The original Fieldrunners was a tower defense classic to say the least. It set the bar extremely high for the pre-Angry Birds app store, and for tower defense games in general. In the years since, we’ve seen so many tower defense games that it’s not enough to just be a good one – you need a good hook to break the top 50 for even a day. Even past all of the tower defense clones, times have clearly changed since 2008, when the original came out. We’ve been through the Angry Birds revolution, and been through it for years. But Subatomic Studios laughs at the concept of adding hackneyed premises by making Fieldrunners 2 the crystal-clear example of how to do a good sequel. Instead of adding hooks and gimmicks to the maze-esque formula of the original, Fieldrunners 2 opts to show all kinds of ways to do tower defense, but is it worth your hard-earned dollars?
Instead of revolutionizing the gameplay of Fieldrunners for the sequel, Fieldrunners 2 goes for greater heights. You’ve seen the maze-like gameplay from the original game, but there are all types of tower defense gametypes in the 25 levels that encompass the game. Do you like the classic Fieldrunners gameplay? There are plenty of them to test how well you know your tower building chops. But what about more? Do you want a sudden death mode, a survival mode, or even a puzzle mode? These gametypes are spread throughout the 25 levels as well. And as a bonus, every level has an Endless Mode that you unlock once you beat the level, if you think you truly have the world’s best defense. It’s a nice bonus for those of us who just want to completely decimate the leaderboards.The game also features a nice overworld, similar to what you’d see in Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World, where you’ll visit different environments that house different runners. A nice change of pace from the menu setup in the original game.
The general gameplay also has been improved from the original. In Fieldrunners, if you placed a unit in front of one of the runners, they’d scoot around it just to keep going straight. This time around, the runners are a lot more fluid, changing paths based on the units you place. They won’t come running at your lightning spires constantly. Also a great gameplay element is the sheer number of towers that the game puts in your hands. You have the classic turrets and flamethrowers, but you’ll have fantastic new towers that help you decimate the sheer number of infantry you’ll come across. Lasers, oil slicks, splash damage bombers, and all the towers from the original Fieldrunners make you the runners’ worst nightmare. You also have items like mines, or even undo buttons that you can use to help the stragglers that weasel past your defenses. You have to find the magic combination of cheap and expensive weaponry, especially on modes like sudden death, where you only have three lives to defeat a certain number of fieldrunners, or the survival mode, where the game throws insane amounts of enemies at you, but you’ve got a bit of a bigger budget on you.
Another element that Fieldrunners 2 nails is the visuals. The game is in full retina display, meaning that it looks absolutely astonishing on both iPhone and iPad. But, even beyond the number of pixels, the color palette and general aesthetics look wonderful, even when you pinch to zoom in. But, there is a semi-controversy around the game and the lack of it being a “universal app” (meaning that it’s an app you download once for both iPhone and iPad). Don’t get me wrong, it’ll look fine either way, but there isn’t a purely native iPad view. It’s not the biggest deal, but Apple sticklers will harp the game for it, no doubt. In a 2x mode, the game has a noticeable black border that circles the game, which is a bit of a disappointment. I’m sure there will be an update that corrects this; it isn’t that large on an issue, but this is something at least worth pointing out. There also are some instances of near impossible levels on certain difficulties, and in response, Subatomic Studios’ twitter, @Fieldrunners, is being very open about trying to fix these issues, and calling on the community to find the flaws. It’s nice to see that you have a company who wants to give us the best game they can.
Fieldrunners 2 isn’t the pure revolution that the first game brought us, but it’s the epitome of what sequels are built to do. It appeases the hardcore while still able to cater to the casual players that are new to the tower defense genre wholesale. For a measly $2.99, you’ll get your moneys worth tenfold. It’ll keep you occupied for countless hours and is definitely the tower defense game to beat. Go buy it!
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