Not your Average Tower Defense Title
Prepare to go on a space-time adventure set in Tokyo in the year 2034. The once-blue sky is now cracked. Downpour a vast amount of diffmen. Only you and your squad of heroes can defend the world from these space-time rift invaders. Tactical brilliance and patience are the only skills that you can rely on to get through to the next stage, thus experiencing the next chapter of the story. This was my experience in Time Defenders, and it will be your burden to carry if you choose to embark on this adventure that is. Sophomore developer Vespa who launched Kings Raid in 2017 swung for the fences with Time Defenders. How complicated can a tower defense game be? Better yet do Vespa’s ambitions translate to a quality game?
The game starts off with a beautifully well-done cinematic that would get any fan of anime excited. It sets up the story of Jin, and how he comes to meet the Time Defenders. A secret organization that’s solely built as a countermeasure for the space-time rifts happening in the world. The rifts happen to spawn endless hordes of monsters. It is up to you and your squad to defend the world from these rift monsters. After the cinematic scene, the game throws you into the tutorial. The beginning of the tutorial presents Time Defenders as a standard tower defense game. Monsters spawn in waves. In each stage, you set up your units in strategic locations to ensure that the monsters don’t cause damage to the building or structures you are defending. Once the tutorial expands after the first few stages, you realize that this is not your average tower defense game.
Time Defenders offers players a selection of eight different classes: Guardian, Striker, Assault, Healer, Ranger, Esper, Specialist and Supporter. All classes employ different skills and abilities. Yes, skills and abilities are different from one another. Mixing and matching what units work together well is daunting at first. The tutorial makes light of this by stating that there’s a lot more to learn and you’ll figure it out. Don’t worry you’ll be just fine. The game leaves you to your own devices to explore all the RPG mechanics. This sometimes feels like a different game altogether. A big section of the game consists of you preparing for the next stage by leveling up and equipping units. Leveling up skills and leveling the units limit break powers which is a powerful ability this is different than skills. You also awaken units. Even if you happen to be fully prepared for the next stage this is not an idle tower defense game where you can set your units up and just watch. Using your units’ skills and abilities at the right time and place is key. Playing the game in a tactical manner is not only a recommendation it’s a requirement.
The Future of Tower Defense?
build your squad as you progress through the story’s seven chapters. The game offers specially super rare units. With 70 different characters all having unique backstories, I found myself reading each one and diving deeper into the world of Time Defenders. Don’t worry if you happen to finish the adventure Time Defenders has events and end-game content. In my time with the game, I summoned two SSR six SRs and all the R and N units. All without dropping a penny.
This game is one where spending money will not help you progress through the stages. Having the most powerful units won’t help you like traditional mobile games. Powerful units have high-cost points. Cost points are how you play your units on the board. Therefore, having a squad of powerful units will only make passing a stage impossible. Synergy and strategy are how you’ll find success in Time Defenders.
A Complex Time Rift
With stunning anime graphics, a soundtrack superbly done by KOTOKO and well-done voice acting Time Defenders initially doesn’t feel like a free-to-play game. This is until you start summoning units and collecting the numerous currencies in the game. The thing that is holding Time Defenders back is how complicated it is. The game combines the inner trappings of a mobile gotcha game with highly complex gameplay. Time Defenders will alienate casual gamers and may cause some hardcore gamers to feel overwhelmed. The developers are aware of this though. If you get stuck on a stage, you can watch replays of other player’s successful attempts on that same stage. If you have a love for tower defense games and have the patience to learn the more profound concepts of the game, you’ll find yourself loving not only the story but the characters as well.
Is It Hardcore?
An excellent and unique tower defense game. The only drawback is that it is sometimes too complex for its own good. It’s clear that Vespa has a bright future in mobile gaming.