Sentinel 3: Homeworld, the 3rd installment in the popular tower defense series from Origin8, is now available from the app store. With Mars and Earth taking the brunt of the damages from the first couple of games, the alien’s turf becomes the new battleground in our latest fight for supremacy.
Sentinel 3:Homeworld Pros:
- Rich, detailed graphics utilizing retina display
- Terrific techno soundtrack
- OpenFeint and GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements
- Deep strategic gameplay
- Lots of maps, weapons, and customizable gameplay aspects
- Lengthy campaign, classic, and endless modes
Sentinel 3:Homeworld Cons:
- Highly-detailed maps can overcomplicate things, making it difficult to discern important objects
- Some icons can obscure our view
- Occasional re-tapping necessary to select turrets
Sentinel 3 goes above and beyond the previous installments, offering 14 maps and 20 levels in Campaign mode. Classic mode provides pre-set parameters with two flavors of gameplay: Assault contains a certain number of waves while Endurance asks you to play until you’re overcome. A separate Endless mode also allows you to select your own equipment without fixed wave restrictions. The non-Campaign modes have a number of maps available from the get-go, with more unlocked as you progress through the Campaign. Four difficulty levels allow you to customize the game to your current skill set for maximum enjoyment.
Prior to starting a battle, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Armory and Commander screens to tailor the experience for the upcoming struggle. The armory gives access to your selection of ground units and sentinel weapons, which are earned and unlocked during the course of play. Through credits earned by completing maps, you can purchase weapon slots and equip them with available weapons, with up to 8 ground units and 6 sentinel weapons available to be taken into battle. Neither allows you to take all possible weapons with you, requiring some strategic planning to use only the weapons that will be most advantageous to you. A new Commander unit is utilized in each conflict, with the ability to gain experience to improve its stats across 4 categories (Health, Strength, Shot Damage, and Morale), as well as purchase abilities such as repair, rage, and stomp for use in battle. This unit also fires upon and defeats opponents just as the other turrets do.
The battlegrounds consist of fixed pathways that culminate at a base, with various barriers placed along the way. Typically, your Commander unit will guard one of the barriers. Turrets must be purchased and placed around the map to destroy any and all enemies that cross your path. There are more than 20 unlockable turrets, ship weapons, drones, and abilities to help in beating back the masses. At the conclusion of each wave, you earn interest bonuses for not using money to purchase new turrets or upgrades, factory bonuses, barrier bonuses, and base bonuses that are contingent on the health of your structures.
Graphically, the retina display supported graphics really bring out the terrific textures and atmospheric ambience that helps the Sentinel series stand apart from the competition. There is an impressive level of detail in the environments and animations that give the game a sense of realism that’s not often seen in mobile games. Unfortunately, the levels are so detailed and packed with items that discerning the actual path or quickly picking out your turret layout can be difficult. The screen layout allows for a lot of pertinent info that remains tucked away for maximum access to the gaming area. Your score, wave number, and dollar amount are in the upper left corner, available turrets are across the screen bottom, pause and fast-forward buttons are in the upper right, and specialized sentinel weapons are accessible from an icon in the lower right, which sometimes obscures our view of oncoming enemies. The soundtrack is fast-paced techno that pumps you up and keeps you hooked. Controls are strictly touch-based, with drag-and-drop for turret placement and taps for select units to upgrade or sell and sentinel weapons to deploy. Units can only be placed if the surrounding area glows green, and environmental objects can either aid or hinder your ability to defend successfully against the enemies. While the controls are easy to use, we had some issues where it required a few taps to select certain turrets for upgrading/selling, which was a bit annoying in the heat of battle.
Replay value is outstanding, with both OpenFeint and GameCenter integration for global high scores and achievements, multiple difficulty levels, endless modes, and a lengthy Campaign to keep gamers occupied for quite some time. One great feature allows you to see the layouts of individuals who have topped the leaderboards, giving you great insight into successful tactics utilized by other players. We were impressed to see how Origin8 has built upon and improved an already solid gaming experience. For $3.99, Sentinel 3 is a 4.5-Dimple stud worth snagging if you enjoy tower defense games and deep strategic gameplay.
Sentinel 3: Homeworld Review,