Bloons and More Bloons, wonderfully addictive and beautifully conceived little games from NinjaKiwi studios, have been two of the casual gaming community's biggest recent hits. Now, in a decidedly different vein, comes Bloons Tower Defense.
Bloons Tower Defense takes the Bloons concept—popping balloons, preferably with monkeys involved—and spins it in a new and intriguing direction. Players start with an aerial view of a winding path. At the start of each level, a stream of balloons enters from one side and, unless popped, will escape out the other end. Balloons come in red, blue, green, yellow and black flavors; blues move faster than reds, greens faster than blues, and so on. Also, increasing the complexity of the challenge, higher "ranking" balloons contain lower ranking ones inside them. So, blue balloons, when popped, reveal reds, greens contain blues which contain reds, and so on.
And what can one player do against such a mighty horde of bloons? Build towers, of course! And by "towers," I mean bombs, dart-shooting monkeys, tacks, and so on. Each type of tower has two possible upgrades, such as increased shooting radius, piercing darts, bigger bombs, etc. Each category also has significant strengths and weaknesses; one of the joys of the game is discovering the perfect combination to maximize popping potential and beat the seemingly endless flood of bloons.
Analysis: I was rather disappointed with Bloons Tower Defense. Not because it's a bad game; quite the opposite, in fact. It just, well, feels unfinished. With a little bit more work and time, the designers could have turned a fun game into a truly exceptional offering. Chief among my complaints is the lack of a save function (playing 37 levels over again becomes very, very tedious), and the absence of music. The "restart" button literally means just that; a button that could replay the previous level would make more sense and save a lot of time. As much fun as I found Bloons Tower Defense, ultimately the tedium overcame the enjoyment.
A flawed but engaging title, an amazing amount of potential fun wrapped in a frustrating presentation. And yet still likely to please die-hard Bloons fans.