Fieldrunners HD Review: Standard Tower Defense Action
As someone who has spent countless hours playing Robo Defense and Sentinel 3, I can safely say that I love tower defense games. So I was excited to review Fieldrunners HD, perhaps the most popular tower defense game on the Android Market. However, while Fieldrunners HD excels at the basics, it falls short in gameplay diversity and variation.
On the surface, Fieldrunners HD has all the makings of a great tower defense game: The units are cartoonish and cute, the classic tower defense weapons (guns, missiles, “slow towers,” and the like) are all present, and several maps are available. Fieldrunners HD starts you off with Classic mode, in which you must beat 100 consecutive waves of enemies. Initially you can play just one map, but once you defeat 50 waves on that map, the next map opens. You still must survive 100 waves to "win" the map and unlock the Extended and Endless game modes. Other tower defense games may go as high as 50 or maybe 80 waves (in extreme levels). Having to sit through 100 waves of enemies just to beat the first map makes Fieldrunners HD feel pretty tedious. The unlocked maps bring a new level of challenge, but they do not do enough to motivate someone to keep playing.
Further increasing the feeling of tedium, the game limits you to the four standard weapons. Unlike other tower defense games, Fieldrunners HD doesn't let you purchase new weapons. This restriction takes away some of the satisfaction that is to be had from defeating wave after wave of enemies, since you are not gaining anything new. It would be great if future updates were to add new weapons, or if the developer were to implement in-app "purchases" for extra content--if only to help curb the repetitiveness of the game.
Fieldrunners HD serves as a gentle introduction to the genre, and it ran very smoothly on my phone. For a more elaborate tower defense game, try Sentinel 3: Homeworld. Or, if you are after something more classic and low-fi but with a strong upgrade system, take Robo Defense for a spin.