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Empire Defense II

For:   Also on: AndroidiPhoneiPad
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Forking out for a hero

Product: Empire Defense II | Developer: GoodTeam | Publisher: GoodTeam | Format: Android | Genre: RPG, Strategy, Tower defence | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | File size: 13MB | Reviewed on: HTC One X other handsets | Version: Europe
 
Empire Defense II Android, thumbnail 1
Apparently, there are teams of Asian developers devoted exclusively to pumping out generic freemium tower defence titles that, while serviceable and sporadically entertaining, are all too concerned with rattling your virtual wallet and seeing what change falls out.

Empire Defense II follows in the tradition of lacklustre titles like Ninja Tower Defence. While its presentation is more refined and welcoming than many, even the most intrepid, highly skilled player won’t be able to complete the game without paying out a sizeable fee.

Eastern promise

Set, unsurprisingly, in Feudal Japan, where there seems to have been little else to do but wage war on anyone in different-coloured armour, GoodTeam pins its by-the-numbers TD action on a serviceable story.

You play as Leo, a preposterously young warrior determined to “fight the evil in the world to death!” (wonky translated text is par for the course here).

After a brief tutorial stage introducing you to the straightforward tap-to-place-unit mechanics, Leo is sent out across three sizeable stages – all boasting numerous distinct battlefields – with mini-narrative for each one.

It might nearly always be about a “really bad guy” who needs to be stopped, but Leo’s gung ho attitude makes you root for the little chap.

Gameplay, meanwhile, sticks to the waves of enemies following a fixed path template. It's your job to simply whittle them down with carefully placed rows of upgradeable warriors.

The only real innovation is the inclusion of a moveable General on horseback (blessed with a magical, ultra powerful, slowly recharging super attack), who can be gradually edged across the map. This lengthens the deadly path baddies have to traverse, as well as opening up new defensive positions.

General concerns

However, unless you’re prepared to pay for a better General than Leo you’ll start to get roundly whipped by the enemy after about an hour. Even by upgrading every unit to maximum strength, not leaving an attack point undefended, and moving Leo as far as possible, it just becomes impossible to win.

While you can earn some currency by taking part in online Arena battles – essentially prolonged offline stages against random opponents (normally at a higher level than you) – or replaying completed stages, coughing up for the costly Crystals that you need to unlock more troop types, weapon upgrades, and different Generals is the only way to win.

This undermines the skill and tactical nous every tower defence game relies on, and means it’s unlikely this empire will get the robust defence it might otherwise have merited.

Android version reviewed
 
Empire Defense II
Reviewer photo
Paul Devlin | 25 July 2012
A polished tower defender that, sadly, values your wallet size over your skills
 
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