Any gamers that would dare to doubt that pieces of rubber containing air would ever be objects of terror obviously haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the Bloons Tower Defense series of games. Thrust on the gaming community way back in 2007, Bloons TD started as simple browser-based tower defense game and involved a simple concept: utilising monkeys as towers against which you would defend an onslaught of attacks. The twist that makes the franchise unique is that you are defending yourself against wave upon wave of balloons. The series is now in its 6th generation of games, enjoying success both online and on mobile devices. This article looks at what makes the latest Bloons Tower Defense games so great (and what isn’t so great) in the context of the tower-defense competition out there, too.
After the mighty Kingdom Rush series hit the world in 2011, it seemed there wasn’t even much point in looking elsewhere for the next tower-defense fix. However, along with the wildly successful Plants Vs Zombies franchise, the internet has thankfully continued to see the online tower-defense game community being treated to yet more dizzying heights of the genre in the form of Bloons Tower Defense. The Bloons Tower Defense series has been in our collective consciousnesses now for a staggering 12 years now, predating even the fantastically designed Kingdom Rush and even spreading as far and wide as Gemcraft, and even being graced with creatures from the Pokemon universe.
Bloons TD began as a humble browser game, taking the tower defense concept, adding a simian twist and introducing the lowly balloon as an object of terror and reckoning. Bloons is currently in its 6th iteration, which speaks to its success and longevity in the tower defense genre. Here we will look at some of the latest Bloons TD games, exploring why these games have enjoyed such towering success in a genre that continues to enjoy popularity across the world in its various forms.
Darts Across the Ages
The Bloons Tower Defense series has come a very long way since its inception way back in 2007. These days, Bloons Tower Defense 6 is carrying the Ninjakiwi’s tower-defense torch, bringing with it the stark paywall model (the app costs $4.99 and really is worth every cent) that contrasts with its early beginnings as a free-to-play browser-based game. You can visit Ninja Kiwi’s Bloons Tower Defense page if you want to experience the title that started it all.
As it stands, Bloons TD 6 continues shunning the all-too-standard tower defense model by offering a simply staggering amount of content. Some have accused the game of becoming too bloated, and you can see where they are coming from. With dozens upon dozens of towers to defend as well as to upgrade repeatedly on a virtually continuous basis, there seems to be no limit to the combinations of towers you can erect in any given level. You can even deploy aerial vehicles (such as helicopters) to cover certain parts of the screen while the bloons – from standard fodder to the more difficult ones like the camouflage variety – attempt to overtake you.
Bloons TD6 certainly is a game for the hardcore completionists out there. If you are looking for a variety of different levels with changing scenery, a sense of momentum, or just the feeling like you’re on an adventure with a storyline, characters, and some serious time investment – then Bloons TD6 probably isn’t for you. For this kind of time investment, you’ll probably do well to cast your eyes on the more varied and imaginative twists on tower defense, such as the Pokemon Tower Defense series of games. In extreme contrast to Bloons TD6, the Pokemon Tower Defense games can involve catching a staggering variety of creatures and battling it out in ever-changing environments. With Bloons TD6, the game does evolve, but mainly in terms of quantity of enemies and upgrades – the levels themselves can be come a bit similar at times.
The Classics are the Best?
The balloon-monkey dart throwing action in some of the previous iterations of the game was arguably the best seen in the series, however. Bloons TD 5, while not quite offering the level of polish or tower/balloon variety of Bloons TD 6, still contains an impressive variety while maintaining a slightly less bloated flow of gameplay.
The monkey towers in Bloons TD5 range from the standard Dart Monkey, Tack Shooters, Boomerang Throwers, and Super Monkeys through to the deluxe models such as the Monkey Engineer and the mighty Bloon Chipper, which shreds up all bloons that dare to near its path. Druid and Alchemist towers were added for Bloons TD6, but you would have to determine for yourself whether these small additions are worth the more crowded and hectic gameplay. Even Bloons TD5 wasn’t without its flaws, however, since the gameplay tends to suffer from lag when you’re in the latter stages of the game. The emphasis on pushing players towards buying the premium currency also upset several users, particularly fans of the original where everything came free as standard.
The kind of lag mentioned here isn’t unique to the later iterations of the game, however. Even Bloons TD 4 suffered from framerate problems when enough towers and bloons were present on the screen. The 4th iteration of the game certainly brought an increased variety of towers again, however much like the 5th and 6th iterations, arguably sticks a little too rigidly to the tried-and-true format of Bloons.
Though the levels of Bloons TD may change (with 15 different maps available upon the release of the Bloons TD 4), and the monkeys/bloons may have been more diverse than ever, but the persistence of the classic formula and reliability of slow-downs in the latter stages can be seen as a definite negative across all later versions of the game. As a series, Bloons TD doesn’t quite match up to the gloss and polish of Kingdom Rush, but for hectic, all-out tower defense madness, it certainly holds its own.