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Jelly Defense

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Wibble squabble

Product: Jelly Defense | Publisher: Infinite Dreams | Format: iPhone | Genre: Tower defence | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.04
Jelly Defense iPhone, thumbnail 1
The tower defence game is growing more prevalent on iOS, but few recent examples – Anomaly Warzone Earth being the most notable exception – have added much to the increasingly staid genre.

Other than looking gorgeous, Jelly Defense doesn't have much to add either. But at first you might wonder if that matters, because this really is an exceptionally pretty game.

Your ‘towers’ are gelatinous alien beasts whose eyes and antennae increase in number as you upgrade them. They look particularly striking against the crisp monochromatic backdrops on each level, with gentle animations bringing them to life.

Jelly vision

The ‘jellies’ - your enemies - bound onscreen with such enthusiasm that you almost feel bad for shooting them down. Larger foes, meanwhile, waddle on with an oddly adorable frown.

Not only does the visual style look beautiful, but it serves the game well with its clarity. The contrasting colours mean there’s no chance you’ll miss any of the action.

Meanwhile, a series of quirky tunes reminiscent of LocoRoco and the Katamari games are the kind of all-too-hummable nonsense that can worm its way into your brain very quickly.

Just desserts

Outside the immaculate presentation, there’s little that’s truly remarkable about Jelly Defense. Enemies come in waves to attack your base, here represented by ten glittering green gems, and it’s up to you to place laser-shooting blobs to stop them.

Aliens come in red or blue varieties – some arrive at a sprint, while hardier foes approach more slowly. Towers will only shoot at jellies of the same colour, so it’s fortunate your main unit in the early stages is a non-discriminatory hybrid.

Most enemies will drop coins when defeated, which you’ll tap to pick up so you can afford to build new towers. The process repeats as you build new units and reinforce existing ones, and the game settles into a familiar rhythm.

Set in its ways

Holding your finger on a unit gives you the opportunity to upgrade or to sell it. The brief wait for a circular meter to fill for either choice initially feels frustrating, but you soon factor it into your tactics.

Later you’ll be able to invent new unit types which are a little more expensive but can help you manage large enemy groups, like a unit that blows purple smoke to slow encroaching invaders.

The game introduces bosses, new enemy types, and units at a steady pace, but after a while – and, in fairness, this is true of many tower defence games – it all begins to feel a little samey.

She don't bruise jelly

This is initially exacerbated by what appears to be a steep learning curve. That is, until you figure out the ideal approach is simply to spawn as many units as possible (upgrades are best reserved for later stages or harder enemies), at which point the challenge levels off.

Still, it’s extremely polished and charming, and there are several hours’ worth of content to exhaust. The occasional power-ups are fun, too – meteor strikes can blitz whole waves while tornadoes scatter jellies far and wide.

Besides, it’s hard to be grumpy at a game whose level select screen sees you rotating a giant cycloptic space hedgehog that whoops with delight at each spin – and then rewards you with an achievement for idly dicking around.

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Jelly Defense
Reviewer photo
Chris Schilling | 7 October 2011
A straightforward tower defence game blessed by beautiful visuals
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