On Our Desk - 15

Written by Joe Martin

January 29, 2009 | 08:32

Tags: #all-in-one #bladerunner #fieldrunners #iphone #mass-effect #ost #rc-helicopter #soundtrack

Companies: #akasa #bit-tech #icy-dock


Publisher: Apple
Platform: iPhone exclusive
UK Price (as reviewed): £2.99 from the App Store
US Price (as reviewed): $4.99 from the App Store

Included pretty much solely because of Tim’s insistence, Fieldrunners is the first iPhone or iPod Touch game we’ve reviewed ever at bit-tech and the experience of being this close to an Apple product has us feeling...unsettled. We’ll have to listen to some nice music and have some hot chocolate to recover.

Regardless though, Fieldrunners is a nice game, though as dangerously addictive as any other tower defence game we’ve played.

For those not in the know, the tower defence genre is one which started way back when with a little game called Rampart – though the genre never really took off until it found a home in the Blizzard modding community, among others.

On Our Desk - 15 On Our Desk - Fieldrunners for iPhone On Our Desk - 15 On Our Desk - Fieldrunners for iPhone

A type of strategy game, the objective is simple enough – to stop the relentless waves of enemies from making it across the screen to your tower. The way you do this is by laying down more sentry guns and missile turrets than the US government, creating a series of steadfast obstacles which the enemy has to work around.

Well, work around isn’t totally correct – walk around is probably more apt, as the most effective tactic is to funnel your foe into a maze, the walls of which are made of your turrets.

What sounds simple enough and easy to accomplish naturally gets deeply strategic and forbiddingly challenging though, with increasingly tough foes coming at you harder and faster than a brick of compacted rabbits fired out of a cannon. Though the game starts off with a trickle of infantry it quickly escalates until it’s a tsunami of tanks and…is that a Black Ghost?

In this way there’s not really a huge amount to set Fieldrunners out from the rest of the games in the genre, except for the fact that it’s on the iPhone and has some cutesy cartoon graphics.

On Our Desk - 15 On Our Desk - Fieldrunners for iPhone On Our Desk - 15 On Our Desk - Fieldrunners for iPhone

In fact, it’s even slightly behind when compared to some other games in the genre – the selection of turrets at your disposal is limited to four different types, plus upgrades.

At the end of the day though, not a whole lot of that matters – the tower defence genre is one which thrives on having well-balanced clones, not individual games that get iteratively more innovative. All that’s important is that it ticks all the right boxes; different difficulty levels, a strategic challenge that’ll take you a good few attempts to master and a breed of gameplay that takes a long time but which doesn’t require a huge amount of attention constantly.

True, the fact that there’s just two levels in Fieldrunners is a little disappointing, but that’s balanced out by the fact that the game handles so well on the iPhone, making full use of the usual zoom functions. Playing Fieldrunners is as easy as pointing and clicking (but without the clicking), but also as hard as singlehandedly repelling a real invasion and for £2.99 it offers oodles of replay value.

Verdict: Though there isn't a huge amount of maps or variation to be had with the game you can get a lot of replayability out of Fieldrunners and it really shouldn't be sniffed at, considering the price.
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