How to play and win at Flash Element TD

The interface for Flash Element TD.
The interface for Flash Element TD.

Introduction

Flash Element TD is a Flash game inspired by Element TD for Warcraft 3. The point of the game is to kill the creeps before they reach the end of the maze. You do this by building towers on the grass around the maze which attack the creeps. Different towers have different strengths and weaknesses.

I really enjoy this game as a stress-killer when I find myself bogged down with work and studies. But when I first tried to play it, I did not treat it like all computer games should be treated, a game of numbers. This is why I never was able to get very far and I ended up just giving up. Lately, I rediscovered it. it's a great and very simple (maybe too simple) game!

The Interface and the Basics

On the left side of your screen, this is the map. Below the map, there is the combat log which shows you messages about the level you've completed and puts bright red warnings about creep leaks. A creep leak is when a creep makes it through the maze and you lose gold, score points and a life as a result. Next to the combat log, there is a button to 'Start' the game or to start the 'next level'. Flash Element TD does not automatically switch to the next level, you will have to push this button when you are ready for the next level/wave of creeps to come. This is good on the one hand because it gives you plenty of time to think about how the last level went and how to prepare for the next one.

On the right at the top, you have your status. It tells you how much gold (needed to buy new towers or upgrade towers--you start with 40), how much wood (needed to research new tower types or to improve interest received--you start with 0), your score (doesn't affect game play AFAIK aside from letting you know how well you did--you start with 40), and your lives (necessary to keep the game from ending if you have a creep leak--you lose 1 life for every creep that leaks out of the maze!--you start with 20). Below that is a box that offers information on the different options in the shop.

The Shop

The shop is below the status and info box. Your purchasing options are divided into four categories--basic towers, elemental towers, combo towers, and research.

The Shop > Basic towers

When you begin the game, you can only purchase basic towers. There are three types--arrow (7 gold), cannon towers (9 gold), and air (12 gold). I never use air towers-- all of the levels except for 3 are land based. It doesn't make any sense to me at all to try to build up an exclusive air defense. To purchase a tower and place it on the map, you simply left click it, and when you hover your mouse cursor over the map, the red square is where your tower will be placed, and the circle around the square shows the range of your tower. Cannon has the least range, air has the most, and arrow is in between. I recommend using arrows or cannons for the first few levels anyway, and never air, for the reason I already stated -- i.e. it's USELESS.

The Shop > Elemental towers

After you get your first wood (should be around level 7), you can buy research for elemental towers. There are three types of elemental towers--water, earth, and fire.

Water offers very weak damage but inflicts a 'slow' effect that makes creeps move much slower than they did before. Water towers are OK, but I don't like them unless they're at least level 2 since this adds a splash to the 'slow' effect (i.e. it hits multiple creeps). Without this, water just isn't very effective. Also, I would never use water alone, its damage is very weak compared to other elemental towers, it's only a good idea to use water to inflict 'slow' so that the creeps take more hits from your other towers.

Earth isn't very good. It offers huge damage (100+) on a single target at level 1, but the firing rate is VERY slow, and it never has a splash effect, i.e. it only ever hits a single target. It's costly to upgrade, and subsequent upgrades don't do much to improve the firing rate. I would avoid earth like the plague. Even worse, it only hits land. Even though there are only three air levels, it's better to use towers which can hit both effectively. In short, earth isn't a good tower to invest in.

Fire is my favorite elemental tower. It offers damage that is intermediate to water and earth, and has a 'fast' firing rate with splash to hits both land and air, which makes it better than both. I usually spend much of the game with a handful of upgraded fire towers until I've researched all elemental towers and can purchase the rocket tower.

The Shop > Combo towers

There is only one combo tower, and that is the rocket tower. This is the best tower in game, although if it is not upgraded, its firing rate is slow. It has excellent damage (2000 per shot), good range (if you place one in the middle, it can hit almost anywhere on the maze except for corners), and hits both land and air. Don't use one if it's not upgraded. The tower itself costs 200 gold, and the upgrade costs 190 gold. In terms of cost versus damage however this tower excels. You should have all the elemental towers researched around level 21, which will let you purchase the rocket tower. Honestly, you could easily sell all your other towers this point. One rocket tower will serve you well from levels 22-30, which is something you really can't say about any other tower at any point in the game.

The Shop > Research

Research purchasables are the bottom of the shop interface. All the research options cost 1 wood. You get wood at different points during the game. I am not sure what triggers getting wood. I thought it was score based at first, but it might be based on what level you're at.

There isn't much to say about the first three options--you purchase a research element and it lets you build that type of tower. I recommend researching these ASAP in the order of fire, water and then earth. Unlocking all three lets you buy the only and the best combo tower--the rocket tower. The next option over is "+5% interest rate", it seems like it'd be really useful at first, since it improves the interest rate in which you receive more gold at the end of each level, but you will have plenty of gold without this if you play it smart. The last option is "PANIC! buy 1 extra life" which pretty much already tells you what it does. This is the only thing in the research section which can be purchased with gold instead of wood. One extra life costs 40 gold. Like the +5% interest rate option, this is useless if you play it smart. You shouldn't be losing lives to creep leaks if you are doing it right.

Keyboard commands

Press 'h' or 'space' to see creep health. Though the game alerts you about this somewhere between levels 3-5, I recommend using it right away just so you don't forget (like that'd happen or something).

When a tower you've already put on the map has been selected by your mouse, you can use the following commands-

Press 'u' to upgrade your tower.

Press 's' to sell your tower.

There is an additional keyboard command according to the game, but it does not work. When you have selected a tower from the shop, supposedly you can press 'esc' to avoid having to build a tower, however this doesn't work. Usually clicking anywhere outside of the maze lets you do this anyway though...

