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Review: Kingdom Rush: Frontiers – Towering above the competition

by Wessel Minnie (Sillicur)  Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 1:48:00 PM

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Tower Defense (TD) games have long been one of my favorite types of game and having played Kingdom Rush to death I was excited to get my hands on Ironhide Game Studio's sequel, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers. That being said, if you have played Kingdom Rush, you have played Kingdom Rush: Frontiers. More of the same is not necessarily a bad thing and in the case of Kingdom Rush it certainly is not.

The game is available for $2.99, which is around R30 and is available from the Playstore here. It requires Android OS 4.0 and up as well as a hefty download of 220mb to get started. During my time with the game I used my Samsung Galaxy S2 to play and before I know it, hours have passed…

Graphics and Sound – More of the same

Graphically the game is almost exactly the same as the first Kingdom Rush. Frontiers do bring more to the table with its varied tileset, however, the animations still does not look fluid and the big spells you are able to cast could have really looked better. Cartoonish action words such as “KBOOM!” and “POW” as well as an environment with a bit more animation makes the game feel alive and at times even comical. That being said, graphically, the game does exactly what it is supposed to do; offer a smooth TD experience that can run on a wide range of mobile devices.

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The familiar sounds of swords chopping down enemies and arrows flying overhead are exceptionally well done. If you listen closely you can hear so much of the battle going on as individual sounds shine through the chaos, creating a wonderful audio experience. Hero voices are well done and the music gives you a sense of urgency which just adds to the experience of a great TD game.

Gameplay and Mechanics – Towering above the rest

The game requires you to build towers and control units in order to defend against unrelenting waves of enemies who spawn on a timer, giving you very limited time to act between waves. You are generally allowed to let 20 creatures pass per stage, if you let more pass; you lose and have to start the stage over again. Towers can be upgraded multiple times using gold you receive from killing enemy waves. The concept sounds simple enough, but when you add heroes into the mix, multiple paths of entry that you have to defend and having to make hard decisions quickly, the game becomes hard relatively quickly even on medium difficulty.

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Kingdom Rush: Frontiers makes some changes from the original here that add a lot of depth to the gameplay. Advanced upgrades for towers have been changed dramatically and now offer much more interesting options. An example of this is Mage Towers that can be upgraded to Necromancer Towers. These towers undead minions to fight incoming waves for you, thereby giving you the option to focus less on defensive towers and more on offensive towers with the undead minions tanking.

Enemies have a lot more effects on the battlefield than simply attacking your defenders, for example, alien facehuggers that turn your defenders into mutated aliens if they are not defeated in time. The environment also plays a role in gameplay and gives you even more to stay aware of when enemies carve new paths or some nasty plants eat your defenders if you are not careful.

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Between stages, you can upgrade your hero skills and stats on your towers, abilities, mercenaries and much more. These choices can be an extremely important part of your success and at higher difficulty levels should not be made lightly. The game makes you think and can become very difficult. Even at the easiest level of difficulty it forces the player to put some thought into their decisions and well as react quickly to incoming waves of enemies.

Flaws – The Leaning Tower of In App Purchases

I expect games that are completely free to download and play to have a wide variety of items and features for sale. Kingdom Rush: Frontiers is not a free game, but still sells Heroes and Gems, which to me is a bit excessive, especially because the Heroes you can buy can not be earned during normal gameplay and cost as much as the game itself.

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Gems can be earned relatively easily during normal gameplay and you can buy once off use items with these gems. These powerful once off items do become almost necessary during later stages and even though you get plenty of them, there just never seems to be enough, giving one the feeling that to play the game as intended, you have to buy gems with some real money. This is in my opinion the only real flaw with the game and it has to be said that you can experience the whole game without ever spending any money other than buying the game itself.

Closing thoughts

Kingdom Rush: Frontiers is the best TD game I have ever played. The game does not stray from the winning formula of Kingdom Rush while adding enough new elements to make it worth the purchase.

The game is addictive, unrelentingly difficult to master and will keep you entertained for countless hours while forcing you to think, act quickly while making tactical decisions to best waves and waves of varied incoming enemies. For any TD fan, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers is an excellent sequel and a must buy.

Scoring

The game could have scored much higher if it was not for one glaring flaw. In App Purchases are expected for free games and even games you have to pay for if they are only cosmetic. The problem is Kingdom Rush: Frontiers sell heroes and gems which are far from cosmetic, although not needed to experience the whole campaign, they are a big part of gameplay and for me that is unacceptable.

Score: 7.5/10      

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd

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