This game is tower defense, without a twist.
Joining the ranks of the long list of tower defense games on DSiWare is Glory Days: Tactical Defense from odenis studios. The game is a single player affair, featuring gameplay that will feel very familiar to fans of the genre.
The game presents three stages, two of which are unlockable. As you earn in-game achievements, you will unlock the other stages, along with additional difficulty levels. For most games, having only three stages would be a major drawback, but when you consider the budget price of Glory Days: Tactical Defense, it's plenty of content.
As with most tower defense games, the success of the game relies on two factors: polish and strategy. On this scale, Glory Days: Tactical Defense succeeds on one axis and fails on the other. The game looks and plays smoothly, with vibrant colors and fast-paced gameplay. Towers are placed along the pathway by driving a box-shaped cursor along the map using the D-Pad. The cursor is a lot of fun to move around, and it bounds over hills with surprisingly lifelike physics, as if it were a vehicle. This is, of course, because the engine for the game is largely the same as the developer's previous title, Pop Island. That game is a capture-the-flag style racing game with multiple vehicle types. It's a versatile game engine that stretches from vehicular action to tower defense, but that's what we've got here.
Each of the game's three maps features several different branching paths along the roadways, requiring the player to fortify their defenses along multiple routes. At the same time, several of the enemy types are flying enemies, meaning that you need to have anti-aircraft defenses along a straight line from the entrance to the exit on the map. This means that you will rarely be spending much time in one place. Unfortunately, the game starts fairly slowly, meaning that the first 20 or so waves of enemies will be handled very easily, and thus you can plan on spending a good 10 minutes or so waiting for the game to become challenging every time you boot up.
Despite the branching roadways, the game doesn't require much strategy. Once you get a handle on how often you should upgrade versus purchasing new towers, it's simply a matter of trying to stay ahead of the curve, and making sure that any progressing enemies are accounted for. The game does get hard eventually, but it rarely feels like you failed because you didn't strategize well; you simply became overwhelmed by indestructible tanks in massive numbers.
The game doesn't have a ton of depth or personality, aside from the amazing in-game cursor, so it won't take long for tower defense veterans to have their fill with what Glory Days: Tactical Defense has to offer. It certainly is not among the worst tower defense games on DSiWare, and it shines in several areas. However, the game is bare. A more fleshed out version, with more tower types, more enemy types, more modes, and more maps might have gone a long way toward giving the game some longevity. As it stands currently, however, you are paying a small amount of money for a small amount of game. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.