Invasions are the spice of life

I know what you’re thinking, yet another tower-defense game. And as much I’d love to report that Spice Invaders (you’ve got to love that homage) brings something new and innovative to the table, the truth is, the game is as old-school as it gets. That being said, publisher Chillingo has filled the package with some great features not often seen in iOS TD games, which help to give legs to this particular adventure.

Though the premise of Spice Invaders is cute, based upon the notion you’re participating in an alien invasion of earth, the story elements are actually quite sparse. Not to worry, though, as the game does a great job walking players through the basics, introducing new mechanics at a nice, even pace.

The game is broken up into individual missions which can be played repeatedly. You’ll earn money and spice (the key element of the story, of course) to be spent on unlocking new towers and abilities. The RPG approach to the gameplay means in-app purchases are, for the most part, optional. Missions start out fairly easy, but the difficulty curve does ramp up fairly quickly. The level of challenge never felt cheap, however, and some minor grinding, along with sound strategy, is usually enough to win the day.

Spice Invaders is a throwback to the types of early TD games you’d commonly find as custom maps in Warcraft III. Towers range from machine-gun fire and missiles, to tesla coils and poison. Like Field Runners, you’ll also be using your towers to create walls and corral enemy units along a specific path.

The power-ups in Spice Invaders are perhaps the highlight of the entire game. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as throwing a disco ball onto the field and watching the baddie humans dance out of control. Banter from your tower units keep the gameplay fun and lighthearted, and the missions make for a nice slice of gaming on the game.

Spice Invaders

Where Spice Invaders truly proves its mettle, however, is in its multiplayer features. You can go head-to-head with players online in various combinations of group settings, or gang up together against the game’s A.I. All of the maps you unlock in the single-player game become available for online play, and the breadth of content is robust.

Visually, the presentation is attractive, offering a lush overworld and easy-to-navigate menus. There’s ample variety in terms of gameplay levels, but the tower models are a bit ho-hum. On the flipside, the game’s mech-like enemy units are pretty darn cool to look at, and there are some neat effects that add a bit of excitement to missions. The music is fitting, though the sound effects are a tad lackluster.

Spice Invaders is built upon a fairly weather-worn formula. TD games on iOS need to be extra competitive in order to win new fans, and in terms of core gameplay, Spice Invaders certainly isn’t pushing any boundaries. It does, however, incorporate some great multiplayer features we rarely see on the platform, and the free-to-play model is a fair compromise. If you haven’t yet overdosed on defending your bases from automated hordes, Spice Invaders is well worth checking out.