Nintendo and Q-Games deliver a unique take on the tower defense genre.
The DSiWare service has allowed developers to experiment with new ideas without having to take a huge loss. Nintendo and Q-Games have already shown us that they can create great games with the recently released Art Style: Digidrive and now they're ready to bring us into the depths of space with Starship Defense, a game that puts a unique twist on the tower defense genre.
The main goal in Starship Defense is to protect your starship fleet from increasingly difficult waves of enemies. In order to reach this goal, you'll use a special form of energy to equip your starships with various weapons that will attack incoming invaders. Each weapon consumes a different amount of your energy supply, but by defeating the incoming enemies you can gain energy that then can be used to build either more weapons or demolish pre-existing ones.
There is a lot of strategy to this game. At the beginning of each level you're given a limited amount of energy, barely enough to build two or three weapons. The key to winning is to build turrets that can destroy the enemies in the first wave, and then use their energy to build weapons to take care of the next wave. If by chance the enemies manage to sneak past your weapons, then they'll launch an attack on your fleet and you'll be damaged.
On a happier note, there are a wide variety of power-ups to help you gain the upper hand. Every now and again, special items will drift down from the upper screen where the enemies are displayed. By tapping on the item, you'll take advantage of its powers, such as restoring your shield's energy. Other power-ups can be discovered by defeating enemies, such as stat-boosting power-ups that will increase the capabilities of your weapons.
In all, Starship Defense boasts 30 stages filled with enemies just waiting to be blasted. The game has a steadily increasing difficulty level that will keep players entertained rather than frustrated. But if it just so happens that they're having trouble with a particular stage, they can use an S.O.S. card they they've obtained by finishing past levels to help change the flow of the battle. Be warned though, these cards require crystals that can only be obtained by defeating waves of enemies or by sacrificing 200 points of energy. As the game progresses, it doesn't take long to tell that crystals are a key item to victory.
The game also rewards players for defeating every enemy in a stage without using an S.O.S. card. This starts off as a rather simple task as the beginning stages are rather slow-paced, but things quickly become difficult. It's not that the stages as a whole are harder, it's just that the size of enemy waves increase and it's difficult to manage both sides of your starship fleet.
Starship Defense has a very futuristic look to it as the majority of the game is presented in white with some bright colors thrown in for emphasis. The clean, polished look of the game leaves little to be desired, and the same can be said about the audio. The minimal amount of audio present fits the game and certainly helps build on the futuristic atmosphere of the game.
Starship Defense isn't a game for everyone, but for those looking for a unique take on the tower defense genre, the game won’t disappoint. The thrill of protecting your starship fleet is highly entertaining, and the gentle learning curve makes it even better. Starship Defense stands out as one of the most enjoyable on the DSiWare store.