The Levels

A guide to the different types of levels, if a level doesn't have a note in brackets ([blahblah]) then the creeps proceed normally. Usually each level will have 20 creeps (I think, not tested yet). In fast levels, the creeps move much faster than normal. In immune levels, the creeps are not affected by the 'slow' effect of water elemental towers. In boss levels, a single creep with a lot of hp (at least 10x the hp of whatever the previous level creeps had) will plod through the maze.
  1. Sheep -- 10 hp, 1 g each
  2. Rabid dogs -- 42 hp, 1 g each
  3. Small boys -- 65 hp, 1 g each
  4. Peasants -- 75 hp, 1 g each
  5. Firework throwers -- 101 hp, 1 g each
  6. Drug runners [fast] -- 87 hp, 1 g each
  7. Greedy pigs -- 136 hp, 2 g each
  8. Flying machines [air] -- 158 hp, 1 g each
  9. Stags -- 189 hp, 1 g each
  10. Trolls [immune] -- 212 hp, 2 g each
  11. Angry critters [boss] -- 2000 hp, 45 g each
  12. Water elementals -- 246 hp, 2 g each
  13. Drug runners [fast] -- 212 hp, 2 g each
  14. Lizards -- 331 hp, 2 g each
  15. Battle golems -- 384 hp, 2 g each
  16. Harpy rogue -- 445 hp, 2 g each
  17. Albatros [air] -- 580 hp, 2 g each
  18. Fat pigs -- 695 hp, 2 g each
  19. Drug runners [fast] -- 599 hp, 2 g each
  20. Goblins -- 806 hp, 3 g each
  21. Trolls [immune] -- 1125 hp, 2 g each
  22. Angry Critters [boss] - 14000 hp, 55 g each
  23. Goblins again?! -- 1075 hp, 3 g each
  24. Dark minions -- 1265 hp, 4 g each
  25. Cannons -- 1468 hp, 4 g each
  26. Drug runners [fast] -- 1265 hp, 4 g each
  27. Albatros [air] -- 1615 hp, 4 g each
  28. Cryptic fiends -- 1935 hp, 4 g each
  29. Sludge montrosity -- 2165 hp, 5 g each
  30. Ghouls -- 2165 hp, 5 g each
  31. Goblins -- 2655 hp, 5 g each
  32. Trolls [immune] riding drug runners [fast] -- 2500 hp, 2 g each
  33. Angry Critters [boss] -- 35000 hp, 100 g each
  34. Damn hard -- 5000 hp, 5 g each
  35.  OMG, so hard! -- 7000 hp, 10 g each
  36. gg -- 10000 hp, 15 g each
  37. HOW ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?! -- 15000 hp, 20 g each
  38. THE LAST LEVEL -- 20000 hp, 25 g each
  39. U B PRO -- 25001 hp, 30 g each

Walkthrough

I think this section is kind of unnecessary, but if you're having trouble, this is the order of play I usually use to win.

To start the game, I usually buy a cannon tower and upgrade it to level 2 (24 damage). Before I start the next level, I then upgrade the tower to level 3 (50 damage). Then I buy a second cannon tower and upgrade it (usually possible). For each level, I buy a cannon or upgrade depending on how much gold I have. The game is relatively easy early on (and even later in my humble opinion), so don't stress too much. Try to keep your cannons where they can hit the most number of paths in the maze. I usually put mine in the middle the maze or in the middle of the top upside down "T" part of the maze. By level 7, I usually have four level 2-3 towers.

After level 7, I get my first wood, and then I'm able to research elemental towers. For reasons that I already explained above, you should research fire towers. Buy one of these. If you bought cannons before, go ahead and sell them. Level 8 is air and they're useless. You might as well have a level 2 fire tower with some extra gold to get back on interest. One level 2 fire tower is more than enough to take care of the flying machines in level 8.

Somewhere between levels 9 and 18, you'll want to buy a second fire tower. I'd keep it near your existing fire tower. At level 19, go ahead and buy a third fire tower. Provided they're all reasonably upgraded (at least level 2), you should be fine until level 21 when you have all the elemental towers researched and can build the one and only combo tower in the game-- the rocket tower!

Once you have your first rocket tower, feel free to sell your other towers, a single upgraded rocket tower will do just fine for the next few levels (22 to 28) even though the next level is the second Angry Critters (a boss) with 14000 hp. Trust me, you'll be fine. And if you don't, that's fine too. The game is very flexible, so you should do what you want and have fun with it.

For levels 29 and 30, this is where you might want to think about putting another rocket tower in. You should pretty much only buy rocket towers at this point. They're the cheapest for the amount of damage and firing rate that you get once they're upgraded. Since they only need one upgrade, they're the cheapest to upgrade on top of it. I hate level 32 since it seems like it should be so much harder -- i.e. trolls on top of drug runners -- but it's not. One rocket tower will do the trick, two will make it like cake. Go ahead and have two though for level 33, the final lone boss creep which has 35000 hp.

By this point as you're preparing to face the last 6 levels (yes there are only six left), you probably have plenty of gold. Just keep buying new rocket towers and upgrading them. Remember an unupgraded rocket tower is just going to be an annoyance for you, but at this stage in the game, it's still better than any other towers.So basically, rock out on rocket towers. They're the best in the game at this point, the rest are useless now.

A little tip I've known about and you'd probably have discovered on your own soon enough anyway is that with careful mouse movements, you can stack your towers. Just make sure the cursor is not directly on top of the existing tower, and you can have an overlapping tower. By doing it this way, you could easily get 6-8 towers on a space that was meant for only 4. :)

Have fun playing Flash Element TD!

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