Fantasy Kingdom Defense is a decent, by the numbers game of tower defense
Fantasy. Kingdom. Defense. At least one of those words sometimes helps you figure out what you’re getting in to. When you lay them out in that order and present the sum as the title for a game, there’s no good way to make it sound exciting. It’s kinda like naming something “Sci-Fi Adventure Shoot”. If you see the title and happen to think that it is some sort of sword and sorcery tower defense game, you’re pretty spot-on. What this game lacks in creative vision though, it makes up for with a competent, straight-forward tower defense game.
Fantasy Kingdom Defense is as tower-defensy as tower defense games get. You are defending your castle against waves of creatures by strategically placing sword-swinging knights, arrow-flinging elves and spell-casting wizards along the pre-determined path between the creatures’ portal and your castle gate. You are given a starting allowance at the beginning of a level and gain gold as you slay the advancing creatures. Your units can be upgraded twice or sold for half their value. Nothing fancy going on here.
The bare bones approach this game takes is one of its strengths. By not trying to do too much they don’t let themselves get bogged down in unnecessary details, tricks or strategies. What you learn in the first few levels applies throughout the rest of the 21 levels. The game boasts simple but charming graphics and runs like a dream. My almost two year-old Motorola Droid handled everything the game threw at it with ease. If you get tired of the campaign there’s also a survival mode where you set up shop and try to last as long as you can. In-game achievements are there for the taking, as well as an in-app shop to purchase spells, units and such with manually-earned currency or real money.
Beyond one nagging control issue where moving around the board was a bit cumbersome, my biggest complaint lies in the way developer Tequila Planet chose to handle one of the available microtransactions.
Every time you finish a level, you’re asked if you want to submit your score to an online leaderboards for a chance to win real money. Submitting your score costs $0.99, and the one time I tried to do this the entire game froze up without completing the transaction. Needless to say I was none too convinced to try again. Of course you can decline this only to be asked if you want to share your score on Facebook. I wouldn’t be bothered if the game only asked once, but it asks every time you finish a level.
When Fantasy Kingdom Defense is trying to simply be a game and not a microtransaction delivery program, it works well enough to distract you for short periods of time. With three difficulty levels you’ll have plenty of challenge as more often than not the “easy” mode gave me a good amount of trouble. There’s a plethora of tower defense games available on the Android Market, and while some are definitely better games, you can’t really go too wrong choosing this free-to-play option.