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Kingdom Rush is the Answer to the Hardcore Gamers Sick of Other Gamers and/or Cinematics
Tired of Video Games that Wish They Were Movies? I Know I am.
How many times have you wanted to replay a game just to see the story unfold again? Just once or twice, perhaps? The first Dragon Age: Origins game was enjoyable more than once, but got tedious as the story lost surprises in the second pass. Everyone will generally play the Mass Effect games twice: once as a blue Shepard, once as a red Shepard. But, the combat mechanics in both games will get tedious and repetitious in time. Even open-ended games, with large exploration components get tedious as one must continue to defend oneself while casually walking from one point to another. Most of these games are simply not "fun" to play.
The experience of the game has been so built upon archaic game mechanics propped up with stellar cinematics, graphics, and Hollywood-caliber writing, that simply not enough time and effort has gone into the core experience of gameplay. Combat is not innovative. The moment-to-moment experience of overcoming the obstacles of the game is tedious, at best, and a little frustrating, at worst. Playing the game for the story means slogging through the rest just to "win" the cinematics and dialog options that result. Ultimately, so much of the game is a slog that replay becomes pointless.
This is where games like Kingdom Rush come in: The story, if there is one, is almost nonexistant. There is evil. It must be overcome. You are the general to lead the army to victory.
The actual gameplay of combat, in a classic tower defense game, is so simple to understand that it does not require weeks of careful study and a message board to get through early levels (unlike other beloved hardcore games, like the punishingly difficult DARK SOULS).
Kingdom Rush is exactly what Hardcore Games Have Been Missing
Stripped down to a quirky, cute artistic style, and a gameplay mechanic that is both classic and strategic, Kingdom Rush is the panacea to the hardcore gamers tired of games without fun gameplay. Ultimately, hardcore games lost the concept of fun on their path to hard. Without games like Kingdom Rush, Kingdom Rush: Fronteirs, and Kingdom Rush: Origins, there would be very few games worthy of the skills and talents of hardcore players that are actually quite happy just to be games. No one is making a film about the series. There really isn't enough story upon which a film could be built, honestly. There are spots on a map where towers can be built and upgraded. There are heroes that stand on the path between the enemy hordes arrival points, and the exit where they can take away player life. After 20 have passed, the game is over. Stop the enemy with towers, strategy, and skillful planning.
Such a simple mechanic. The enemy waves come one after another. The player gets money by killing enemies. The money is used to buy towers. Four basic towers, each with two possible final upgrades, are the only weapons in the player's arsenal. Well, that and a single magic spell, plus some reinforcements that instantly appear where the player selects them.
From this simple mechanic, the hordes unleash with creative enemy design and lots of interesting challenges. Beating the "game" is only the beginning, as bonus levels unlock and bonus challenges that get harder and harder. The game's simply mechanics are so well-done that they never seem to get old. The act of playing the game is the point, not "experiencing" the "design" or "exploring the sandbox" or anything tedious and doomed to lots of aimless meandering. The game gets straight to the point.
The hordes are coming. Defend the road.
The only other games where actual gameplay is the point of challenge are often group games, MMORPGs and FPS shooters, and the plague and horror of interacting with other gamers basically wrecks it for me. Gamers, about 60% of them, are horrible little manchildren who abuse women, and shout misogynistic things in one's ears. The other 40%, some are nice enough, but often the thing that draws one to games is not the niceness of others, but their destruction, and this - to me - means I don't really want to hear voices of others. I want to shut them out, actually. If I want a conversation while gaming, I can talk to my family.
I'm ranting, here. I prefer to game alone. Hardcore games simply don't offer that experience successfully, most of the time, without a cinematic style and narratives that prop up mediocre gameplay.
Where is the Wonderful Game?
The game is equally playable on PCs and on tablet and smartphones, too. I like the Steam version the best, because the player unlocks all the different heroes, and can pick and choose among them for their very beneficial special abilities.
On the iPad, where I also play the game, only the first three or four heroes will unlock. The rest have to be purchased in addition to the game, itself. Definitely spring for the Steam edition, if you can. Replaying levels with different heroes is an enjoyable way to explore different tactics and special abilities, to make the game either easier or harder to play based on your own daily whims.