Kingdom Rush is tower defense at its finest: defense of your kingdom’s entrance through the erecting and upgrading of towers is the aim, and a range of supernatural and mythical beings are the invaders that are trying to make it from one end of the path to the other.
When invaders come into close proximity with the towers, attacks are exchanged automatically; the round is over either once you have destroyed all of the enemies with at least one life intact or once you are overrun by enemies and have been unsuccessful in your defense attempts.
The game’s most attractive feature is the range of tower upgrades that are available. The four basic tower types consist of archers, barracks (footmen), artillery, and mage (magic-wielding) towers, each of which are purchased for different amounts of gold. Once you have progressed far enough into the game to unlock the necessary upgrade levels, you can pay to level up your tower and in the final levelling up you can choose to convert the tower into one of two possible choices for each type.
For instance, archers (or more accurately, ‘ranged’) towers can become either a musketeer garrison with impressive range and spells such as an instant-kill shot or it can become a rangers hideout that is capable of dealing damage to large numbers of enemies and can poison enemies for long-term damage.
The range of enemies in the game is also extremely vast, with creatures like goblins, trolls, giant spiders, gargoyles, yetis and skeletons each having their own particular attributes such as speed, strength, resistance to attack etc.; magic enemies are highly resistant to magic attacks from your mage towers, for example, though magic is capable of penetrating regular armour extremely quickly, so adapting your choice of towers and upgrades to the likely enemies you will face is an extremely important tactic in Kingdom Rush.
You can also summon a variety of ‘heroes’ once you have unlocked them; these stamp about on the paths and have their own particular attacks and powers, and can swing a match in your favour.
Kingdom Rush from developer Ironhide is a game that should never, ever be forgotten due to its incredible game play and highly-original visual style that will persist in your memory long after completing it. Even amongst all the fuss about the long-awaited sequel, Kingdom Rush 2, this is the original that set the benchmark at an extremely high level for all tower defense games of the future.