World War 2 has always been fertile ground for Video games, particularly First Person Shooters. However the subject has infiltrated more genres than you would care to think, especially now that the era is now out of favour with most FPS’s at this time. However, iBomber Defense is a top down tower defense title from Chillingo that is set during this era and it would appear that the setting and genre fit together quite nicely!
iBomber Defense’s campaign mode has you protecting what appear to be large corrugated iron sheds from waves of Nazi incursion. They may look insignificant but if you allow more than 15 enemies into your shed, then it’s game over. Not quite Operation Market Garden but hey! Maps themselves can have multiple routes to your shed and tough decisions need to be made about where to place your defences for best use. Waves generally start off easily enough with infantry or small naval craft making up the first couple of waves, however light vehicles will start to mix it up with the cannon fodder and then the heavier tanks and battleships will join the fight towards the end and on later maps air raids will add another layer of strategy to the game, however these are announced to you at least 4 waves before they happen thus allowing you to prepare for them. Your defences range from machine gun nests to Cannon’s and AA guns. These can be set up anywhere on the map that a grid is located. If there is a square available, then you can plonk them down! This grid, however, does not cover the entire map so some areas are off-limits.
Defences also have an attack range which encompass them. This means that any enemy that strays within your defences attack range will be fired upon. Defending your territory will cost you money though and once your initial pile has been used for first defences money will need to be acquired from the enemies you take down. Ultimately though you will need to decide where to place each defense in order to get the best results. As well as your main weapons though, you also have access to a couple of weapons that enhance your armoury. The Comms tower enhances the attack range of any defences that are near it, while the sabotage weapon slows down the enemy it hits, thus giving your defences extra time to pound on the enemy. The last point I need to make is that all of your defences can be upgraded by collecting stars, which are given out at the succesful conclusion to each mission. Each defense can be upgraded twice but will cost you the same amount of cash than it would to place a defense in another location so managing your defences becomes a harder decision. iBomber defense also uses a counterattack system which allows the enemy to bomb a previous map and any unlucky defenses you had in their path. Then you are tasked with using the remaining terrain to fend off more attack waves that can come from different paths that weren’t there before. You also have access to some useful tools in the top right corner of your screen and these include a pause function, Fast forward, options and a Rewind function. Pause is pretty self-explanatory and Fast forward allows you to speed up the game if you are finding the pace a little pedestrian. Options offers you the chance to change the volume of the sound effects, quit the map or to restart the map over. The rewind function allows you to restart the wave that you are currently on this means you restart the wave with the cash and defences you started the wave off with, the catch though, is that this function will not be available to you for the next three waves so use it wisely! The rewind feature and counterattack missions along with the upgrade system, adds great depth to the core game which is already enjoyable and challenging. Not to mention the three difficulty levels on offer. The only criticism I can level at the game is that you’ll be looking at loading screens for a good chunk of your time booting the game up but considering the quality and pace of the game, It’s not a deal breaker!
Away from the campaign the game has quickplay, which allows standalone games on any of the maps available in the campaign mode. Here you can post scores and attempt to beat your friends. The Bonus missions mode offers standalone maps again that can be played at your leisure, but these maps already contain some fortifications and it is up to you to reinforce these as you see fit however the same gameplay and conditions apply as in quickplay. Overall there is a great amount of content that should keep you busy for many, many hours!
Controls are all touch based through the front touchscreen only. Placing defenses is a case of choosing from what’s available at the bottom of the screen, and dragging it on-screen to where you wish to bolster your defense. You are also able to zoom in and out of the map by pinching the screen to give you a better view of the battle, The system is easy and intuitive to use and is perfect for this genre in my opinion.
The game graphics are 2D and the maps themselves are reminiscent of maps you see used in old war films. While the vehicles, units and defensive weaponry are all highly detailed, down to the Nazi symbols emblazoned on certain enemy units. The only problem the game has visually is when you have a lot happening on the screen at once, particularly when you get the big battleships up on-screen, then you can get a slight stutter, but up to that point the game never runs into any trouble and these instances are few and far between!
The game utilises sound sparingly,with background music running through menus and title screen. However while you are defending your turf you’ll be greeted to the sound of weapons fire and explosions and to be fair you wont be too bothered by a lack of soundtrack. It’s a small shame that your enemies are as silent as ninja’s though. No marching soldiers or vehicle sounds that I could pick up, however for some later levels it may be for the best, as the screen can literally fill with enemies coming at you from different directions, the amount of noise that would be needed may just be too much.
I have been mightily impressed with iBomber Defense overall and my play time has exceeded 5 hours in total through the main campaign alone. With bonus missions and quickplay modes offering good depth to an already impressive title, while the upgrade system and the counterattack missions offer extra variety. I really didn’t want the campaign to end!
All in all then I can wholeheartedly recommend iBomber Defense to anyone looking for an excellent example of the Tower Defense genre available for the PS Vita, it covers all the basics for beginners nicely while adding some extra ideas of its own to round out the package and give it more depth, and all for a bargain price to Das Boot!
At A Glance
- Title: iBomber Defense (International)
- Publisher: Chillingo
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 315Mb