Fieldrunners 2 is a classic tower defense game that was released for iPhone on 17 July. It is the much anticipated sequel to Fieldrunners that was released four years ago. Fieldrunners was one of the first tower defense games to hit the App Store and it is still one of the best. Does the sequel live up to fans’ expectations? Is it a good game to recommended to entice newcomers into the genre? I think it is. Here’s why:
Hand-painted art style: The hand-painted art style supercedes the quality of the vast majority of mobile games. The attention to detail is exquisite and Fieldrunners 2 is a joy to play and to look at.
“More levels, more weapons, more enemies, and more ways to play”: The improvements made from Fieldrunners to Fieldrunners 2 has been done on the wishlist of any tower defense enthusiast. The first game provided dozens of hours of entertainment and never grew old. Fieldrunners 2 has more levels, more variety and at least twice the amount of entertainment value. Fieldrunners 2 has taken one of the best mobile TD games and made it even better.
Contains all the right elements and none of the wrong ones: Tower defense games are easy to find, you trip over them on entering the App store. Good tower defense games are harder to find and excellent ones come along very infrequently. The ingredients of a good tower defense game is easy to list: varied enemies, lots of towers and an interesting map to pit these two against each others. The great titles take these elements and add one more thing; something different and distinctive; something that makes this game different from the masses. The hand-drawn art and the at times devilishly difficult task of creating your own route with your towers is what sets Fieldrunners apart. It has a unique, immersive and extremely well-polished facade that makes it a joy to spend hours and hours with and it combines that with engaging and addictive strategizing.
iPhone only: Fieldrunners 2 is currently available for the iPhone only. However Fieldrunners 1 is currently available on many platforms including iPhone, iPad, Android (Google Play) and PC (Steam) to name but a few. The official site states: “Interested in Fieldrunners 2 for iPad and support for other platforms? Join the Fieldrunners 2 Fan Club on Facebook and follow @Fieldrunners on Twitter for all the latest news!” I would expect upcoming announcements about releases on more platforms soon.
There are no flashing bright lights in any of the maps. The towers have obvious colour-based abilities, making it easy for someone with visual loss to keep track of how well their towers are working, however, the repeated effects, particularly towards the end of long-levels were many towers are up, can get a little dizzying for anyone with a sensitivity to intermittent, strong visual cues. There are a few towers to use sparingly, if at all.
The Laser Tower is the brightest emitting a linear stream of light when triggered by enemies coming into range. The Spark Tower emits a bright pink flash across immediately adjacent tiles when activated. The Plasma tower shoots green droplets in four directions that can be overwhelming when you have a lot of plasma towers active. The Tesla tower emits a tiny ray of lightning that I do not find very bothersome, but some might. The Pyro tower emits a red hue when triggered that I do not find particularly bothersome unless I have a lot of Pyro towers in combination with other towers that have a strong visual effect.
I not have not unlocked all the towers as yet, but most seem to be quite easy on the eye and no map requires a particular set of towers, you can choose the towers you are most comfortable with.
The camera angle is fixed. There is a zoom function that is player controlled and easy to use with the standard finger pinch or spread.
Text size & HUD (Heads up Display)
The heads-up display is generous in proportion to the game. The menus are clear and easy to read. The zoom does not effect the UI, but if you struggle to see the text on the smaller screen of the iPhone, you can play it on an iPad although you loose some of the quality as it is an iPhone-only version of the game.
There is no reliance on colour anywhere in the game.
Subtitles & Closed captioning
There are no dialogue and hence no subtitles. Although there are sound effects within the game that is not closed captioned, they are decorative more than functional.
Reliance on auditory cues
There is no reliance on audio cues within the game. It can be played just as easily with or without sound. There are sound effects within the game and for gamers who prefer using sound, it’s a great help, but it’s an option not a requirement.
There are two sliders in the settings; one to adjust the Effects volume and one to adjust the Music volume. For those with some hearing loss and/or visual issues, turning down the music and turning up the sound effects might make for a more enjoyable experience.
There is no reliance on fast reaction times. You can pause the game at any time and place towers whilst the game is paused. You can even sell the towers before unpausing for the exact same amount you paid, not loosing any currency, providing players with the opportunity to experiment with their strategy without penalty. Once you have completed your towers, you can unpause the game and watch the destruction.
There is some requirement for precision particularly when placing towers. However, it is one of the most accessible mobile tower defense games available due to the play-whilst pause and sell-without-penalty features. You can zoom in to place the towers and if you place it in the wrong place, sell your tower for the exact amount you paid for it and try again. The settings does have the option to show the grid either all the time, not at all or on drag, making it even easier to see where your tower can be placed. The pause, play and fastforward buttons are nice and chunky making them easy to press.
Pause and save options
The game can be paused at any time and automatically saves on pause so that you can resume where you left off any time.
Easily played with one hand, in fact, designed to be played with one-hand as long as you can put down your device.
There is no customizability of touch controls, but none is required.
Reading, language and vocabulary
The only language and reading requirement is to access the game via the text based menu. The level select screens are icons on a map rather than text, making it even easier, so that you will only need to be able to read to pause, resume, restart or select a particular level.
There is little reliance on memory skills. The game mechanics are strategy based and all the information you need to know is displayed on your screen. The towers now even have a more information button when you click on them in case you forget what any given tower does. New enemies receive a pop-up, explaining their strengths and weakness, but although these do not reappear again, you don’t need to memorize what each enemy type does, it’s pretty clear from their actions and what effect your towers have on them.
Focus, Organization & Planning
There is quite a bit of reliance on organizational and planning skills, particularly in the more advanced levels and at the higher difficulty setting. Tower defense games are all about strategy and planning ahead, however, the pathing markers make planning your strategy much easier to design and execute. I would highly recommend Fieldrunners 2 as a game to develop your skills of organization and planning. If you struggle to succeed; there are three difficulty levels to choose from and although you will have to do at least a few levels on the ‘normal’ mode to earn enough stars to buy the right towers for certain levels, it is only a handful and once you have played through more than half the maps, going back and upping the difficulty levels on ones that you found easy, is an enjoyable experience and very gratifying achievement.
Math and computations
There is very little math and only simple monetary calculations in the game. Towers cost money, upgrades cost money and eliminating enemies earns players money. It’s up to you to budget wisely and spend your money where it will do the most damage to the waves of incoming enemies.
There is no social interaction whatsoever as it’s a single player game that contains no NPCs that you actively interact with.
No customizability options or support tools, but none are required.
Fieldrunners 2 has definitely been worth the wait. If you were a fan of the first, you will love the sequel. If you’re a fan of tower defense games that for some unfathomable reason has not played the first, you will love the sequal and it will provide you with hours and hours of entertainment. If you are new to both the work of Subatomic Studios and the tower defense gentre, Fieldrunners 2 is the perfectly place to start.
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute spent strategizing in Fieldrunners 2 and like the much loved prequel, I expect that I will keep playing it for years. At £1.99 it’s a steal and with its equisite style and incredible quality and polish, it is one of those rarest of things: a mobile game anyone can and everyone should fall in love with.
[stars rating=”5″ type=”Game”]