Tower Raiders 2 is a classic tower defense game for experienced tower defense enthusiasts. If the sight of tiny tiles laid out in grid-like patterns filled with rows of marching, speeding and crawling enemies that you destroy by creating mazes with 8 different upgradeable towers played out over 24 maps plus two expansion packs fills you with excitement, Tower Raiders 2 is the game for you. It is a sequel to Tower Raiders with better graphics and more polish and it is one of the best tower defense strategy games available on Google Play.
Reasons To Play
Classic Tower Defense at its best: Tower Raiders 2 comes very close to being Defense Grid for the tablet. It looks similar, feels similar and plays brilliantly. There is no RPG-element, no added extras, no multiplayer or co-op, no frills, it’s just your towers, your enemies and map after map of strategizing that will keep you adjusting your towers like chess pieces on a board. It is perfect for players who enjoy tower defense strategy gaming for what it is and only that. No distracting extras to tolerate, just incredibly satisfying mechanics that will keep you coming back for more.
Rewards Upgrades adds fun and replayability: A Rewards system is employed – when you win a level, you receive a point for each victory star – up to five and if you loose, you receive one for reaching level 5 and a second if you reached level 15. Rewards Points can be used to purchase special abilities, including permanent boosts for your towers, Hero abilities and a Level Wrap (if you are stuck on a level, purchase it for 10 points and you unlock the next). The Hero abilities are implemented via one or two special tower slots on the map on which you can place a special hero tower (there are 8 to unlock) each with a unique ability.
Room For Improvement
Minor errors within the Menu: Minor errors plague the menus. I frequently received the error message “Failed to read campaign – please redownload.” I didn’t and I didn’t have to: click the back button a few times and restart from the first menu screen and problem solved. I did have to download an expansion pack twice and on completion of the second download was informed that I already owned the expansion. Sometimes the “Play Now” or “Buy Now” buttons disappeared. These are minor issues that only come into effect if you start to access the expansions packs and does not affect the main menu or maps.
Confusing Menu System: The maps themselves are well-polished and designed with precision and care, but the menu system falls short of my very high expectations. The system is one of many screens. The Home Screen only contains two options: “Play now” and “Options”. Once you select “Play Now”, a second menu screen appears either showing the last map that you played, with the options to resume or restart, or a list of maps of either the campaign or one of the two expansions (whichever you accessed last) or, if you have completed the campaign, it shows the last map. For those completing the campaign for the first time, it works as intended, but for anyone who is replaying maps or completing it on a different difficulty level, it’s very frustrating to keep landing on the last map, trying to remember where you were. Its particularly frustrating for anyone attempting to complete the game on the most difficult “Raidpocalypse” level as there is no indication within the game whether you have completed a map on this difficulty or not. Also, the “Campaign” button will not always take you to the campaign. If you have accessed either of the expansion packs, it will take you to whichever you accessed last, either the main campaign or one of the expansions. The high replayability of Tower Raiders 2 makes it very frustrating to navigate through a menu system that isn’t set-up for it.
Relevant to those who are partially sighted or experience photosensitive epileptic seizures*, visually triggered migraines, photophobia, contrast loss or glare problems, motions sickness or dizziness, color blindness, including red-green colour blindness and blue-yellow colour blindness, visual impairment or visual disturbances – we specifically consider the impact of central field loss, multiple field loss, tunnel vision (peripheral field loss), distortion or blurred vision.
The design is very simplistic and as a result, there is no flashy or bright elements. There is a small bright bubble that explode with golden light when enemies are killed and mortars spit out similar bright orbs that explode on detonating. These are minor visual effects but may effect anyone with severe photophobia or visually triggered conditions, particularly if you use a large amount of mortars when a large wave of enemies arrive.
The camera angle is fixed. There is a zoom and the action on the screen can be moved by the player. Both of these functions are player controlled and as a result are less likely to cause motion sickness as players can control when and how quickly these adjustments are made.
Clarity, Text size, User Interface & Heads up Displays
The user interface contains minimal information in large text and is not affected by the zoom. The movability of the action on the screen makes it very accessible for anyone with tunnel vision or multiple field loss as you can place the action wherever you choose. The menu system text is small and there are times when the UI is unreadible due to white text landing on a light background, but because the background can be moved, you can adjust it until its over a dark part of the map to make it readible.
Reliance on colour
There is some reliance on colour. Towers are upgraded from green to yellow to red to black. Unfortunately, the change in colour is the only indicator of an upgrade, so those with red-green colour blindness will struggle to tell at a glance which towers have been upgraded.The only alternative is to click on the tower and look at the cost of the next upgrade as they increase with every upgrade and deduce which level your tower is. The radius of towers are indicated by a green filled circle. The upgrade menu indicates what effect your upgrade will have with a bar filled with green/red, which again will impact significantly on those with red-blind colour blindness as there are no accompanying text, just the bars.
Information relevent to those who have a hearing impairment, experience problems with speech perception, suffers from tinnitus and the profoundly deaf.
Subtitles & Closed captioning
There are no dialogue and therefore no subtitles.
