Tank Hero

Tank Hero sports a warfare style 3D gameplay, where you are featured as a tank that has to destroy the enemy tanks around, to get to the next level. Sometimes, the levels resemble a maze structure, behind whose walls wander, enemy tanks. The fire from the opponent holds up reflection through walls and with more and more completions of levels, the user unlocks lots of new weaponry and powers – the tendency to reflect your fire through the walls is one such power that unlocks later.

Tank Hero has an option to play the game in three diverse game modes: Campaign, Survival and Time Trial – each one of them concentrating on the chief tank battle combat, but the criteria for winning varies from mode to mode, and so do the combat strategies and battle grounds/maps. Tank Hero also lets the user opt for a world to battle in. Initially, only one world is unlocked, while the rest of the worlds await you to progress and get them unlocked.

Tank Hero supports more than one type of camera for gameplay – the follow camera, tower camera etc to name a few. The game also gives you the option to choose between more than one input styles, Swipe and Tap being the easiest to handle. The game supports vibrations on different occasions, making it more realistic this way. Tank Hero also gives the player his/her Stats such as their ranking, score, play time, kills, etc.

More importantly, Load/Save game is supported. One major feature that adds immensely to the game’s value, apart from the thrilling gameplay itself, is the support for multiplayer gaming, other than the conventional single player mode.

Defender

Defender boasts a simple enough concept: you’ve been tasked with the defence of a walled city against waves of assailants, using a bow and a seemingly endless supply of arrows. Should any monster reach your wall, they’ll begin bashing it down. If your city walls are destroyed, then it’s time to restart the level and try again. Importantly you keep any coins you’ve made in your attempt, so you can still improve your defences even when you lose. It’s rarely game over, merely a set back and a little frustration.

You’re not limited to just arrows; to aid you in your plight you can employ spells to wipe out several enemies at once. Magic is particularly essential when it comes to the boss fights – but we won’t give too much away about those, other than completing a boss without magic is nigh-on impossible. There are three types of magic at your disposal – Fire, Ice and Lightning and each one can be upgraded as you play; although unlike the other upgrades, improving magic costs crystals, and these are only awarded for completing levels – so buy carefully.

Coins you earn can be spent on upgrading your bow or crossbow’s abilities – initially to do more damage or increase the firing rate, although later you can choose to push back enemies, improve the chance of fatally wounding your foes or eventually firing multiple arrows at once. You can also upgrade the City Wall, which essentially gives you more life, or you can improve your Magic Tower – giving you more mana for your spells. Occasionally you’ll also win new bows, that improve your chances against foes that have increasingly tougher armour.

This is a game that only really makes sense on a tablet, as choosing where to fire is controlled by your finger. Prod a creature, or piece of ground, and you’’ll unleash a salvo of arrows at that point. Swiping around the screen will produce a pleasing arc of pointy death too, that also happens to help stave off the oncoming assault. As enemies get closer to your wall, your hand can often obscure any incoming waves, but this just adds to the tension. Juggling this with dropping spells on the legions of doom can be tricky too, although again, this just adds to the tension. Overall it’s a good idea, well implemented.

The graphics in DroidHen’s little title are are excellent. There may be a limited number of baddies, but they’ve been lovingly animated with plenty of character. The painted backgrounds are beautiful, as are the icons for the spells, upgrades and bows. The music is somewhat unremarkable, and the sound effects can be a little grating, but the game loses very little when played with the sound muted.

One frustration is that you don’t ever feel that you’ve really overpowered, and that’s even after you’ve upgraded your bow, towers, mana-pool or spells. Sure, you can take out a couple of levels worth of monsters with 100% of your wall’s life remaining and reap the healthy load of coins for doing so, but you always know there’s another boss level looming which will bring you to your knees. And some of these bosses simply feel unfair, until that is you unlock the next upgrade that pushes you over the edge and means you’re doing enough to damage to win through.

