Developer: Subatomic Studios
Publisher: Subatomic Studios
System: Windows 7/Vista/XP
Price: $8.99 Download
ESRB rating: Teen
Review rating: 4.5 stars
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Not everyone likes Tower Defense games, but those who do find them strangely addicting. Who could have known that setting up a variety of towers that automatically blast hordes of mindless automatons into oblivion would be so much fun? "Fieldrunners 2" was released on iPhone and iPad in 2012, and now those who refuse to bite into the "forbidden Apple" can enjoy this great game on their PC!
This action-packed game takes Tower Defense to a whole new level by offering enjoyable game play and gorgeous visuals. I appreciate how most levels are large and open, adding depth to game play by forcing players to create winding pathways. In essence, creating the right path is just as important as deciding which towers to use.
A huge variety of turrets and gadgets are available: machine guns, rockets, tesla guns, flamethrowers, glue guns, railguns, mines and much more! There are also "link" towers that strengthen surrounding towers. In addition, single-use items such as rewind, deep freeze and the frostinator are highly effective tools to defeat stragglers and also create high-scoring combos.
Most Tower Defense games overwhelm the player with huge numbers of enemies, and "Fieldrunners 2" is no exception. Don't be surprised to see dozens of infantry coupled with tanks, motorcycles, helicopters, airplanes, etc. One handy feature that I love is the ability to pause the action at any time to survey the battlefield, place or remove towers, and/or rest my brain. Pausing the game also shows the paths that enemies take.
More than 20 levels of intense action are available, but they aren't all played the same. Some levels task players with blasting their way through a set number of rounds, some require players to destroy a certain number of enemies during endless rounds, and some require guiding enemies into preset traps. It's also possible to play levels in survival mode to gain extra points.
Maybe "Fieldrunners 2" isn't groundbreaking, but it sure is fun!
'Guardians of Middle-Earth'
Developer: Monolith Productions
Publisher: Warner Bros.
System: Microsoft Xbox 360 (PS3)
Price: $14.99 Download
ESRB rating: Teen
Review rating: 3.5 stars
Since "The Hobbit" movie has reinvigorated people's interest in Middle-earth, Warner Bros. unleashes a new style of LoTR game called "Guardians of Middle-earth." It doesn't matter if it's called a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) or ARTS (Action Real-Time Strategy), because they're basically the same thing. What matters is that players can assume the role of their favorite LoTR characters and band together to slay other groups of Middle-earth warriors!
This genre of game is few and far between on consoles, and "Guardians of Middle-Earth" has simplified this intimidating style of play with mostly positive results. Controlling the action is easy and intuitive, but sometimes it can be difficult to acquire targets or see the reticule during combat. On the other hand, there is a surprising amount of depth both in game play and outfitting each character with abilities and bonuses.
Before each match, players choose from infamous characters like Gandalf, Sauron, Legolas and Galadriel that are grouped into five different classes. When the match begins, one group of five players is pitted against an opposing group of five, and they travel down pathways to do battle. It's important to destroy enemy towers along the way, and the match ends when one side's main tower is destroyed. A.I.-controlled players add variety to the mix as well as being fodder for easy kills.
Each player can rise from level 1 to level 14 during each match and gaining levels gives access to more powerful abilities that have been assigned before the match. This cool ability forgoes the traditional method of wasting time buying new abilities during battle.
Sadly, online server lag often turns a fun match into a battle of middle fingers! It's frustrating to have the game turn into a slideshow during combat, and it's downright maddening to get completely disconnected.
"Guardians of Middle-earth" is the current champion of console MOBAs, but it needs improvements to equal the draw of its computer brethren.