Reliance on auditory cues
There is no reliance on audio cues. Special effects can be used to assist with game play, but there are an accompanying visual cue for all audio effects. Ideal for deaf or hard of hearing players.
There is only one option in the Options menu. Audio can be toggled on or off.
Relevant to those who struggle to react quickly, usually associated with certain muscular or neurological conditions, sleep disorders or a side-effect of some medications, those who lack precise muscular control as a result of partial paralysis, tremors, spasms or involuntary movement, those who suffer from chronic fatigue and/or chronic pain conditions, like arthritis, joint problems or repetitive strain injuries who struggle to play for long periods of time or may need frequent scheduled or unscheduled breaks and anyone who only plays with one hand , using either a mouse, keyboard, keypad or adapted controller. Also information for those who have to swap hands or need to regularly rest one hand whilst primarily gaming with the other.
There is a requirement for reacting within a set time frame, but it is a generous window. Unfortunately players cannot interact with the game whilst it is paused, introducing a requirement for reasonable reaction times. It is a traditional tower defense game and if you strategize well, there is very little need for quickly slamming down a row of towers in a short time frame, however, the pace is set by the game and although generous, there is a time limit to adhere to.
Precision & Control
It is a mobile device game only and so makes use of touch screen controls. Players will have to be able to tap the screen with some precision to place towers where intended and select the appropriate tower. There is the option to zoom in to make the grid bigger and it becomes much easier to place towers in the right place. If you want to place or upgrade a tower, a double click is required. One tap to select the correct square or tower and a second to select your tower or its updrade on the menu screen that pops up. Those who struggle to control this type of movement, like someone with Parkinson’s, will struggle to place and upgrade their towers as another click makes the menu disappear and as a result, players have to master the ability to double click accurately. On a positive note, there are very few controls; only tap, double-tap, slide to move and pinch to zoom (optional as it can also be done through the menu with a tap).
Pause and save options
There is no pause button on the screen. To pause, players have to click on the three dots (pictured above) and a menu with pause, play, fast forward, zoom out and zoom in appears. The hidden tap-to-access menu does make it cumbersome to pause particularly in a mobile title where the pause button is probably one of the most used.
Easily played with one hand as long as you don’t need to hold your mobile device.
Relevant to those with Dyslexia, a language-based learning disability, Dyscalculia, an acquired brain injury, various neurological conditions, stroke, TIA or mini-stroke, hormonal disorders like hypothyroidism, medication side-effect, depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), Autism, Aspergers
Reading, language and vocabulary
There is some reliance on basic language skills, particularly within the menu and as part of a bare-bones tutorial, but most of the language are accompanied by other visual tips. For example, there are four difficulty levels, but they are listed in a drop down style menu with the easiest at the top and the hardest at the bottom. Levels are listed in a visual bullet point style list and each level, amazingly, also have an image next to it. The “Play” button is clearly marked with a white background in contrast to the otherwise black background, intuitively pointing players towards it. The reward system and trophy section uses some humorous or riddle type language, but part of the game mechanics of obtaining trophies are figuring out what they are based on the vague language employed.
There is little reliance on memory, unless players are red-green colour blind and have to remember each upgrade they employ. The most memory intensive exercise is recalling the function of each of the 8 towers and even that is easy to check by double clicking a tower and reading the menu on the turret or enemy unit that pops up. Information is displayed on the screen and there is no need to remember the details. The only significant short coming is within the menu system. The lack of indication of which levels have been completed on which difficulty is annoying. Overall, it is a great game for anyone with any mild to moderate memory problems.
Focus, Organization & Planning
Tower defense games are strategy games focused on organization and planning and this is a great one to improve on these skills. The difficulty and complexity slowly increases as the game progresses. At first, there are no multi-tasking and by the end of the game, there are multiple entry and exit points to monitor. Some maps have set paths and its up to players to select the right tower to place in the right position whilst others have plenty of room to build a maze that enemies need to traverse. It is important to manage resources and plan ahead, particularly on maps with both ground and flying enemies. If you do not place an aerial tower early enough, aerial enemies will arrive and steal the crystals you are protecting.
Math and computations
There is some reliance on basic math. Destroying enemies provides resources which are used to build and upgrade towers. There are 20 crystals on each level and 20 waves for most levels and players need to keep track of these and have a basic understanding of how many waves/crystals are left and where that leaves them.
It is a single player only campaign with no NPCs other than generic waves of enemies who arrive, follow a set-path, take some crystals and leave. No social interaction with either players or NPCs are involved.
Gianormous Games have created yet another classic within the tower defense genre with 20+ hours of gameplay for the tiny price tag of £2.52. For all enthusiasts and traditionalists, this is a must own title with its multiple difficulty levels, reward system and plenty of trophies (aka achievements) to be earned. The length of the game is easily tripled by its excellent replayability and it is one of those titles you will return to again and again, just to get that elusive success on a particularly hard map. It is a very accessible game, bar a few exceptions and I would highly recommend it to fans of the genre.
This game review is based on the Android version played on a Nexus 7 tablet.