In Tree Wars (out now, $0.99), squirrels are the good little guys defending the Tree of Life, while the bigger badder beavers have aligned themselves with evil.

As with many other similar strategy games, you’ve got to defend your home turf (the squirrel castle in this case) and also attack and destroy the enemy’s house. You can send out various fighters as and when they become available. There’s a “building” time involved, so you’ve got to wait for each warrior or magical ability to load. In addition, you’ve got to pay gold acorns (collected after killing enemies) in order to unlock new warriors or powers. With these same acorns, you can also upgrade your squirrels up to three times within a level.

1458551_654618281247562_340456886_nThe first time you beat a level, you’ll be awarded a green jewel. With these gems, you can permanently upgrade your castle and squirrel fighters up to five times each. For instance, you may strengthen your castle or add an arrow tower to kill approaching beavers.

After the initial two levels, you’ll have to destroy more than one beaver house. In addition, the path is sometimes split, and you’ll have to point your squirrels down the path of your choice by tapping a wooden signboard to turn it. Sometimes, trees will block your path, and your squirrels will have to chop them down.

Although there are only 10 levels in Tree Wars, the game is extremely challenging so it’ll take you considerable effort to make it through all these levels. You can probably play the first three levels consecutively, but in level four the difficulty level shoots up. If you don’t go back to play the first few levels at the harder difficulties and buy some upgrades, it’s unlikely you’ll make it through level four. The beavers are all bigger and meaner than your squirrels, and their magical powers seem to be a whole lot more devastating. The fiery green meteors that rain down upon the squirrels can decimate your forces faster than you can build or heal them. For some reason, the enemy can summon their green fire much more frequently than you can unleash your milder orange fire. Evil gods, it appears, are on the beavers’ side.

iFanzine Verdict: Tree Wars has cute artwork coupled with fun sound effects and animation. Due to the sharp difficulty curve, the game may feel like a lot of hard work, but once you get past level four it gets more interesting. Tree Wars may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy strategy games and are up for a hefty challenge, the squirrels should be well worth your while.