I’ve gotten the impression that tower defense games aren’t that respected in either games media or among more “serious” gamers, but for me, I’ve always loved them. They’re a favorite of mine, in fact, especially on mobile devices. Tower defense is a relaxing puzzle of sorts that combines warfare, mazes, and defensive strategy with that satisfying bubble wrap “popping” of enemy units. I often play a round or two at the end of the day, as these games help lull me into sleep (I know that sounds bad, but it more speaks to its relaxing qualities).
Today, I wanted to share my six favorite tower defense titles to date:
1. Desktop Tower Defense
This might have been one of the first tower defense games I ever played, and to date, it’s one of my wife’s most-played video games ever. There are a lot of different types of tower defense titles, and this one falls into the “use towers to make your own maze” category — with hand-drawn towers and units. I eventually fell out of like with this because it ascribed to the “keep giving mobs more and more health until they’re raid bosses” design, but it was a lot of fun for a good long time.
The Bloons series worked so well because balloons are great fun to pop, and moreso if you’re using silly monkey towers to do it. It’s fast, there are tons of types of “bloons” that zip by, and the popping of each one releases endorphins in my system.
3. Kingdom and Frontier Rush
Absolutely wonderful titles with great art, a huge variety of towers and upgrade paths, and enemy types. Plus the voices ascribed to units gave them a lot of personality, and this was the first tower defense game that I played with hero units. I probably played Frontier Rush through at least a dozen times.
4. Dungeon Warfare
Nobody seems to talk about this gritty title, which is an incredible shame. It’s like Dungeon Keeper meets tower defense, and there’s a massive array of towers, traps, enemies, maps, and upgrades. So so so much replayability here.
Creeps might not have been the most original tower defense game of all time, but it gets a nod on this list for its imaginative art and premise — that you’re trying to stop nightmares from getting to a kid in bed.
6. Crazy Kings
Yes, this has energy timers and other F2P elements, but I’m really keen on this game because it’s got so much to do, has fun art, has all sorts of gameplay modes, and there is never a lack of things to do. I probably play this now more than any other.
7. Plants vs. Zombies
This is more lane defense than a strict tower defense game, but there’s so much overlap that who cares. I liked the first game way more than the sequel, and had a blast with all of the hilarious plants and zombies on the field. Ramping up each map got old after a while, as did some of the restrictions on later levels, but it was a huge amount of fun while it lasted.