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DSi  header logo

Army Defender

For: DSi

Charge of the Light Brigade

Product: Army Defender | Publisher: Mindscape | Developer: Kaolink | Format: DSi | Genre: Arcade, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Army Defender DSi, thumbnail 1
By definition, a castle defence game is static.

That's why castles went out of fashion. By the time gunpowder had been invented, anything that didn't move was going to get blasted by large numbers of lead balls.

To that extent then, as with so many game genres, with castle defence you're managing the process of inevitable defeat. As you get better defences, so the attacking waves become larger and more powerful. Eventually you're overwhelmed.

This is the case with Army Defender, which quickly ramps up the number of enemies you have to deal with, although it doesn't compensate you in terms of new super weapons. You start off with a good selection, however.

Battle lines

Holding the DSi as a book - either left or right handed - you use your stylus in a fairly loose way to aim your gun turret, which is located atop the wall you're defending. It automatically fires a volley of shots as your stylus touches the screen.

Waves of enemies, starting with ground troops, and scaling up to vehicles, tanks, helicopters, jets, parachutists and jetpack soldiers attack across the dual-screen. There's always the slightly annoying gap where they disappear between the two screens, but this isn't a game about accuracy. You're just hosing down general areas with your firepower.

This is regularly upgraded by a resupply plane which - assuming you don't shoot it down by mistake - will drop off power ups such as flamethrower, homing missiles and bouncing grenades. These are time limited but basically enable you to destroy everything on the screen.

A similar, if more violent, approach can be triggered using your atomic bomb. This is work on a 'fury' meter system, which slowly fills up as you shoot the incoming waves. It flashes when you can use it, and then fries everything.

If you make it to the end of a wave with your wall intact, you'll be rewarded with an airstrike that signals your victory in that particular encounter, if not the entire war. So far, so normal.

Colour coded

The one twist with Army Defender is its use of colour. All the attackers are either green or red, and in Normal mode you can only shoot each colour of troops if your turret is also in that mode. You switch colours either by tapping the turret or pressing any of the DSi's buttons.

It's no design masterstroke, of course, having been a staple in shoot-'em-ups over the years, but it does bring extra frantic tapping into play as you flick between red and green depending on their enemy density.

Combined with the usual prioritisation of the most powerful opponents, Army Defender is good for bite-sized chunks of playtime.

It has absolutely no depth, though. Other than the option to be a beginner or an expert, you're just trying to beat your own high score. The main method is to build up your rolling killing count without missing to create combos, but this goes against its arcade style somewhat.

To that extent, Army Defender comes across as My First Castle Defence game, which, considering its position on DSi, it may well be.

But with colourful, quick, and easy to pick-up-and-play, it ticks most of the boxes expected of the genre and its 200 Nintendo Points price.
Army Defender
Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan | 26 November 2009
A cute if unsophisticated castle defence game, Army Defender is fun to play but doesn't offer much of a challenge.
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