Wandarin Interactive is quick to defend its first born from being slapped around with the tower defence label, and rightly so.
Tower defence games are generally associated with slow-paced action and micro-management clichés that involve long thought processes and careful execution.
4Fukushima, however, couldn’t be further from such tropes.
"There is no game similar to this," Marton Szabo, CTO and lead developer at Wandarin Interactive, tells us. "I could compare it to the tower defense games, but the philosophy is quite different."
4Fukushima is devoid of the complex management system that could deter newcomers, instead delivering something catered to the short bursts of gaming action the developer expects from iPhone gamers.
You’re charged with protecting earth’s power plants from invading alien robots by managing the pylons that surround these generation stations.
Tapping these pylons creates lasers that form an alien-destroying wall around the perimeter, which in turn uses up the plant’s remaining power. Kepp your defences up too long, therefore, and you’ll run out of energy, leaving yourself vulnerable to the invader onslaught.
It’s this unique twist on an oversubscribed genre that Szabo strived for in the studio's maiden project.
"It is our first baby. So, we had to learn everything from scratch," he says. "I don’t mean software development but the platform, the limitations, the submission, and release process."
"We also had to redesign the game many times because we were looking for the most perfect setting and challenge."
In this pursuit of perfection, Wandarin Interactive has sought to continually fine-tune the 4Fukushima experience. The game's recent 2.0 update doesn’t just tweak the game’s mechanics, but it also adds a treasure-trove of new features.
"We reorganised the campaign, we added more gameplay options. Survival modes and high scores were also introduced," Szabo notes.
"So, now on every level the player meets something new, it is always changing a bit. Worlds are coming in rotations while the difficulty is increasing, more and more smarter enemies are coming, and on each campaign world (we have three at the moment) a new weapon is added.
"During the Campaign mode, the standalone Survival levels are unlocked. Thanks to the ranking system and to the high scores, it can be a challenge forever."
After witnessing the fallout from the devastating earthquake in Japan earlier this year, Wandarin Interactive looked at the potential of its project and decided to give something back.
That’s why a percentage of the game’s profits will go towards supporting those unfortunate people whose homes were razed by the tsunami.
"We started to develop the game not long before the Fukushima disaster," Szabo explains. "I read an article that people are donating a lot and thought, 'why can’t we do something like this?'"
"An iPhone game can reach millions, so it could be an easy way to gather money, and it doesn’t cost a lot, and you still get something for your money. So, after that, we created the game with this in mind. That’s why we named it 4Fukushima."
The next level
Following the recently issued 2.0 upgrade, Szabo has his sights set on improving 4Fukushima even further.
"I am proud of the whole game as it is, and it will become much better. Version 2.0 is just out. After that, we will work on Game Center integration, and the next step will be the iPad version for multiplayer gaming.
"You will be able to play on one single iPad against your friends. We will introduce more Campaign worlds, more enemies later. We have so many ideas that it gives us work for another year or two. It’s a never-ending story."
And as for other mobile platforms, Szabo tells us it’s just a matter of time before 4Fukushima invades them as well.
"For sure, Android will be the next platform, and hopefully Windows [Phone] will be the third," he says.
4Fukushima for iPhone is available now, priced at 69p / 99c [iTunes link]. A Lite version is also available [iTunes link].
Check out the 4Fukushima gameplay videos below.