Kingdom Rush Frontiers (out now, $2.99/$4.99) is the welcome sequel to the extremely well-received tower defense title Kingdom Rush (our review). Although that in itself should give it some oomph in the iTunes charts, making a sequel is a difficult task to please both fans and newcomers to the series alike. Thankfully, developer Ironhide has once again reminded us why we love the seemingly repetitive tower defense genre.
Since Frontiers features new terrains, new enemies, new towers, and new everything, I could just write about what’s new in this sequel over the first game. But I’m not. I’m going to treat this game as a newcomer would, because that’s exactly what I am.
I’ve played many tower defense games on my iPhone and iPad over the past few years. None have been as engaging and frantic as Kingdom Rush Frontiers. Rather placing your towers and then sitting back to watch your enemies die or survive, Frontiers has you actively placing reinforcements around the map, switching towers for different enemies, and moving your ‘hero’ about to contribute to the battle. The challenging nature of the game means it requires full concentration, and that’s what makes it so awesome.
The depth of Frontiers can easily be explained via layers. Essentially, there are 3 defensive layers — the towers, the hero, and the three power abilities in the bottom right corner of the screen. These elements can then be split into their own respective layers. There are four different tower types, each upgradeable. There are several different heroes that you can upgrade with different abilities. The three ‘power’ options can be upgraded and swapped for different options. All of these layers can be divided into even more layers of upgrades, and would take at least an hour to explain, but you get the gist.
If I had to – and I mean absolutely must – complain about something, it would be the difficulty level. I’ve been playing all of the levels at ‘Normal’ difficulty level and that is quite challenging, even from the very first level. I probably just suck at it, but for players who want to whiz through the game, they might not find it so easy. I’m not one of those players, so that isn’t a personal complaint.
One last feature of Frontiers which I must touch on are the little animations within each level. Everything is brought to the life, even in the smallest of characters – the hero, the little guys on your bow-and-arrow tower, the enemies, your reinforcements, and more. From what I can recall, there are little dudes placed in one spot on each level who occasionally shoot at the enemy. For example, on a sandy terrain, there may be a guy with a shotgun in the cliffs on the side. They are cute animated characters that add to the whole cartoony-yet-serious gameplay.
iFanzine Verdict: Kingdom Rush: Frontiers is a well-executed sequel to one of the best tower defense games on the App Store. There is just so much depth to it from the little animations of the characters to the upgrade system of your hero. Ironhide clearly isn’t just trying to make money off the Kingdom Rush name, but also please fans and newcomers of the series. They have achieved that by a mile and more.