Bloons Tower Defense 3
Continuing the legacy of the popular Bloons series, Bloons Tower Defense 3 has finally been released after months of anticipation from all the hardcore Bloons fans out there. Picking up where Bloons TD 2 left off, the new game features even more tracks (eight in all!), new monkeys (towers) and upgraded gameplay mechanics. It's basically the sequel that fans wanted back when they got Bloons TD 2 instead (which was more of a "patch" to the original that a full-fledged sequel). This time around, NinjaKiwi really answered the call and developed a strong and distinct successor to the Bloons Tower Defense series.
In Bloons TD 3, the monkeys are back to defend an onslaught of multi-colored balloons careening down the track, with a few new b'loons added to the arsenal. Fans of the former will remember that in the Bloons TD series, it only takes one hit to pop a bloon, but as levels progress you'll be met with bloons inside bloons. In Bloons TD 3, things only get worse, with some bloons containing nearly a dozen inside of each other. The new "porcelain bloons" need to be cracked open with repeated hits, and the uber MOAB (tongue-in-cheek for the US military's "Mother of All Bombs") takes the form of a zeppelin that must be pounded with everything you've got just to reveal even more bloons inside.
But not to worry, because you've got plenty of new tricks up your sleeve this time around. Your first new monkey tower is the Spike-o-pult, which throws a large spiked ball onto the track, popping any bloon it touches. It can be upgraded in a few different ways, the most impressive of which allows it to launch three balls at once. The new Monkey Beacon is a support tower that "buffs" nearby towers with increased range and speed, and also unlocks a "top secret" weapon that essentially nukes every bloon on the track (MOAB's exluded). You've also got a new one-time placement weapon, similar to the spikes that pop up to 10 bloons and the glue that slows down up to 20; a Pineapple! It's a timed bomb that can be placed anywhere on the field (even off-track) and explodes after three seconds, encompassing a respectable radius.
Also in Bloons TD 3 are a slew of new tower upgrades. Basic Dart Monkeys can now be upgraded with razor darts, which pop three bloons instead of two. The kooky Boomerang monkey can be transformed into a glaive thrower, able to pop eight bloons per arc! Ice Balls can pop a few bloons on freeze at their highest level and Cannons can be upgraded to launch missiles that frag apart on impact. Even the previously-weak Tack Shooter can be upgraded to an effective blade thrower. All in all, lots of new upgrades across the board, even with the old towers from the original. (The Super Monkey's new "plasma vision" mows down bloons like you wouldn't believe.) Lastly, you now have the ability to change the targeting mode on each individual tower to "first" or "last." It's a really useful mechanic to further the depth of your strategy, allowing you to maximize damage with piercing towers that can pop a line of bloons in a row.
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Analysis: Aside from the new units, Bloons TD 3 features eight new tracks, the second half of which are available by earning at least a bronze medal (easy mode) in tracks one through four. They're designed with a lot more diversity than the previous game. Some tracks even feature bloons coming in from multiple paths at once, requiring more strategy. There's also a "free play" mode available after you complete each level, so you can continue playing indefinitely. This allows you to earn more cash and unlock more towers than you might be able to in a normal game, although eventually, you'll either be overwhelmed by bloons or have so much money that you can just nuke the whole path each wave (depending on how well you began the level). A downside to the game is that the graphics haven't improved much; they're still cartoony as ever and the lackluster animation doesn't lend itself well to a TD game. Unit placement is annoying at times as well; there's no "snap-to" grid system used, so sometimes you'll have to find just a few available pixels to place towers on in tight groups. Regardless, the third installment of this trilogy succeeds in improving on its predecessors, culminating in a unique tower defense game that fans of the genre should really enjoy.