There’s nothing more internally polarizing to me than Tower Defense game. Loved ‘em for years, but the very virtue that turned me onto them (simplicity), eventually turned me off to them (repetitiveness). These games seemed to come to popularity about 6 years ago, with the introduction of Plants vs. Zombies and Bloons TD. But much like the “sit and watch to wait for this game to get more interesting” way that you play these games, the genre has gotten a bit tired as of late.
Dead Lands Reclaim, however, doesn’t fall short simply because it’s the same as many other tower defense games, because it is really well executed from a graphics and controls standpoint. No, it lost my interest because it fails to increase tension and difficulty at an appropriate pace for a mobile game. But, we’ll get back to that verdict later.
First, a quick rundown of the purpose of this game—as if that’s needed for an audience that’s almost definitely familiar with TD games. You find yourself in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, flooded by zombies who come in droves and waves. The only way to defend your safe house is to set up laser-blasting, radiation-hurling towers along the paths through which the zombies trudge.
There are four different towers that project everything from flames to bombs to weird little laser bullets at zombies, and of course each one can be upgraded. But to match those, zombies come in almost a dozen different types, sporting different weapons (yes, they can actually attack your towers) and some of them are typical “Trojan horse” enemies that, once destroyed, spawn more, smaller zombies.
There is a free version of the game, and a premium version. I played the premium one, so I can’t say for sure, but I’m assuming the free version requires you to pay for upgrades much earlier than the premium. But there did reach a point in the premium version that I just couldn’t beat the levels anymore. And when a game requires little skill (just a little pre-planning, and full reliance on your upgraded towers), then it’s a little absurd that you’d need to pay for upgrades to make levels accessibly beatable.
There were a couple of pros, though. As mentioned, the graphics were crisp and clean, and the controls weren’t laggy at all. It was fun for a few levels, but the genre fatigue in addition to the fact that many levels took a long time to run themselves out made things pretty yawn-worthy after a while. As if some cruel joke, the levels got so long sometimes (and the game didn’t have a failsafe apparently), that the display on my LG G3 would shut off from lack of use.
If it isn’t clear by now, I wasn’t sold on this game. While I can’t fault the technical folks (it was cleanly done), I also can’t chalk it up entirely to the fact that TD games are tired. Because, the central problem is that the levels increased in difficulty well enough for the first few, but then seemed to plateau for a while, leaving me to twiddle my thumbs until I reached a new zone and saw the difficulty increase again—only to plateau…yet again. And if there’s one thing TD games need to do well it’s that they need to give you a clear narrative of steadily climbing challenge (almost literally, because it can usually be achieved by just piling on more foes).
But I just got bored way before I should have. If you’re a fiend for tower games, then you could make a case for buying it. But with the fact that you have to make in-game purchases even after you’ve purchased the premium game (ugh!), and the boredom you’ll almost definitely find yourself feeling like a zombie staring at the screen by the fourth zone.
Is it Hardcore?
A predictable, zombie-filled tower defense game that lacks long-term playing power.