Update: Fieldrunners 2 HD is now available from the app store. The long-awaited iPad version of the latest iteration in this tower defense series features retina support for the new iPad, 5 additional towers, and iCloud support. The extra space available on the iPad just feels like a more natural way to play the game, though its $7.99 price tag may cause some gamers a bit of sticker shock. Frankly, we love Fieldrunners any way we can get it and strongly encourage iPad owners to snag this one.
Fieldrunners 2, the latest in the outstanding tower defense series from Subatomic Studios, is now available from the app store. Years of waiting have finally paid off with another polished strategic offering that improves upon the original in almost every way.
Fieldrunners 2 Pros:
- Crisp cartoon presentation and smooth animations despite tons of simultaneous action
- Soundtrack is great and sound effects add to the package
- Tap controls are easy to use and intuitive
- Multiple environments and difficulty levels, 20 different tower types, and purchasable perks
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements
Fieldrunners 2 Cons:
- Difficulty can be steep for some levels and modes, even on casual
- Not a universal app
Fieldrunners 2 tasks you with placing various defensive towers upon the playing area to prevent enemies from reaching the opposite side of the map. Some areas are fixed-path, where the fieldrunners will follow a specific pathway to reach their endpoint. Others are open-path, where the fieldrunners will make their own way around your tower placements, forcing you to try to direct their paths or funnel them into areas where you can eviscerate them. Within these frameworks, there are different objectives. Sudden Death asks you to defeat a specific number of foes with only minimal escapees allowed. Time Trial adds a short timer within which you have to kill a certain amount of fieldrunners, though escapees won’t count against you. Puzzle is a special type, with quirky objectives to complete. There are 20 towers you’ll encounter in a variety of styles, unlocking new defenses as you progress. Towers can be upgraded a couple of times to increase power and effectiveness, and they can be sold to free up funds as needed (though you will incur a penalty to discourage such behavior). One great strategic feature is the tower loadout selector, which gives the gamer the opportunity to select which tower types to take into battle rather than get pigeon-holed into the ones provided by the devs. Additionally, there are items that can be purchased with in-game currency to alter various aspects of the game, like rewinds, mines, and more. These options create a great mix-and-match ability that opens up tons of possibilities for customization.
Altering your strategy to fit your opponents is even more crucial this time around, as the runners are much craftier now. They can spread out to split your defenses or bunch up for protection. Bridges and tunnels factor in to looping, trusting that the gamer can formulate a plan to incorporate the environmental structures to lure the runners into deadly choke points. Each level has three difficulty options, where you can earn between one and three stars for completing them on the corresponding level. Stars are used to unlock new levels, as well as gain access to additional tower types. Your level end point totals are translated into coins, as well, which are used to purchase enhancements. The game’s presentation retains the feel of the original while offering a more robust and exciting experience that is accessible to hardcore gamers and casual players alike.
Graphically, the retina upgrade creates a crisp look, while the colorful cartoon imagery looks even better than before. There is now a world map that allows you to see and choose from a couple dozen levels in a variety of environments. Character animations have been improved, with dead runners often falling and sliding to a stop and helicopters spinning out of control before crashing into the ground. We experienced no slowdowns, even with a ton of action occurring on-screen. You can choose to have persistent grids appear over the landscape, though they are hidden by default. When you drag a tower from the screen bottom into the map, grid lines will appear and the tower will glow red or green depending on whether it can be placed under its hovering position. Running lines also appear to indicate the paths that the runners will utilize given your tower configurations, a helpful little detail. Tower buttons are dimmed until you have enough money to purchase, at which point they will shine brightly. You money total, accumulated points, remaining waves, remaining timer, item count button, airstrike button, and more adorn the screen top as dictated by the level type. You can pause and fast-forward the level with buttons in the bottom left corner. The soundtrack and sound effects are clear and satisfying, adding to the game’s enjoyment. Tap-and-drag controls are responsive and intuitive, working as they did in the previous version.
Replay value is outstanding, and there is plenty of content to keep gamers happy for quite some time. When a level is completed, you are given the option to play endlessly, which gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself to earn higher and higher scores with more refined and varied strategies. GameCenter integration allows you to compare scores with other gamers and earn achievements, too. You can also find several images of other people’s tower configurations online if you get really stumped on a level. For $2.99, Fieldrunners 2 is an outstanding follow-up worthy of a shiny 5-Dimple score.
Fieldrunners 2 Review,