Tower defense games are what many in the industry would call an acquired taste. At the most basic level, they operate on the same concept: The gamer has a central point to defend, a bunch of turrets to construct, and waves upon waves of enemies to defeat. Though often criticized as repetitive and overtly brutal, fans of the genre know that tower defense games are an addictive, soul-sucking diversion. Whether you're a stoic fan or you're just curious, read on through our round-up of some of the most interesting tower defense games in the Google Play store today.
Tower Defense: Lost Earth
What better way to start this collection of tower defense titles than with one named after the genre itself? Tower Defense: Lost Earth plops you down in a futuristic space setting, and you're charged with defending against an unending hoard of ghoulish aliens. The game doesn't aim to redefine the genre--it's just here to deliver what fans want: a masochistic game characterized by its nine different types of towers, ten kinds of aliens, and the occasional resource-gathering. If you don't want novelty with your tower defense, this game will keep you busy with its panoply of decently balanced game modes and challenge stages.
Price: Free Plants vs. Zombies
One of the more unusual and iconic tower defense games, Plants vs. Zombies replaces traditional turrets and weapons with zombie-hating vegetation. The bright and colorful game has you using plants to prevent attacking zombies from reaching your home. Bizarre as all that may sound, the whole idea actually works swimmingly. It's a little silly, a little simple--and an excellent download for both seasoned veterans and those new to the genre entirely.
Price: $1 Fieldrunners HD
With fans still anxiously anticipating the arrival of Fieldrunners 2 in the Google Play store, now is an excellent time to get yourself up to speed by checking out the original Fieldrunners. Unlike many other tower defense games, Subatomic Studios' Fieldrunners requires you to do more than intelligently position and upgrade your towers. Here, you must sculpt a maze to impede your opponents' passage. Of course, you could also just construct towers willy-nilly in a bid to gun down the enemy as quickly possible. It's up to you. We recommend the former, however. In fact, the game is probably best when you've settled into a habit of constructing projectile-spitting labyrinths. If you're curious, there are only four towers to work with here, a limitation that somehow doesn't undercut Fieldrunner's appeal.
Price: $3 Anomaly: Warzone Earth
11bit Studios' Anomaly: Warzone Earth is probably the prettiest entry in our roundup. Of course, you could question whether it actually belongs here. In Anomaly: Warzone Earth, you won't be building towers to impede enemy movement--you'll be taking on the towers instead. It's a tower offense game that tells the tale of planet Earth after she's been invaded by aliens. Naturally, your task is to reclaim the land from enemy forces. To do so, you must direct a panoply of units through ruined streets in an attempt to reach one objective or another.
Along the way, you have to take down alien towers, make the best of what limited resources you have, and keep your commander alive. While the voice acting could certainly be better, Anomaly: Warzone Earth is one of the most gorgeous, well-made tower defense games to have ever made an appearance in the Google Play store.
Price: $4 Jelly Defense
Jelly Defense is proof that, sometimes, good looks are all you need. Though it neither innovates nor improves on the tower defense formula, Jelly Defense is a glorious feast for the eyes. Unlike Anomaly: Warzone Earth, however, Jelly Defense isn't the sort of game that is used to benchmark new game engines. It's a battlefield brought to life from the imagination of a gummy-loving child--with towers and enemies that wouldn't look out of place in a Saturday morning cartoon. That said, Jelly Defense is still a challenging game that's well worth the price of admission. Get this one, because you should have a reason to smile on even the dullest days.
Price: $3 Myth Defense: Light Forces
Not a big fan of jelly? Can't abide yet another futuristic spectacle? In desperate need of giant spiders and orcs with high hit points? Myth Defense: Light Forces is the tower defense game you've been looking for. Myth Defense: Light Forces is a cruel and frequently overwhelming entry that will laugh at your misery as it tests your endurance and your cunning. Where most games will throw 20 or so waves of enemies at you before allowing you to progress to the next stage, Myth Defense: Light Forces demands that you contend with a minimum of 70 orc-bearing waves before you're allowed to progress.
To make matters even more complicated, the game also makes it your responsibility to build the paths the enemies will take. Of course, airborne enemies will just flit happily over whatever barriers you erect, but that's just one of your many problems. There are runes to collect, a basic but satisfying technology tree to work through, a ridiculous number of enemies to contend with, and no tutorial whatsoever. Good luck. You'll need it.
Price: $3.95 Radiant Defense
Dressed up in glowing neon colors and filled with silly, zany dialogue, Radiant Defense can easily be dismissed as just a light-hearted romp. It isn't. Like so many good examples of the genre, Radiant Defense can be a soul-crushing affair--so much so that it gives you an auto-save between every wave. This brightly lit, brutal tower defense title will have you rearranging the mazes you create at almost every interval. Failure to correctly account for the enemies within a wave can be horribly embarrassing and tear-inducing should your carelessness result in an ignominious end.
A quick warning, however: Radiant Defense has in-app purchases. Though free to play and entirely possible to finish without the help of micro-transactions, Radiant Defense does have towers that are accessible only if you're willing to fork out the requisite (albeit very small) amount of cash. Still, this really shouldn't deter you from checking out the game.
Price: Free Sentinel 3: Homeworld
Aliens? Check. Giant mechs? Check. Drones? Missile strikes? RPG-like elements? Check, check, and--wait a second. While Sentinel 3: Homeworld is largely building on the things that made the first two installments work, it also comes with a nifty new addition in the form of a commander unit. The commander unit is a robotic juggernaut capable of dealing massive amounts of damage, healing units, and a whole bunch of other stuff. As you progress, you can level it up and outfit your commander with new abilities--just like in an actual RPG. Aside from that, however, Sentinel 3: Homeworld doesn't deviate much from the standard tower defense formula. Still, that doesn't stop it from being a good-looking, well-made game.