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Army of Darkness: Defense

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Dead good

Product: Army of Darkness: Defense | Developer: Backflip Studios | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Arcade, Film/ TV tie- in, Strategy | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.0
Army of Darkness: Defense iPhone, thumbnail 1
It might sound like a rather strange summation, but Army of Darkness: Defense arguably has more of a feel of the First World War than it does the Evil Dead franchise.

Yes, the 'deadites' are here – in rather large number, in fact – and Backflip has ensured that there are enough humourous touches to guarantee it makes the best of its franchise.

But when it comes to the actual gameplay, Army of Darkness: Defense's barrage of battles all take place on one, solitary battlefield.

Like the muddy stalemate that gripped Europe almost 100 years ago, there's a distinct feeling of pushing back and forth over the same patch.

Two-tiered battle

Thankfully, that doesn't matter. This light take on castle defence is so enjoyable that you won't notice the lack of backdrop variety.

Unlocking various troops as you go, the idea is to fight off the masses of undead before they have a chance to take down your fortress. Surviving long enough to take down your foe is your ultimate goal, which gives the game a structure that's broadly in line with the genre as a whole.

Indeed, there's much about Army of Darkness: Defense that mirrors the sublime Paladog.

As in Fazecat's fighter, the game hands you the responsibility of both generating individual troops - Archers, Swordsmen, Mages, and special one-off characters – and taking charge of the game's lead, Ash, as he wields his gun and fires upon his foe.

Control is simple enough. Touching the screen results in Ash wandering towards your finger, though you need to be wary of him straying to close to the enemy as his army (hopefully) holds the line.

War of attrition

But Army of Darkness: Defense isn't about one single encounter. Though all the battles take place on the same map, it'd be unfair to suggest they all play out in the same way.

The key to defeating the varied bunch of enemies is to use the points you amass in each round (or, if you'd rather get ahead of the game, the credit you pick up via in-app purchases) to upgrade everything from each unit's ability to the bonus moves on offer.

Indeed, as is the genre's staple, upgrading is the lifeblood of Army of Darkness: Defense.

As soon as the levels start to feel comfortable, so the enemies begin to arrive in hordes, mount horses, or arm themselves with battering rams. In short, you're constantly kept on your toes and the need to upgrade – both in between levels, and during play itself – is ever present.

Light touch

However, while all that will be familiar to anyone who has taken on a castle defence game before, where Army of Darkness: Defense differs is in its somewhat looser take on strategy.

While it wouldn't be true to suggest you can simply stroll into each level blind, creating units willy nilly, it's fair to say that in the majority of cases even the most desperate of situations can be retrieved at the last minute.

This doesn't mean Army of Darkness: Defense is, in any way, a bad game. Indeed, aside from being great for newcomers, the short and sharp nature of each stage makes the package as the whole hard to put down.

It does mean those who have honed their skills on other releases may find Backflip's brand of battle rather easy to manage, however, but there's no escaping the sheer sense of fun that is woven into Army of Darkness: Defense throughout.

Like the franchise behind it, Backflip has found the sweet spot between light and dark, delivering the kind of battle where a sense of deja vu is welcome.
Army of Darkness: Defense
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 18 May 2011
Though not as deep as many of its rivals, Army of Darkness: Defense makes sheer playability its focus and serves up an addictive castle defence battler
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