Kingdom Rush Frontiers (Android) Review

By Aria DiMezzo 20.06.2015

Review for Kingdom Rush Frontiers on Android

Years after releasing Kingdom Rush: Frontiers, Ironhide is still creating new content, and they deserve applause for that. Even some subscription-based games have a difficult time giving players new stuff to do, and Ironhide has much less motivation to continue releasing content; on top of that, this new content comes free. This is a development team that loves their consumers, and it shows, but this does not necessarily mean that their games are good. Is Kingdom Rush: Frontiers worth playing? Cubed3 takes a look.

Kingdom Rush: Frontiers is one of the best tower defence games on any platform. It's not the genre-defining masterpiece that is Orcs Must Die! 2, but Kingdom Rush: Frontiers only falls short because there's no innovation. There's nothing to be found here that can't be had elsewhere, but no other tower defence game puts the package together nearly as well as this game.

Like its predecessor, Kingdom Rush, the graphics and audio are clean, and they are best described as "concise." There is no graphical bloat caused by flashy graphics getting in the way; the visuals are exactly as robust and clean as they need to be. The same is true of the music, though the sound effects and random voice acting does become grating. The music is generic fantasy music, but it's decent enough; it just doesn't stand out.

Screenshot for Kingdom Rush Frontiers on Android

Kingdom Rush: Frontiers shines with its gameplay. There are presently twenty-three stages, and each consists of three modes: Campaign, Heroic, and Iron. Completing these rewards stars, which can be used to purchase permanent upgrades to towers, conscripts, and the meteor spell. Although these upgrades are useful, none are really interesting, as they are things like: "Increases the range of the barracks' rallying point." The upgrades are practical, but boring.

The original Kingdom Rush had heroes beginning each stage at level one, but Kingdom Rush: Frontiers overhauls the system, giving heroes permanent levels. When a hero gains a level, they also gain a number of points, which can be spent unlocking and upgrading abilities. Also like its predecessor and successor, not very many of these heroes can be unlocked in-game; most are only available at the in-game store, and their prices can be seven or eight USD. They aren't necessary, and they are overpowered and seriously harm the difficulty when used, but they are fun.

Items can also be purchased with real money, but items can be acquired by playing: certain enemies drop gems when killed, and these gems can be spent on items. Items are very helpful for getting past an unusually difficult stage, but they're also usable in the Endless Stage, meaning that someone could very easily just pay their way onto the leaderboards.

Screenshot for Kingdom Rush Frontiers on Android

Kingdom Rush: Frontiers is played by building towers. The player has a set amount of gold at the start of each stage, and gold is spent constructing new towers and upgrading existing ones. When the defences are in place, the wave of monsters can be triggered, and then, ideally, the towers kill the enemies before they can reach their goal. Killing enemies rewards more gold, which is then used on more towers and upgrades, and by wave thirteen of fifteen the stage will be filled with towers, spell effects, dying enemies, and chaos. It's a lot of fun.

Variety is a little lacking, because there are only four tower types: barracks, mage, archer, and artillery. Each of these basic towers can be upgraded twice, but the third upgrade consists of purchasing a specialisation; the mage tower, for example, can become a necromancy tower or an arcane wizards' tower. Deciding which specialisation will be most helpful is a key part of the strategy, as is positioning towers so that they are most effective. This is surprisingly difficult, and even Normal difficulty can be merciless, especially on the Heroic and Iron challenges, which have longer waves and special conditions, such as "No heroes, no artillery." These conditions will force players to think outside of their normal strategies, and that's a good thing.

Screenshot for Kingdom Rush Frontiers on Android

The first few stages are a drag, especially on replays, because options are unlocked slowly over the first half-dozen or so stages. This helps keep newcomers from being overwhelmed, but it also makes the first part stages tedious for anyone who has played before. Once all the specialisations are unlocked, though, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers provides an experience that is almost unrivalled in tower defence.

This isn't to say that it's prefect, because it isn't; the blatant pay-to-win of the Endless Stage takes away most motivation to play that. The story might be fantastic, and it's told through stylised panels similar to a comic book, but many will find themselves just skipping these to get back to the gameplay. The bosses of the campaign and mini-campaigns of the content updates make a lot of pop culture references that are probably supposed to be funny, but they seemed more like the enemies were simply quoting things instead of actually telling jokes. These are minor complaints, though, and don't hurt the fun.

Screenshot for Kingdom Rush Frontiers on Android

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Kingdom Rush: Frontiers is a great game, and it's by a huge margin the best tower defence game available on mobile. It stands only behind Orcs Must Die! 2 as "best tower defence game ever." There is a ton of content to be experienced and no set way for a stage to be completed, which allows for individual styles to come through. In the end, every ability on a hero will be purchased and every tower upgrade will be bought, but that's good; tower defence tends to lose itself when upgrade choices come into play. New gimmicks, unlockables, and a definite sense of progression will inspire players to continue, and it will take a while to see everything there is to see.

Developer

Ironhide Game Studio

Publisher

Ironhide Game Studio

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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