|Posted by Morpheel on June 5, 2015 at 12:00 AM|
Guru Morpheel here to talk about Samurai Defender by Circle Entertainment.
Circle Entertainment has been a strong presence in Nintendo's digital ecosystem since the DSiWare era, usually releasing multiple titles constantly. Not all of them have been good, but I think this one hit the right spots.
As the name implies, this is a "tower defense" title, your goal is to place units in the right spot and time to prevent the enemy army from destroying your base. If you want a comparison point, think Plants vs Zombies. Don't get me wrong though, the game is far from feeling like a clone, it has its unique mechanics and I think they're mostly good ones.
You start the game by selecting a file, and you're then instantly dropped into the upgrade shop with no context-there's no explanations, tutorials or even a story. Even when there's text, it's slightly rough and vague. Thankfully, it's not super hard to understand the menus. Just tap the scrolls on the bottom screen and navigate your way around. There's one scroll to play the main game, another to upgrade your units, one to customize your "scheme bar" and finally one where you can change some options and view the credits and achievements.
Once you find yourself in the game field itself, you'll find it's actually pretty enjoyable: there's a bowman on the roof you can control directly with buttons or the stylus and you have "schemes" you can place on the field in exchange for "MP". The schemes are really important, since they provide you with useful offensive and defensive units. The game gets progressively harder, so you'll probably want to grind for coins to upgrade and expand your army as much as you can; thankfully, the game is usually pretty generous with the rewards.
Graphically and aurally, the game is cutesy and competent, with an obvious Japanese feeling to it. You won't notice any lag, even when there's tons of things going on- and believe me, it gets hectic later on. The menus are serviceable, if a little confusing at first. Something odd that's worth mentioning is that even though you can use both the stylus and buttons at the same time, both seem to work independently from each other, which means you'll always have the hand cursor visible at all times ignoring your stylus inputs, it's not game breaking or anything, but it can get confusing at times.
All in all, I really enjoyed this game, watching your army grow and get stronger and stronger is satisfying, as is being able to beat that one level that completely thrashed you before. I hear there's even some unlockable modes after beating the game, pretty nice. But still, the lack of direction or even a basic story to get you into the action give it limited appeal and replayability.
That said, I think this is a fun game and well worth the time I spent with it, I give it 8 fiery arrows out of 10.
Review copy provided by the publisher.