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Castle Defense HD

For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Money can't buy you love

Product: Castle Defense HD | Developer: Zero Workroom | Publisher: Zero Workroom | Format: iPhone | Genre: Tower defence | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1
Castle Defense HD iPhone, thumbnail 1
Castle Defense HD would like you to think it was loosely-based around the Romance of the Three Kingdoms - the Chinese Epic story of war, betrayal, and everything in-between - but it’s not really.

Because, peel back the layers of woefully translated story-telling and cartoony Chinese troops and you’ll arrive at a game with more links to the fight between plants and zombies than between Han Ling-ti and Zhang Jiao.

While it isn’t a terrible title, Castle Defense HD’s brazen cloning and obnoxious money-making scheming conspire to make it hard to recommend.

Will be dead

I would normally take this time out in a review to describe the story, but as Castle Defense HD’s still-frame cut-scenes appear to be translated through babel fish and slapped directly onto the screen, I won’t bother.

It may be a confused mess when it comes to narrative, but there are some unintentionally brilliant bits of garbled English to enjoy, such as the description for the lightning bolt power - ‘The enemy will dead immediately...the skill is terrorist.’

There’s no real need to understand all this, though, if you’ve played Plants vs Zombies or any of its other admirers, as the objective is the same - build up a defence so that rows of enemies don’t make it to the left-hand side of the screen.


Every one of the Plants vs Zombies arsenal is replicated here, albeit without any form of humour or wit. So Peashooters are now Archers, while Sunflowers are now peasants that produce bread.

Everyone moves along in a sort of slow-motion jog, there’s no way of knowing how wounded anyone is (or, indeed, how hard the enemy is in the first place without trial and error), and the whole thing feels a little like a disappointing copy of something better.

There is, however, the ability to use magic, gathered by tapping blue flames that occasionally waft in from the top of the screen, which is new to the formula.

These one-hit kill special attacks take a long time to reload, but are vital for progression through the game.

Shopping for trouble

That’s because there is one major difference between this and other Plants vs Zombies clones - it has a shop.

Not in the sense of a virtual shop where you purchase troops with bread/sun, but an actual, real-money shop where you buy ‘reinforcement’ units individually to make levels easier.

It feels like a cynical, cash-grabbing move - far more than IAPs normally manage - because of both the upfront price for the game and a steep-as-hell difficulty curve that ratchets up almost immediately after starting.

There's the chance that you’ll bundle through the levels on offer without having to resort to reinforcements, but it's hard to shake the feeling that the developer has done its utmost to make the game hard for all the wrong reasons.

As a result, it makes an unoriginal game into an unpalatable one.
Castle Defense HD
Reviewer photo
Will Wilson | 3 May 2011
Lacking in originality or craft, Castle Defense HD feels like a cheap cash-in of Plants vs Zombies, only without the cheap price tag
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