So while I'd been hearing about tower defense games and their addictive qualities for a while, I never actually checked one out until I started playing games on my iPhone. The most popular iPhone TD game is probably Fieldrunners, but I find that shallow and uninteresting compared to the one that first caught my eye, Besiegement. With Besiegement I found myself, for the first time ever, actually playing a mobile game for sustained periods of time and even choosing to play it over desktop games.
It's a bit silly to be sitting in front of a Windows machine and a Mac, both with nice 24 inch monitors and loaded with games, yet be dinking away on an iPhone to get my gaming fix.
I spent so much time playing it that I started exploring the genre...a couple more for the phone are Zombie Attack (very slick and fun, but still not as engaging as Besiegement for me) and Tap Defense.
I was having so much fun with all this that I decided to delve into the history a bit by trying out the mod scene that started the genre, so I installed the Warcraft III mod Element Tower Defense, which is still in Beta but is amazingly creative and detailed especially for a free mod. I need to explore this more.
Most recently, a Steam ad caught my eye for the new game Defense Grid: The Awakening, a science fiction-themed TD game with some nice graphics. I find the environment a bit sterile and the attempt at a background story to be about as compelling as the original Total Annihilation story, but there are some interesting twists and challenges that mean I'm playing it and will probably keep playing it even after I've finished the story mode.
Some things I like about these games:
Once the difficulty ramps up, they require me to think. Being a pretty bad game player, I might lose a level (especially in Besiegement, which gets damn tough) dozens or even hundreds of times, but if I think through why a particular wave of enemies is defeating me and really consider the types of towers available and the ways I can place them, eventually I abuse my brain cells enough to overcome the challenge (except those Besiegement levels that continue to elude me...)
There's not too much luck involved. While some towers may do random amounts of damage, in general once I've "solved" a level, it's solved, though I might find it interesting to solve it in new ways.
There are many different approaches to take, but it's a matter of rearranging a finite number of options, so I'm not overwhelmed and don't run into analysis paralysis.
What other TD games are worth checking out?
And a question that's been on my mind: Is this a new genre that is going to survive forever, as Bejeweled's "match three items" gameplay will be around forever, or is this a fad that will fade out in a couple of years?