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300 Dwarves

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad, Steam

Midget gem

Product: 300 Dwarves | Developer: Nimbi Studios | Publisher: Forest Moon Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Strategy, Tower defence | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1
300 Dwarves iPhone, thumbnail 1
If you're going to make a tower defence game for an iOS device, then you need to make sure it's really, really good. New ideas would be nice too, but you're going to need to make sure the base you build them on is as solid as it possibly can be.

So, while 300 Dwarves isn't revolutionary, the fact that its basic mechanics are stout and immovable, much like the bearded fantasy characters that make up the inhabitants of your towers, makes it a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

There's no real step forward, but this is a package that's thick and weighty, with enough content to keep all but the angriest opponent of tower defence games occupied for a good while.

Mead for speed

As you might imagine, you play the 300 dwarves of the title, defending your kingdom from the unwelcome attention of a horde of rampaging goblins. The five towers you start the first level with are the five you're going to be using throughout the game.

There's your basic mid-range defensive tower that contains disgruntled dwarves who chuck out axes and flagons of mead, rune-beaters who slow down your opponents, fires that spew out fire, snipers who deal long range damage at a slow rate, and cannons that can do massive damage but not very often.

As you complete levels you earn treasures. These can be used to upgrade your towers, or strengthen one of the three special moves you have at your disposal - an artillery barrage, a dwarf's horn that inspires your fighters, and a magic rune that slows down your enemy's advance.

The stages you fight through are tightly packed, and there's rarely any chance to catch your breath between waves. You can build up your towers on the fly, spending the coins you get for killing enemies on upping your own offensive capabilities.

Beard brothers

It's that tension that suppliesĀ 300 Dwarves's only contribution to the tower defence formula, but it works surprisingly well, turning what can often be a quite staid genre into something altogether more frantic.

You only have a set number of places where you can build in each level, so making sure your defences are well-balanced can be key to victory. Learning when to use your special powers, which can turn the tide of a scrap, is vital as well.

The backdrops to your skirmishes are varied enough that you never get bored, and the game gradually introduces new unit types to make sure you're always on your toes.

A smooth difficulty curve means finishing levels is reasonably easy, but finishing them well enough to earn the best rewards requires patience, planning, and practice.

Tower of strength

You know what you're getting with 300 Dwarves. It never really surprises you, or sneaks anything new and shocking into its well-built and entertaining levels. But, for most of us, that's fine.

There's a tension here that few other tower defence games can manage, and while the basic gameplay is familiar it acts as an all-important foundation for what quickly turns into an addictive and enjoyable experience.

300 Dwarves isn't the greatest tower defence game ever made, nor is it a new benchmark for others to reach towards. What it is is a brilliantly built, fundamentally entertaining addition to the genre, and that's no bad thing.

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300 Dwarves
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 27 November 2012
While it might not knock your socks off, 300 Dwarves is still a thoroughly entertaining tower defence experience
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