Kingdom Rush: Frontiers – The tower-defense world watches as its messiah returns for a second coming
Only Rush Will Do
You have to feel kind of bad right now for tower defense games that aren’t Kingdom Rush: Frontiers. In light of the recent release of one of the most highly-anticipated sequels that the mobile device market has ever seen, other tower defense games (including Frontiers’ predecessor, the original Kingdom Rush) must be feeling like a toddler that has to sit and watch as his mother cradles her newly-born son. All eyes are on this new arrival and even though this older boy is still loved and cared for, at this very moment in time, he is quite literally older news at this point, and everyone wants to see just what this new baby has to offer the world. In this needlessly-elaborate metaphor, however the older son that now exclusively represents the original Kingdom Rush was the first-born and was unquestionably ground-breaking, carving out a mark in the tower-defense genre that was to set the standard at a ridiculously high level for all future tower defense games, but even more so for this glistening new-born named Frontiers. Can this sibling of a once flash-based classic live up to the high expectations of the family?
That’s enough of the metaphors: let’s get stuck into some evaluation of the game’s worthiness as a sequel by first evaluating the gameplay. After getting stuck heavily into the first few levels, it soon became clear that the actual gameplay itself hasn’t change all that much. The four basic towers remain the same (ranged, artillery, mage, melee) and the aim is of course to prevent waves of enemies from trudging, running, walking, or flying past you and to the other side of the level by building a combination of these towers in the designated construction spots dotted across the path. Towers can as always be upgraded to increasingly higher levels by unlocking them gradually as you play and then forking out the necessary amount of gold for each construction and upgrade of a tower.
Delicate Not Drastic
Instead of drastic change in the game, it becomes clear that Kingdom Rush: Frontiers’ beauty is in the natural and well-balanced progression of the difficulty, and along with it the emergence of new features in the form of new towers, enemies, and heroes. Initially, you are restricted only to Alric the Warrior but can unlock Mirage the Assassin at level 4, for example, and some other warriors at later stages (though the rest you have to fork out some dollar/pound for, unfortunately). New towers of course include the unbelievably cool Necromancer tower that can resurrect the deceased and make them fight on your side; the Battle-Mecha T-200 is also a ridiculously cool and deployable artillery unit that results from upgrading your artillery to maximum level. Each of the four tower types has two possible outcomes, making 8 different towers in total.
The strategy in Kingdom Rush: Frontiers doesn’t come from the hasty upgrading of whichever tower you feel like, however, but in the careful choice of upgrades to suit your particular enemy. You may often find that your victory relies not in relentless building of low-level towers, but the careful selection and tactical upgrading of just a few specialised ones, such as mage towers to deal with armour-heavy enemies, and archers/ artillery to deal with magical foes. It’s as if the game is responsive in its difficulty since when things get tough, you are also given the ability to build towers to higher levels and play around with the inter-level upgrades by spending the stars that you earn to complete the level. It’s not unheard of to have to reset your upgrade choices and start again, depending on which towers you require for any given level. This give-and-take in the game is absolutely one of its best features and makes you want to continue playing “just one more level” until you find three hours have passed and you’re close to beating the whole thing.
Like a Fine Wine
Those looking for massive departures from the original in content and gameplay be warned: there are no revolutions here, but merely a perfectly executed evolution of features that is as subtle as natural selection in the way that small and infrequent changes are implemented. These aren’t changes in format but instead in the form of new tower types, a superior variety of enemies slowly introduced into the game, new heroes, and also the cheeky, underhand references to a variety of sci-fi and generally nerdy things like Star Wars and Alien. The game actually feels like Kingdom Rush Part Two and previous players will find the transition as seamless as turning the page in a book and beginning the next chapter. Even people that don’t like the similarity between the two games will find themselves drawn into the action yet again once the new upgrades and heroes become available.
Kingdom Rush: Frontiers has brought me round full circle on the series since I am back in the throws of addiction to the sequel after just about weaning myself off the original. Ironhide: you are the maker of joy and the destroyer of spare time.
The Heroes Are Here!
Blackthorne the Corsair - Trailer
Alric The Warrior Game Play Video
Cronan The Beastmaster Game Play Video
Mirage The Assassin
Kingdom Rush: Frontiers – The time is upon us, so what can you expect?
The Best Yet
Just as the act of reaching for a Penguin when peckish, if I’m in the mood for an excellence in tower defense and am hungry for a game that both typifies and leads the genre by a long way, then I’m going to reach for Kingdom Rush. A title that put Ironhide Games on the map, Kingdom Rush has received wide critical acclaim as well as a loyal following of millions of fans across the world. The launch of their sequel to the game, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers, was unsurprisingly met with a reaction that could be mistaken for that of the population of Hiroshima on the 6th of August 1945, in terms of extremity, anyhow.
What New Features Does the Game Hold?
The original four tower types remain, but with new and improved upgrades for us to throw at the enemy, literally.
This building produces assassins that can become invisible until they ambush the enemy, with special upgrades like the ability for assassins to rob enemies of gold, evasive manoeuvres, and a damaging special attack.
Can produces highly-armoured foot soldiers which have special upgrades that can increase their maximum health, revive themselves in the event of death, and a health-draining attack that continues to drain enemies’ health for a brief period after being hit
Ranged Tower Upgrades
This building has crossbow-wielding soldiers that are balanced between attack power and range of attack. Their upgrades include the ability to shoot a constant stream of bolts and a range upgrade made possible by the possession of a falcon spotter.
This building contains tribesmen who throw axes that may stun enemies, with special upgrades including magic bursts that prevent magic-using foes from casting spells.
Artillery Tower Upgrades
The building acts as a launch pad for a mobile terminator-like machine that shoots explosive artillery. Special upgrades include spreading oil to slow down enemies and long-range missiles.
This acronym is short for Drilling Weaponized Auto-Attack Rumble Platform, which creates localized earthquakes to damage nearby enemies. Special upgrades include damaging enemies with fire and a one-hit kill attack.
Necromancer Tower (This one sound exciting)
Necromancers can resurrect enemies and make them fight for your team. Specials include the ability to release pestilence or the ability to summon a ‘death rider’.
These can store up their power and then release up to three deadly bolts at once. If any kill an enemy, the remaining bolts will track enemies. Erstwhile enemies explode, damaging others around them, and you can also summon a tornado.
This game will offer some new heroes that have the ability to turn the game in your favour. This time, they will have stats that can be upgraded throughout the course of the game. There are three heroes that we currently know of:
Alric the Warrior
A fearsome warrior from Hammerhold that can strike with great speed and also summon warriors to help him. His primary skills include passive advantages such as improved armour and also a special flurry manoeuvre.
Cronan the Beastmaster
His natural environment is the jungle, having experience with fighting on all terrain. He has the ability to summon nature to his advantage. He can summon boars, a stampede of rhinos, or falcons as well as having a direct attack that damages the enemy and a regenerative feature.
Mirage the Assassin
A fearful assassin, Mirage has sworn to use her deadly skills for the protection of Hammerhold. Primary skills include precision, which allows her to improve her attack range, as well as shadow dodge to increase evasiveness, shadow dance, and a lethal strike that can destroy the target with one hit.
PC Browser Version...
With kingdom rush frontiers being launched for iPhone and iPad it is only a matter of time before the flash pc version is due out and we expect this to be hosted on Armor Games. The flash version should feature a lot of the content you get on the iPhone and iPad but because it will be a viral version it may cut back on even more content and offer that up through payment options. We will keep you up to date here when it arrives.