Transoid: a New Light in the Tower Defense Genre

Price: $0.99   Rating: 9/10   By Daniel Bischofftransoid

Tower defense games are a dime-a-dozen in the App Store so if a developer is going to make a game in that genre, they have to put their own spin on it and make it stand out from the crowd. Transoid accomplishes just that.

Developer iauns takes the tower defense gameplay so many iPhone games have found success with and turns out the lights.  The main twist of the game is that if your units can’t see the objects coming towards the tower, they won’t be able to fend them off. As the player, you’re equipped with light sources in the form of a “core ship,” a light tower, and the reactor. The reactor is the tower you’re defending and its light pulses on and off.  The light tower is moveable and indestructible.  As such, it’s your main source of light and you can set it on a track at the start of each mission so you can have it cover a lot of ground as the enemy objects start flying in.  The core ship is your first defense unit and it’s spotlight moves as it targets different objects.

You can also light up areas with the tip of your finger. While this is helpful, it also means you can’t move your units around, so you’ll have to turn out the lights if you want to reposition a defense unit, your core ship, or the light tower. You can place and upgrade defense towers that range from laser units to missile launchers. These can take damage or be pushed aside by colliding enemy units, but you can reposition them during rounds.

The darkness certainly creeps in and it’s an effective way of specializing in the already crowded tower defense genre. At times I was a little scared, panicked and frustrated by the light mechanic in the game, but I think that means that the developer Iauns succeeded in their design goals. In a way, I was happy to feel those things compared to what the cartoony, bright graphics many other TD games use. The light mechanic also affects the gameplay, and that nuance does a lot to make the game feel less like a derivative of its competitors.

There are three levels to unlock and three difficulties to play on, so there’s plenty of game to play through and plenty of different enemies to shoot. I also liked the “boss-battles” the game will throw at you every few levels. Some enemies are so huge they take up most of the game board and can really strike the fear into the player.

If you like tower defense games but want something that feels different from the rest of the crowd, Transoid can light the way.

Transoid is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.  It requires the iPhone OS 3.0 or later.

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