Certain games are clearly designed by someone with a real love for a genre. These games capture the essence of what makes the genre fun and challenging, while still providing enough innovation that you feel like you are experiencing something new. Besiegement is one such game. It is deep without being overly complicated, and fun without being too easy. It plays more like a puzzle game than many other Tower Defense clones, and it is so saturated with content that you can play it for weeks without seeing the same game twice. Besiegement isn’t perfect, but it’s still our favorite iPhone Tower Defense game so far.
Beseigement is a medieval-themed Tower Defense game where your goal is to fortify a landscape against an onslaught of enemies. You have eight types of towers at your disposal, each of which suits a specific purpose. For example, a wind tower has a long range and does a lot of damage to a single target, while an earth tower can hit many adjacent enemies at once. In addition, you have a limited supply of gems; these are used to buy bombs that either do damage or temporarily freeze opponents. As always in these games, proper placement and efficient upgrading of towers in response to the strengths and weaknesses of the enemies that you are facing is the key to passing a level.
One welcome change Besiegement makes to the standard Tower Defense formula is the differentiation between “maze” levels and “path” levels. In “maze” levels, the enemies’ route is wide open, allowing you to steer them through a maze you build out of towers. By contrast, the “path” levels restrict enemies to a defined path, requiring you to build towers around the path for maximum effect. This variety forces you to be more creative in your defenses. Achievements and level-specific challenges also help to avoid the monotony that other Tower Defense games fall prey to, by ensuring that you won’t be able to re-use the same strategy.
We found the game to be increasingly tough as we progressed through the story mode. You should expect to die many times before finding and refining a successful strategy, particularly in the later parts of the game. Beseigement takes no prisoners–there’s only one difficulty setting–but it’s designed in such a way that a novice can approach the game and develop into an expert, without ever feeling stymied or hopeless. Luckily, the game has four speed settings, including a very fast fast-forward, which makes replaying a level far less tedious.
Besiegement really shines when you start to uncover the sheer volume of quality content and useful features. After you make it through the main storyline, there are also a dozen or so autonomous challenge missions that each present a very specific set of requirements. Every level in the game includes online leader boards that can mark your best results and rank them on “All Time”, “Weekly” and “Daily” lists. We enjoyed trying to grab the top spot, even if just on the daily list. Further, there are 18 achievements to earn, like beating a level using only one type of tower. Finally, you get detailed stat tracking that tells you how your career is going, and provides more information on the strengths and weaknesses of the various enemies that you have faced.
The graphics aren’t outstanding, but they’re clean enough to easily take in the full battlefield at a glance and distinguish between the towers in your defenses. Still, the tower footprints are quite small, which can make it difficult to select or place them accurately. For reference, you can fit almost four towers onto one key on the iPhone’s built-in keypad, so precise selection takes some getting used to. The violent sound effects are quite suitable, and easily customized to fit your preferences.
We were skeptical that yet another iPhone Tower Defense game could rekindle the devotion and addiction that we felt the first time we played one–but Besiegement managed it. It is undoubtedly one of the most challenging and enjoyable games that we have played on the iPhone. Yes, you will die many times, but defeat always comes with a lesson that you can apply the next time around. It’s the kind of challenge that will motivate fans of the genre, not frustrate them, and it’s sure to add a bunch of new recruits to the Tower Defense bandwagon as well. If you want a long, challenging, and rewarding Tower Defense game for a great price, you owe it to yourself to check out Besiegement. It’s Tower Defense at its best.