The tower defense genre is uniquely suited to smartphones, as you can pack a lot of action onto a small screen so long as you focus on one specific area. Many of the titles around tend towards the zany, too, which again fits well with phone gaming: even a high-res smartphone screen, like the Retina Display on the iPhone 4S, will generally benefit from rather cartoony or quirky graphics, as a more realistic look will often be lost. We take a look at the market and pick the ten best for you.
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1. Plants vs Zombies (£0.69 iTunes download, iPhone running iOS 3.0 or later)
The granddaddy of iPhone tower defence games is well worth owning, if you don’t already have it, especially at that price. PopCap, the developer, is committed to enhancing and upgrading the game regularly, but it already includes a massive amount of content, including 50 levels. The theme is very strong: you’re a gardener, using specially bred zombie-eating plants to stop a vast invading force of zombies from getting into your house and eating your brains. Huge fun.
2. Jelly Defense (£1.99 iTunes download, iPhone 3GS or better, iOS 4.2 or later)
You’re the promised hero of the jelly people, come to save them from evil invaders. The gelid, tentacled inhabitants of the game world would look rather sinister, almost Cthulhoid, were it not for their big smiles, big eyes, and generally cartoon-style looks. It’s the attention to detail, overall, that really makes this game stand out from the crowd: the graphics, the music, and the add-ons like the current Christmas-themed levels, complete with snowscapes. This is probably the most accessible of the tower defence games, too, with a notch-down in the difficulty of the game if you fail to complete a level five times in a row.
3. geoDefense (£1.49 iTunes download, iPhone running iOS 3.0 or later)
If you want pure, clear, Tron-like graphics, a futuristic laser-tastic setting to go with them, and some of the most fiendish gameplay ever seen in a tower defence game, get hold of geoDefense. The only drawback to it is that it could do with a few more levels, but it’s still quite brilliant, and very well-priced.
4. Tiny Heroes (£1.49 iTunes download, iPhone running iOS 4.0 or later)
Another classic from the creator of geoDefense, Tiny Heroes pits you against the aforementioned heroes, who are trying to loot your dungeon. The classic dungeon-bashing fantasy theme is turned on its head here, much as with the hoary PC game Dungeon Keeper. Innovative gameplay and detailed, beautiful graphics combine to make this another must-buy.
5. Tower Defense: Lost Earth (£0.69 iTunes download, iPhone running iOS 4.0 or later)
This has a lovely twist on the alien invasion concept: as with Gears of War, you, and the rest of the Earth people, are the invaders on another planet. A best-seller, and with good reason.
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6. The Creeps (£0.69 iTunes download, iPhone running iOS 3.0 or later)
Fun, well-priced, unusual tower defence game, in which you defend your bedroom from monsters creeping out of your wardrobe. If you love it, there’s a load of extra level packs available (69p a pack, again).
7. Fieldrunners (£1.99 iTunes download, iPhone running iOS 3.0 or later)
It’s a couple of years old, and so the price is perhaps a little high, but if you have an older iPhone then this cartoony, guns-and-tanks take on the tower defence genre is something of a classic.
8. Star Defense (£0.69 iTunes download, iPhone running iOS 2.2.1 or later)
Star Defense is also a few years old, but is a fun, tactical tower defence game with a bit of a Little Big Planet look to it.
9. TapDefense (free iTunes download, iPhone running iOS 4.0 or later)
It’s another oldie-but-goodie, but at least it’s free. Fun but dated game of defending Heaven from invading demons.
10. Crystal Defenders (£5.49 iTunes download, iPhone running iOS 3.0 or later)
It’s hard to really recommend this one, given the price, but if you love Japanese, anime-ish games, particularly Final Fantasy, this is probably the best tower defence game with that theme.
Do you know any other tower defense games then share with us in form of comment below!