Friday, July 3, 2009

Archmage Defense Review

A wave of soldiers is advancing towards you. You hear a zap, and all of them are lying on the ground. Fire rains from the sky, and a soldier stops, frozen solid. This world, is Archmage Defense, a castle defense game by CDE.
In the game, costing $.99, you cast spells to kill a range of enemies advancing towards your castle. If any of them reach the castle, it continually loses health until you destroy the unit. They come in waves of a few groups, called days. After each day, there is a shop, where you can buy new spells, upgrade your old spells, or add health to your castle. The game goes on infinitely, getting harder and adding new enemies as the days go on.
Once you start the game, you have an option to start a new game or continue an old game. If you start a new game, your previous progress gets erased. On your first day, you start out with the chain lightning spell. You drag from the skull on your castle, through enemies, and let go, then lightning lashes out and hits the enemies. If you use a spell, your mana meter goes down a bit, and if it goes down to nothing, you have to wait to use more spells. 
A few days later, you can purchase new spells, including the fire spell and the ice spell. You activate the fire spell by making a circle around a group of enemies, then fire falls from the sky onto them, gradually decreasing their health. It also slows them down, and if enemies from behind them touch them, they also catch on fire. The ice spell only works on one enemy at once, and you double tap on them, and they freeze in a block of ice. You can still attack them, and it makes them not able to attack you. You can also unlock a Skeleton Archer, who attacks enemies for you, using arrows. As the days progress, new enemies appear, such as bigger soldiers, archers, and catapults. The archers and catapults shoot from long distances, and the soldiers attack the castle in a close range. Each day in the game is different, so playing the game over and over does not get boring.
Knights Onrush is the other castle defense game on the App Store that has quite a bit of eye candy, and a campaign mode, for the same price as Archmage Defense. However, the actual gameplay of Knights Onrush is what brings it below the level of Archmage Defense. All you actually do in Knights Onrush is repeatedly flick enemies up, over and over again. Though it has so many modes, it just isn't as interesting to play as Archmage Defense.
Archmage Defense also features an in-app purchase, Gryphon's Fury, which I have not tried out. Based on its features in iTunes, (3 save slots, 2 new spells, 3 new enemies, a weather feature, and a new look of the castle) it seems like it would definitely be worth it. 
Although Archmage Defense is a good game, it does have some flaws. Sometimes when I try to use the fire spell, it doesn't register, and I have to try again, same with the ice spell. Also, it seems to advertise the in-app purchase too much, having a button on the main menu, and on the upgrade screen after each day. On the upgrade screen, it is somewhat intrusive, and makes the screen look too packed.

Fun, Long Lasting Gameplay
Relatively Good Controls
Many Abilities You Can Use And Upgrade

Sometimes Controls Don't Register
In-App Purchase is Too Intrusive

Bottom Line:
Archmage Defense is a good deal, and one of, if not the, best castle defense game the App Store has to offer.

Graphics: 4.5/5
Gameplay: 5/5
Controls: 4/5
Replay Value: 5/5

Overall: 9/10 (not an average)

Link:  Gryphon's Fury, $.99



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