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Army of Darkness: Defense Review
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Army of Darkness: Defense, a side-scrolling castle defense game based on the cult classic movie, has been released by Backflip Studios and is now available from the app store. Featuring nice graphics, RPG elements, and plenty of references to the movie (including more than 100 lines of actual dialogue), Army of Darkness: Defense provides a decent homage to its source of inspiration and an enjoyable timewaster, to boot.

Army of Darkness: Defense Pros:

  • Great cartoon presentation that brings the movie alive
  • Nice soundtrack and over 100 lines of actual movie dialogue
  • Simple touch-based controls
  • RPG elements for upgrading Ash, troops, special abilities, and castle
  • GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements

Army of Darkness: Defense Cons:

  • Backdrop and dialogue get stale and repetitive
  • Little actual strategy necessary to beat the game

Taking on the role of Bruce Campbell’s character, Ash, you must defend the castle from 50 waves of Deadites who are bent on taking possession of the Necronomicon and breaching the castle wall. To aid you in your task, you earn access to additional manpower, such as peasants, swordsmen, spearmen, archers, armored knights, and more. You also earn access to special rechargeable skills, like the Boomstick, the Wrong Book, Flaming Arrows, Chainsaw, and more. A strategic decision must be made as far as which men and skills you’d like available for each wave, as you can only use 5 types of men and equip 2 skills at any given time. Both are also upgradeable by spending in-game currency that is both accumulated after killing Deadites and earned by clearing a wave. Upgrades will improve stats like armor, attack power, and health. Additionally, metal bars are acquired after killing some Deadites, which are used by your upgradeable blacksmith to allow you to summon help at a quicker pace.

Gameplay is restricted to a single plane, not allowing you to maneuver around the castle floor as you might in games like Knight’s Rush. You also cannot target individual enemies. Basically, we found it effective to run as far as possible from the get-go to put as much distance between you and the Necronomicon as possible, while summoning some low-level help. Take a couple of shots at the first enemy (Ash fires automatically) while continuing to call on helpers, slowly moving backward to avoid attacks by the enemies, as you can only take a handful of hits before you die. Little by little, you are giving up ground to the horde, using special skills as much as possible to blow away the front line enemies and regain some ground. Rinse and repeat until all foes have been vanquished. Upgrading Ash and low-level help seems most effective, making Ash withstand attacks more effectively and causing more damage per attack for best results. Since there isn’t a great deal of difference between your men, maxing out with cheaper help can go a long way. It would be nice to see some improvements that add more strategic elements to the game, but despite its relatively easy difficulty, it remains a lot of fun to play.

Graphically, Army of Darkness: Defense has a polished look and feel that includes a pleasing cartoonish presentation and plenty of great animations. Things do have a tendency to get a bit cluttered, though, when both sides begin to clash, making it difficult to determine exactly who is in the mix. Also, while the backdrop is nice, it does get stale when you see the same castle walls, steps, and other structures in wave after wave of action. The soundtrack is great, the spoken lines are clear, and the use of movie quotes should please any fan, but the frequency of repetition does get to be grating after a while, too. Controls are all touch-based, using left/right arrows to move Ash and requiring button taps to summon help or invoke a special ability.

Replay value is decent, as completing the campaign does unlock an endless mode that allows you to challenge yourself to last as long as possible before being overrun. You can also acquire coins via IAP if you don’t care to grind a bit to earn your upgrades, but these are completely optional and in no way affect your ability to complete or enjoy the game. GameCenter integration allows for global leaderboards and achievements. For the introductory price of $0.99 (or $2.99 for the HD version), Army of Darkness: Defense is a 4-Dimple, cinema-inspired take on the castle defense genre.

Army of Darkness: Defense Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-05-17T02:10:22+00:00 rating 4.0 out of 5



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