Weekend Head to Head Review: Fieldrunners
First off, what is a “head-to-head” review? Simply put, both Matt and I will be reviewing the same program, providing two different opinions and perspectives. We will each write our own review without knowledge of the other persons review, and then post them in a joint thread. The reason for this? Simple – it is to emphasize the point that these reviews are opinions. As such, what one person thinks is crap (or CrApp?), another person may really enjoy. Or one person may find a flaw with an application that the other person never encountered (or didn’t consider too severe). Or we may both love it (or hate it). Reviews are opinions, and ultimately it is your own opinion about an application that matters the most. So remember that when reading this review (and others) – we are simply offering our opinion, and your experience may be completely different. We will try to do these once a week or so. Now onto the review…
I had never heard of “tower defender” style games until I started playing Desktop Tower Defender on the computer. Once I started playing that, I was hooked – such a simple concept, yet one that allows for such variation in game play! So when I saw the FieldRunners game (a tower defender style game) I thought it would be a good candidate for our first head-to-head review.
The first thing I noticed when I started the game is that it has a very polished feel to it. The graphics are crisp, and the game play is pretty straightforward. You can select one of three levels of play (easy, medium, and hard). The easier the game, the fewer points you can get, while on the more difficult setting you can get more points. I started on the easy setting, since it was the first time I played.
The game play itself is very simple – you have four tower options (a gun, a “squirt” tower, a rocket tower, and an electric tower). Each tower costs a certain amount of money, and you can upgrade each of the towers (after they are placed) for more money. The “fieldrunners” enter from the left side of the screen and try to make it to the home base on the right side of the screen. Your job – kill them before they do that. There are a wide number of runner types – ranging from guys who just run to motorcycle guys to airplanes to tanks. Each fieldrunner you kill gives you more money, to buy new towers or upgrade existing towers.
Sounds simple, right? Well, part of the complexity of the game is building and upgrading your towers while the fieldrunners are trying to run across. You don’t have much of a pause to consider strategy or anything – the game can be pretty fast paced. Note, you can pause the game to place new towers and upgrade existing towers, but I sort of consider that cheating.
The graphics are very nice, although I noticed that when you have multiple towers next to each other it becomes a little difficult to distinguish between them. Due to the 3d effect, they overlap each other a little bit. It is fun to see the tower turrets rotating to orient on an enemy, or see a missile fired off at an airplane flying overhead.
My biggest problem with the game is that there isn’t much room for expansion. There are only four tower types, and each one can only be upgraded two times max. Beyond that, there isn’t really anything else to do or to add. On the easy level, I found myself with a full maze of towers, each one fully upgraded, and just getting more and more money with which I couldn’t do anything! Now, on the harder levels, it is harder to build a complete maze as quickly as I did, but I think it is still possible. This means that at some point there isn’t much you can do (unless you continually take down towers and replace them with different ones). I would have liked to see more tower options, or more upgrade options. I believe upgrading just increases the damage the tower does – it doesn’t do anything to the range or the rate of fire. Being able to choose which of the three options to upgrade (damage, rate of fire, range) would be a nice added feature, and would (in a way) increase the types of towers, since you could have a high range, low damage rocket tower or a low range, high damage rocket tower. Upgrading towers more than 2 times would also be a nice feature to add.
The other problem I had with the game was the game board itself. It was relatively small, and didn’t require a lot of manipulation. Some people may think this is good (it certainly made the game easier) but it also means there is less variability in the game play. Choosing between a different game board size would have improved the game immensely in my opinion. Either that, or choosing different layouts of the game board (with walls, or different shapes, etc) would help.
My final game-play criticism is that it would be nice to be able to choose different scenarios. Perhaps only have one type of attacker, limited funding, limited towers, etc. This would add some more variability to the game play.
Lastly, some more information in the help screen would be appreciated. Knowing the different between the enemy types (how they move, damage resistance, hit points, money, etc) would help out. They do provide some basic information with the help screen, but not enough.
You may notice that a lot of my criticisms involve aspects of game play that Desktop Tower Defender does incorporate. There is a reason it is so popular, and I think the issues I listed previously have something to do with it. I am not a programmer, so I can only guess – but I suspect there is a fine line between focusing on graphics when developing an application, and focusing on game complexity. You have to balance the two, and if you focus too much on one, you lose a bit on the other end. IMO, this game focused too much on “looking nice” and needed more on the actual gameplay.
I certainly do not want to imply that this game is not fun. It is fun, and can even be quite addictive (I am still trying to figure out how to achieve a perfect score on the medium level!). I have played it many times, and anticipate playing it again. It has (for the time being) become a permanent resident on my home screen. I was simply hoping for more, and pointed out some areas that the game seemed to be lacking.
Pros: Very nice graphics, smooth game play, easy to pick up, can be addicting to try to achieve a perfect score
Cons: Limited complexity means limited replay-ability, missing some features that would make it a top of the line tower defender game
All in all, this isn’t a bad game, and I don’t want to give the impression that it is. It was fun, and it looks very nice. But it got a little boring after a while, and without any variability in the game play, you are going to get the same result each time. At $4.99, it isn’t really overpriced, but I was hoping for a little more at that price. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Fieldrunners simply put, is a tower defense game. The rules are simple – keep the enemies from getting to the other side of the field.
So far is seems to be the best one in the iTunes app store. After downloading this game I found it very addicting.
There are 3 sets of difficulty Easy, Medium, & Hard. I’ve played to wav 100 on east and about wave 30 on medium, and finally wave 28 on hard. The waves get progressively harder – more units & harder to kill. Each enemy has a health bar on top of it. You are given 20 lives at the beginning, so if 20 enemies make it across, its game over!
The graphics are very nice for this game. I was surprised at the way the shadows changed on the grass when the gatling or the tesla tower fired, the shadows got lighter. Also these two towers actually light up, reflecting the light across the towers as they’d fire. Very impressive in my opinion. I was a little worried that the game you lag or even crash when the screen is full of animations, but I have yet to have had a problem.
There are only 4 towers to place – a gatling gun turret tower, a goo tower- to slow down enemies, a missile tower, and a tesla tower (the best) Each tower can upgrade twice (gives tower more fire power). If you wish to remove your tower or “sell” the tower, you have the ability to do so. You begin with $15 to buy a few towers to get you started. As you kill enemies you will gain more money, giving you the ability to upgrade bought towers or but more.
The game also utilizes the zoom feature, which makes it nice in placing your towers exactly where you want them. Dragging the tower icons from the lower right corner to the playing field places towers onto the field. A green circle is placed around the tower to show its shooting distance. By tapping on each tower you can either sell or upgrade the tower
My main complaint is this game has NO sound!! However according to the developer this is coming in the next update. Now I can see how this might become a RAM issue is you have 30 machine guns, 20 rocket launchers, etc. going off all at once. Hopefully the developer will be able to control this. It would also be nice, to have distant “battle sounds” when, moving around the playing field. There are 8 different types of enemies (I think), each with a differing difficulty to eliminate, which gets harder as you go through the waves.
Overall I find this app worth the price. I really hope there is good sound coming in an update soon.
-Addicting game play
-Only 4 towers
-Only 8 enemies
More screen shots can be found here.