that one.

-Signing off.

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