Defender is one of a myriad of castle defence games where you have to protect your stronghold from a horde of advancing enemies. In this game, the enemies consist of monsters that attack in waves while your only means of repelling them is your bow and an arsenal of magic spells. Kill all the foes and you are given a brief respite where you can upgrade your weapons, magic and defences before its back into battle. Once your castle walls crumble, it is game over however.
There are so many castle defence type games available that it really takes something special to stand out from the crowd. Defender is free to play which is obviously a big plus but comes with a build-in app store where real money can be spent on coin and crystal. Coins allow you to upgrade your strength, agility and defences, while crystals are needed to level up your magic spells and mana. Both of these resources can be earned from completing levels so spending real cash is best left for those with more money than time.
The game is quite fast paced, but can be very frustrating initially as you start off very weak. Once your speed and strength has been upgraded and your spells are more powerful the game becomes a lot better. Your lone archer fires in the direction where you tap the screen while holding down your fire will keep a constant stream of arrows coming. It can be tricky to shoot monsters towards the edges of the screen, but overall the controls work fine. Spells are cast by dragging and dropping them onto the enemies, which is a breeze to pull off. You have three main spells that covers fire, ice and lightening and each have their own advantages. Enemies have health bars so do not expect to dispose of them with one shot until your levels are much higher.
A bit more enemy variety would have been a welcome addition as after a few levels you will have seen pretty much everything that the game has to throw at you. There is a boss battle every ten levels, but even these do become repetitive. Since there appears to be no limit to the levels and the background never changes this is definitely a title that becomes somewhat boring after extended playtime. The cash and crystals earned from killing monsters will keep your upgrades going, but you will eventually reach a maximum level for these at which point the game can start to feel a bit aimless.
Defender does feature some decent detailed visuals and, although the enemy variety is lacking, their designs are very nice. Everything from pink club wielding monsters to brown, spiky eyeball creatures will storm your castle walls and some even have the ability to lob fireballs at you from afar making them a priority. The action is complimented nicely by some great sound effects. The music is nothing to write home about, but gets the job done.
I had fun playing Defender but never had the urge to spend any real cash on it. I also doubt if I will ever go back to it, considering how far I got. It is one of those games that are fun at first, but the longer you play it the more repetitive it becomes. At least it is free so be sure to check it out and decide for yourself.
*Review originally published 2012.