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Steampunk Tower

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Something old, something new

Product: Steampunk Tower | Developer: DreamGate Studios | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Tower defence | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Steampunk Tower iPhone, thumbnail 1
It's easy to see why the steampunk aesthetic is so appealing to a subset of sci-fi fans.

Futuristic stuff is cool and all, but it's all sleek surfaces and arcane gizmos. In the fictional future, it seems, technology won't show its workings.

Which is kind of boring to the mechanically minded. Far cooler to have your towering bipedal war machine belching steam and rivets.

That's the premise for Steampunk Tower, a tower defence game that does things a little differently.

Steaming ahead

It's not just the alternative-reality 19th century setting that marks Steampunk Tower out from the likes of Fieldrunners and the rest. It's also its very approach to tower defence.

Here you're quite literally defending a tower, rather than using multiple towers to defend a vague exit point. As such, it's closer to castle defence (which we haven't seen too much of recently) than to tower defence as we know it.

As each round starts on this bleak, war-scorched territory you'll find your steam-powered tower placed right in the middle of the screen. It's up to you to build and place defensive gun turrets on each of the slots facing to the left and right of the tower.

New turret technology steadily drips through, starting with straight-up machine guns and cannons and moving on to more exotic fare like saw-throwers and tesla guns.

In turn, each tower can be improved by investing in upgrades in between rounds. These upgrades can introduce new unique characteristics (such as incendiaries bullets) or just bolster their core abilities.

Towering inferno

Once you've been thrown into battle, though, each scrap takes a rather familiar shape, with the same repetitive scenery. Waves of enemy units converge on your location.

You must build up your defences with a familiar balanced approach - typically one of each tower type on either side - and upgrade as you accrue money.

To be fair, there are a couple of twists that keep the gameplay interesting. Aside from some fun direct-use special weapons, these twists are mainly centred around the mechanics of your tower itself.

Your guns run out of ammo, and take time to reload. You can speed this process up by dragging them into the central core for a time.

Of course, this takes your towers out of the firing line for a while, and also blocks up the core - you need to drag turrets to the bottom in order to upgrade them. In this way you can switch your towers around strategically to, for example, repel a particularly strong aerial attack on one side.

It's worth noting that this core-management system plays out better on iPad. On iPhone, it's all just too small and fiddly, with frequently misplaced or just plain unresponsive towers.

Appropriately enough, Steampunk Tower is a mixture of forward-thinking innovation and old-fashioned, somewhat clunky mechanics. Through all of it, though, it's just different and fun enough to appeal to bored tower defence fans searching for their next hit.
Steampunk Tower
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 16 October 2013
An interesting amalgam of tower defence and castle defence, Steampunk Tower seizes up a little with its monotonous mechanics
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