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For: iPad

(Stratos)fear of being on your own

Product: Stratosphere: Multiplayer Defense | Developer: Pixile Studios | Publisher: Pixile Studios | Format: iPad | Genre: Tower defence | Players: 1 | Networking: on one device | Version: Europe
Stratosphere: Multiplayer Defense iPad, thumbnail 1
Tower defence games seem to be loved and loathed in equal measure, and that's certainly going to be the case with Stratosphere. While it does have an exciting box of new ideas, it's still a tower defence game, and that may be enough to put a lot of people off.

Don't let yourself be one of them, because there's an awful lot here to enjoy. There are some problems, but the same-device multiplayer core of the game is good enough that almost anyone is going to be able to enjoy it.

Lane control

While most tower defence variants have you controlling either the positioning of the towers or the stream of attackers, Stratosphere places you in control of both. And all the while you're facing off across a symmetrical map against a foe in control of their own offence and defence.

You start off with a small budget of a few gold coins, which you can spend on simple defensive options and weaker soldiers. As you send out more attackers, though, your cash flow increases, earning you money to spend on better weapons and more resilient attackers.

Balancing your budget is key, as you only have ten lives before your opponent wins. There's no point saving cash to splurge on powerful soldiers if you're going to be overrun in a few rounds because your towers are underpowered.

Each victory earns you XP and blue coins that you need to spend to unlock new levels and different game types, as well as new outfits for some of the characters in the game. There are three races to choose from, each with its own look and distinctive strengths and weaknesses.

Lonely hearts

The single-player mode is reasonably entertaining, but it's when you're playing against a friend that the game really comes alive. Now you're quite literally facing off across your iPad, and while the AI is sometimes challenging it's got nothing compared to the fiendish machinations of a human player.

There are some odd decisions, like the way the game only has a single level unlocked to start with, meaning you need to play a decent number of games to unlock new ones, but there's still a lot of fun to be had in actually staring down your opponent.

If you're looking for a new single-player tower defence game then you might be better off looking elsewhere, but if you're interested in a two-player game with a bit of bite, Stratosphere could be just what you need.
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 8 February 2013
While Stratosphere lacks a little in the single-player department, multiplayer bouts reveal how tense and exciting this game can be
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