There are good tower defense games and there are bad tower defense games. Magic Defender is definitely one of the latter. It will understandably draw you in with its cute visuals and perhaps with the word “gummy” in the game description. A mere five minutes into the game you will find that there is nothing here that will entertain you, nothing here that will keep you playing, and nothing truly original about this game.
(Even if it is kind of cute.)
You start with a very short tutorial that tells you everything obvious and nothing about things you will actually need to know. You will never be told what enemies’ weaknesses are nor will you be told the real strengths of your towers until you test them out yourself. This can lead to some intense frustration as it’s obvious some enemies are weaker to some towers than others, and the game just isn’t going to give you that information.
Who doesn’t love doing everything twice?
Be prepared to restart every stage twice if you’re looking to get a perfect score. Of course, it would be nice to get a perfect score on level — unfortunately, stage 8 is where it gets stingy and doesn’t even want to let you win without tearing your hair out.
So what about the towers?
Magic Defender provides you with four types of towers, which you can upgrade during the course of the game (simply improving individual stats) and via an upgrade tree found in map select. Only their range, damage, and rate of fire change when you upgrade an individual tower while attempting a stage.
Each tower has a special ability that you can enable via the upgrade tree found at stage select. Electric towers have a shock pulse, acid towers poison their targets, cannons do splash damage, and guns will fire shots that go through enemies. This sounds reasonable enough, but the acid and electric upgrades are the only ones that seem to really do any difference in damage. The cannon and gun upgrades are nearly useless unless you stack them, which you can’t do because of the very slim amount of money you get at the start of a stage and from enemy kills.
All looks, no personality
If you’re looking for a good tower defense game, Magic Defender isn’t it. It lacks any real sort of balance or flexibility that you find in good tower defense gun games. It harkens back to the tower defenses of old that required you to restart a level over and over again, except it gives no real sense of satisfaction once you’ve cleared a difficult level. You don’t feel like you’ve “figured it out”, you simply feel like you got lucky with your tower and upgrade combination. It may be brightly colored and cute, but Magic Defender is not worth the time or the headache it requires.