Review: Radiant Defense
Radiant Defense, developed by Hexage is a colorful Tower Defense game set as a “sequel” to the popular Radiant, which is a arcade/action space shooter inspired by games such as Space Invaders. Yeah, a bit of a weird sequel idea. Your in charge of stopping alien invasions by an alien commander that is incompetent. So is Radiant Defense a worthy Tower-defense game or one to throw into the bin? Well, read on and you’ll find out…
Radiant Defense, if I had to label it anything at all, its unique. It is a single player game with an online score board that you can submit your scores to and compare to other players. The colorful, yet old-style inspired graphics are a trademark of Hexage and no less impressive in this game. It is a feast for the eyes and the various colors are fun to look at. The audio is a good, solid OST that complements the game very well. The presentation of the game is very well done and if you’ve ever played any of Hexage’s other games, its very familiar especially for Robotek players. There is no real difference in UI or functionality between the iPhone and iPad besides the screen size difference. Its a great presentation. In typical Tower defense fashion, Radiant gives you a choice of towers and you have to fend off waves of enemies. While you do get a preset level to play on, the game also gives you a certain number of modules to dictate where the enemies will path through. Look at the screenshot below to see what I’m talking about. The game also has a “research unit” that allow the construction of additional towers in the level. The research unit is also required every game in order to allow the building of the tower packs that you can purchase for 99 cents each. The aliens that attack are varied and colorful and there are apparently over 100 different aliens that you get to fight.
The game begins to fall apart when you start playing in the first few levels. Most of the towers shoot at random times and there is an accuracy/physics to each tower’s shots. So its entirely possible for you to have enemies slip through your defenses because all your towers missed. In all the tower defense games I’ve played, this mechanic mystifies me because I have never seen it used and for good reason. Its frustrating to have enemies get through because your towers just happened to miss. Also, the AI for the towers is poorly done, as they will shoot at random enemies most of the time rather than at the most important ones, the ones closest to the end of the road. I lost several games because the towers were not shooting the most important targets. The difficulty level is also incredibly high considering I was only on level two and failing. Which is mostly caused by the fact that the waves seem to be unbalanced. One wave, you can have two towers at base level easily kill them and then the next wave those upgraded towers plus additional tower are no longer able to keep the wave down and you got mowed over. Its a very unforgiving setup which is mystifying considering how flexible the game is with allowing you to dictact where the enemies get pathed and variety of towers. Plus, the amount of money that aliens drop per kill is simply too low for how costly the towers/research units are and they are very expensive. Its clear they had some interesting ideas about TD, but it plays off as too random and based on chance and as such, very frustrating to play in the TD-genre.
I also have to slam the lack of iCloud sync between iOS devices or any type of sync for that matter. This game would easily be suited for it and its rather jarring to have a game app show up on the store without some sort of sync. And really, considering how many devices this game supports, it makes me wonder why they didn’t try something. The iOS version also requests an iTunes password when you load the game for no explicable reason and maybe its for the IAPs, but I’d rather it would wait until I actually requested to purchase the tower packs. The freemium based model this game uses is also questionable for a tower defense game and I don’t think it works all that well. I certainly don’t have any compulsion to buy the tower packs that are offered.
That said, Radiant Defense looks and sounds good. If your looking for a challenging Tower Defense game, you may be interested. The game is certainly very unique in the mobile crowd and I’m glad to see devs trying something new. I personally won’t be playing it after the review as I didn’t find the humor to be funny and the game mechanics poorly implemented. The game just isn’t all that fun. However, it is free after all so it doesn’t hurt to try it out.
Radiant Defense is developed by Hexage for the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Windows 7 Phone, Android, and Mac. Requires iOS 3.2 or later. Requires Android 2.2 or later. Requires Mac OSX 10.7 or later. It is a universal app on the iOS store and is free on all platforms with no advertisements. It does have in-app-purchases that are optional for 99 cents in order to increase the amount of towers you can have. This review only covers the iPhone & iPad versions, but the experience should be the same on all platforms. There is no social media integration, except an optional scoreboard hosted by Hexage.