Kingdom Rush: Tower defense that goes deep, now on

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Kingdom RushTower defense games are a dime a dozen these days. But Ironhide Game Studio's answer to the genre launches it forward to be one of the leaders. Kingdom Rush isn't a terribly far departure from the fantasy-themed tower defense games that sparked the genre's popularity, but it's the particulars and the execution that set this entry apart.

Players face waves of enemies that, when killed by one of the game's four types of towers (Archers, Barracks, Wizards and Artillery), cough up gold to spend on more towers or upgrade existing ones. That's nothing new. What's refreshing is the amount of detail and depth to which Ironhide takes this otherwise tired hook. Not only are towers upgradeable within each level, but players earn specialization points after every stage that provide permanent bonuses--and interesting ones, too.Kingdom Rush previewUpgrading towers within each stage grows more varied and interesting as you progress in Kingdom Rush, with branching paths that grant towers unique abilities. It's through features like these, and special abilities like raining fireballs on enemies and summoning troops to the battlefield, that the player has more direct control over the outcome of each level. In fact, players can select the waypoint for their footmen to best block enemies between towers. But nothing illustrates this better than the hero.

A few levels in, players are given a choice to employ a hero on the battlefield. (Players have the choice between a holy knight and an elven archer, but more are available for purchase.) This character can be directly controlled at all times--just click his or her portrait and then a spot on the map, and your hero will go there to automatically defeat any foes in that immediate area. As a level presses on, hero characters grow stronger, too.
Kingdom Rush Games.comThat's about all there is to Kingdom Rush. At face value, that might not seem terribly different from the lot of tower defense games out there. But it doesn't take long for its intriguing depth to reveal itself, inviting you to unknowingly demolish your lunch hour in what seems like minutes. We'd say the adorable, irreverent art style and dialog have something to do with it.

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