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    cjvitek's Avatar
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    Default Review: Dragon Slaughter

    Dragon Slaughter Episode II: Dragon Castle, by Rockifone.com.
    $2.99, ***1/2


    • Interesting method of tower special abilities
    • Multiple play modes

    • Can be difficult to place towers
    • No “easy guide” for tower abilities
    • Not all color combinations are possible
    • Enemy information is difficult to see

    Dragon Slaughter Episode II is another tower defense game, this time entering the world of the arcane. By this point, most people should be familiar with the tower defense games – build a series of towers to defend against attackers. As such, I am not going to describe the game play as much as describe what makes this game somewhat different.

    In most tower defense games, you are presented with a handful of tower types, each of which has a different function – the “glue” tower, the “bomb” tower, the “rapid fire” tower, etc. Some tower defense games have modified this format a little bit by allowing tower customization. Dragon Slaughter takes the tower customization to a new level, and in my mind this is the primary selling point of the game.

    In Dragon Slaughter, when you build a tower, it is a generic “white” tower. As you collect money, you can invest gems of varying colors (red, purple, green, blue, and yellow) in the tower. The interesting facet is that each gem imparts a different ability in the tower. Red gems, for example, a aimed at power and defense – more damage, basically. On the other hand, green gems are aimed at range.

    With each tower, you can add up to three gems, either of the same colors or mixing and matching abilities. By mixing different colors, you can produce different results. Two red gems means a tower has 10% more damage. But a red and yellow gem means a tower give you 30% more money when an enemy is killed. Add a blue to the red and yellow mix, and now the tower has a 10% change to “steal” 5% of the enemies hit points for cash! The game lists that there are 30 different “special” combinations, so presumably not every mix and match will produce a special feature. For the combination that don’t produce a “special” feature, presumably the tower just has the combined abilities of the two gems, but the game doesn’t make this clear. I do know for a fact the sometimes adding a different gem can actually REDUCE the towers potentcy (I added a blue gem to a tower with two red gems, and max damage decreased by 30 points!) The tower combos are only present is either all gems are the same, or all gems are different. I wish the there were actually the full gambit of special combo abilities.

    But actually, I sort of don’t. One drawback to the game is that while there is a quick reference sheet, it is not available when you are actually building a tower. So if you have a tower that has a blue gem in it, unless you have the sheet memorized (or look in advance), you may not know what adding a yellow gem or red gem will do (double speed but reduced damage and range, or 14% change to do double damage, respectively). I wish there were some way to have a “what if” option when building towers – what if I add a red gem? What if I add a blue gem? That would be really helpful when building towers.

    The game also have some other faults – placing towers can be somewhat difficult, because it is based on a hexagonal grid which I found difficult to manipulate. The game also have element “weaknesses” – where some enemies are not as effected by certain gems, but the enemy information was not readily apparent (and I don’t know what happen if you have a multiple gems mixed in a tower – it the tower negatively affected for all the colors?)

    All in all, I really like the idea of the completely customizable towers, but it seems like they dropped the ball a little bit. Either you have to memorize all 30 different combinations, or you have to guess what will happen. In addition, some combinations aren’t explained in the game (why did my tower I mentioned above lose 30 points of damage?). There is a free version of the game, so give it a try if you like tower defense style games before you pay the $2.99, but until some of these problems are fixed, I am only going to give it three and a half stars.

    Rating scale:

    * = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
    ** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
    *** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
    **** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
    ***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

    Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.

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