The iPhone was made for tower defense. There’s a ton of options on the App Store when it comes to finding a good one, so why should you choose Lich Defense (Out Now, $1.99 $0.99 Sale) over the others? Simply put, there’s much more to this game than just defending a tower.

The script is somewhat flipped in this one, as you play on the side of the bad guys. Well, sort of. You see the lich is doing the world a favor by guarding a gateway that has some potential evil behind it. But people don’t believe it — so they attack and he defends. Nonetheless, you play as the ugly guys in this one as opposed to the good-looking humans like you usually do. Controls are what you’d expect with you tapping where you want your tower to be. There were times when the accuracy was off but those were few and way far between.

Gameplay is similar to most tower defense games, which means you have to strategically place various types of towers all around the map in order to protect something. In this case, you’re protecting a giant lich and this is where the game differs greatly. The lich is basically a base you’re protecting except that this base has weapons of it’s own that can turn the tide of any match. Not only can you upgrade the individual types of towers, but you can also upgrade the lich himself in order to heal your towers or cause massive damage to the hordes that are coming at you. I absolutely love this aspect of the game as you usually hang your head in shame once the wave makes it passed your towers. This way there’s a last stand that might give you the win at the end.

Another aspect of the game is the 3-goal system that you’ve seen in a ton of games but not so much in this genre. You get bonuses for surviving the level and performing certain tasks such as not using a specific tower or your lich not losing any health. This adds to the replayability of each level and the fact that it’s not a necessity to advancing is a nice touch too.

The game looks amazing and the towers are diverse and evil looking. The lich himself also looks like a menacing enough demon. Some of the spell animations are a treat to watch and look devastatingly painful when unleashed. The waves that come out look heroic and bright and it gives you a strange satisfaction to mutilate them. There is a variety of levels that range from lava infested lands to snow and ice covered mountains. The music is quite repetitive but not so overly annoying that you’re going to want to smash your device.

The one problem I do have with Lich Defense is the evil that is the in-app purchases. The game costs money, and I feel that it should be less of a grind in order to earn in game currency. Asking players to cough up more money after paying 2 bucks for a game is a pretty shifty deal and something I’m absolutely against. Luckily the game is good and fun enough to warrant multiple play-throughs making the grinding much more enjoyable.

iFanzine Verdict: Lich Defense is a tower defense game with enough innovation to stand out in a bloated genre. There are a ton of levels to play and upgrades, spells and towers to unlock. Unfortunately,  IAPs are abundant and that’s a drag because the game already costs some money. But if you love this game as much as I do, you won’t mind grinding through it over and over.