Cursed Treasure 2 (iOS)
Either you love tower defense games or you don't, but if you do, there's a good chance you love IriySoft's ferociously addictive hit Cursed Treasure and its sequel. For a while, your productivity was safe as long as you were away from your computer, but now that Cursed Treasure 2 has hit iOS, well, hey, it's not like you needed that job or those social obligations, right? The premise is still the same as you place and upgrade towers full of demons, orcs, and the undead to hold off the heroes (that's right, you're the bad guy) who are trying to come and cart away all of your precious gems. As towers slay foes, they become eligible for upgrades, which increases their power, but also allows you to choose certain upgrade paths for them that will give them new abilities, such as turning an undead tower into a crypt that terrifies or slows enemies. You're awarded experience based on how well you did, which earns you skill points to upgrade towers, passive bonuses, and spells, and if you can make it through a level without an enemy even touching a single gem, you'll earn a three star rating. Eventually you'll unlock Night Mode for all levels, which, well, is what it sounds, allowing you to play the game at nighttime with the restriction of only being able to place towers within the range of light sources.
Cursed Treasure 2 for the iOS is mostly the same as its browser counterpart, minus a few tweaks. Levels don't start unless you hit "battle", for instance, allowing you to place your first round of towers at your leisure, and instead of the Cut Out spell being used to seize enemy structures like mines and magic pools, you'll now spend gold and mana. Additionally, they'll give you bonuses before you fully seize them, albeit at a reduced rate. Towns and castles will toss out several coins each time to seize a portion of them. There is a "black market" shop where you can purchase single-use, super powerful spells using the skulls of your enemies, which is honestly a feature I believe should be in every single game as well as real life, but while you can purchase more skulls with real money via in-app purchases, they are completely optional as all they do is make levels easier, and you earn skulls as you play anyway. You are never nagged to make any purchases, nor does the gameplay ever feel like it's been tweaked to nudge you towards doing so. This is not, in other words, a complete overhaul of the original game, but rather a port that's been tweaked and polished until it glows.
So how does it play? Well, on the iPad Air, it's one gorgeous little game, with vibrant colours and big, detailed sprites and environments, all of it running buttery smooth. The interface works very well with touch controls that never feel too small or fiddly for fingers, allowing you to tap on any spot on the map and get a context menu of all available options. Like the original game, the iOS port of Cursed Treasure 2 ramps up the challenge after only a few levels so that stages are filled with waves and waves of enemies, each with their own special abilities and weaknesses, so careful tower planning and resource management becomes essential if you plan to get a Brilliant rating on every level. If you were hoping for a complete revamp and remake of the browser version, you're out of luck, but Cursed Treasure 2 for iOS is still one of those rare ports to be proud of, where every aspect has come through not only intact but enhanced for optimum tablet play. Cursed Treasure 2 is a great game for your browser, and it's just as great on your iPhone or iPad, and comes highly recommended whether you're a fan of the series or this is your first foray into hero smiting.