Defender is free. Free to download and free to play. There are small adverts, but these are never intrusive. There is the option of micropayments though. There’s the ever-present temptation to skip much of the frustration of boss levels by augmenting your crystal and coin levels via the integrated shop – offering anything from 8,000 coins to (at $1.99 a pop) up to 270 crystals (costing you a fairly hefty $14.99). You don’t have to buy these and the value you get from doing so is limited (especially on the later levels where coins flow fairly easily), but we can certainly see the appeal. You can only get those all-important crystals from completing levels, so there can come a point where you simply don’t feel you can get enough damage out to keep going, which is exactly when you credit card will begin to itch.

Overall, Defender has become something of a favourite for us here on EAT. It’s a great game that benefits from the space afforded by a large tablet screen for focusing fire on your enemies and for showing off the game’s beautiful artwork. We feel the core gameplay does need some tweaking to make it a real classic and stop it from being a relentless assault, but it’s certainly addictive – and that’s always a good sign that it’s a game that’s doing something right. Not perfect, but perfectly good fun for zero cash.

I Dig It

I Dig It is basically you (the dill operator) vs. the great unknown underground. Your goal is the root around under the earth and try to uncover as much treasure as possible. You return this treasure to your farm house, where it’s sold, then gas up at the gas station, and upgrade/repair your violent drilling machine in the garden shed (the mad workshop). Earning money let’s you upgrade your drill to allow you to progress in the game.

The Good

864297_3The first thing you realize in this game is that there is a bit more strategy that you may expect. As you drill down you realize how susceptible to the elements your drilling rig is. if you drop without slowing you decent or smash in to the walls or ceiling too hard you will do damage to your rig. If you dig too far down your rig will overheat. If you venture out too far and run out of gas you will be stranded and the game will be over. Also as you go down your field of vision becomes limited. You need to upgrade your radar to see the goodies around you.

Of course each of these upgrades cost money and the only way to get it is to keep drilling. I Dig It keeps the game interesting by making you think about what to upgrade when so you can keep moving in the game without hitting any major hiccups.

To control your rig you have a virtual analog stick that you can slide in the direction you want to move. When you point it up your drilling rig’s rockets fire up and you can fly through the tunnels back up to the surface. One interesting thing about the analog stick is that it lets you choose the size of the nub. This lets you chose how far you have to move your finger from the center-point to achieve the desired motion. This is the first time I have seen this in an iPhone game, and it works really well to help fine tune the controls for your preference.

864297_5One thing that will keep you coming back to the game are the charming visuals. The quality of the characters and environment will keep you interested as you dig deeper and deeper searching for a wide variety of odd objects hidden under your property. I especially love the animations from your rig’s movement. Running across the surface you see diesel fumes spewing from your rig, and while flying the motion and rocket animations are incredible.

What I really appreciate about I Dig It is that the game is such a perfect match for the platform. I often play games while standing in line, or watching boring shows and I Dig It fits perfectly into those situations. I can hold my 2 year old daughter in one hand, and play I Dig It with the other. The simple gameplay makes it possible for me to play this game a lot more than other games that you may consider to be higher on the totem pole. Because of it’s unique gameplay I Dig It should be a staple on everyone’s iPhone.

The Bad

Although I Dig It has the ability to connect with Facebook, it hardly seems to be a replacement for some kind of global leaderboard system. Some thing that shows you well you are doing by geographic location would be ideal, like Globall.

864297_4The biggest flaw with I Dig It is also one of it’s most appealing features, the game is simple. This means it’s easy to pick up and play for a bit of fun, but it’s hard to play for an extended period of time as it can get boring. Also after upgrading your rig enough and uncovering all the different underground items, there is little motivation to keep playing.

The Bottom Line

The simple gameplay and charming graphics in I Dig It will offer hours of fun and diversion for those seeking something that is easy to pickup and play. I Dig It has a lot to offer for what it is, and although the gameplay may be limited I Dig It joins the ranks of iPGN’s editor’s choice.