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Review: Guns'n'Glory - Tower Defense On The Oregon Trail

September 14, 2010

The Overview

Tower Defense games are extremely popular on the iPhone. But except for updating the setting, sounds, and whether it is a linear path or an open field, there just hasn't been a lot of innovation. TD games are all still basically: place towers, upgrade them, sell them when they are no longer effectual or are in the wrong area. Then continually repeat this process. But what if the towers could move? And we played what are traditionally thought of as "the bad guys?" And what if the whole atmosphere were full of borderline political incorrectness? HandyGames has done just that. You hire cowboys, indians, banditos and rogue soldiers to gun down settlers that pass through your canyons. Normally, your castle/base loses life each time a settler makes it through your gauntlet. In Guns'n'Glory, when settlers make it through you get that much closer to having the sheriff come and arrest you for your misdeeds instead. Eventually, you are allowed to upgrade your units like any other tower defense games but not until about halfway through. What sets GnG apart from other TD games is that your towers can move (though the gatling gun is restricted to the rails the train can travel on). Tap the tower to highlight it, tap where you want to you want it to go (hopefully - more on this alter). This allows you to move even your most basic tower  to follow and fire at an enemy unit throughout the entire maze. Of the greatest advantage, you can restructure your tower strategy for each wave.

The Breakdown

The Good Guns'nGlory definitely has a unique and fun atmosphere for a Tower Defense game. The game takes a humorous slant and the graphics and sounds fit that perfectly. It is a universal app so you pay for it once and can play it on both your smaller and larger iDevices. This also has a side effect in that the game feels designed for the iPad and then shoehorned onto the iPhone. The Bad In order to adjust the music and sound effects individually, you have to exit the game and change it in Within game, all you get is a simple mute button.... Don't I already have one of those as a hardware button on my iDevice? No leaderboards, no achievements, no multiple player slots...the in-game high score didn't even work right. Even after playing through most of the levels twice, each high score screen had a blank dollar amount on the Most Wanted poster. There is a definite play difference between the iPad and the iPhone version. I only played the iPad version for a short 10 minutes (not even enough time to complete all the waves in the first level) but the difference was so pronounced it made me more frustrated with issues I had playing the iPhone version. On the iPhone version, you have to scroll around the map paying constant attention to the minimap. You also risk telling a unit to move to the wrong position or accidentally selecting the wrong unit with this method. The calibration for where you are touching seems much more off on the iPhone as opposed to the iPad. Suggestions Here are things I feel the game needs for improvement: Units need to follow there orders better....or give an indication that they can't. I have been frustrated multiple times when a unit just simply didn't move because it's way was blocked at some point. Or not! sometimes a unit considered itself blocked when its as yet unwalked path crossed another moving unit's as yet unwalked path. .At least try to move as far as you can! Provide separate Music and Sound Effect settings controls, I already have a mute button. On the iPhone version, allow us to tap on the minimap to jump to another part of the main map and use the pinch motion we are already used to to zoom and unzoom the map. This is honestly how I automatically tried to play through most of the game and was continually frustrated to have my expectations thwarted.

The Verdict

As Tower Defense defense games go, this is above average fair. Being able to move your towers doesn't just feel like a gimmick tacked onto the game to make it stand out. It does have some issues I ran into and I would recommend playing it on an iPad versus an iPod but I still recommend it.

Mentioned apps

Guns'n'Glory FREE
Guns'n'Glory FREE
The Oregon Trail
The Oregon Trail

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