It is kind of funny how Tower Defense games started to spring up from a Warcraft Mod all those years ago. Starting with Element TD, the genre's popularity spread from the PC game to Flash games and eventually to mobile devices.
But as with all games, you can't just take in what the developers want you to know and base your decision to play on that! There are things like having the right balance in gameplay, to being compact in download size, or even knowing if a game is really offline friendly (not all games that Google Play says are, are.)
But with this guide of what we think are the top 8 free tower defense games on Android, it should help with your decision of what to play a bit more. That said, lets start with number 8's Bloons Series by Ninjakiwi.
Bloons TD, from Ninja Kiwi, is a strategy game that involves monkeys throwing darts at balloons. While most of the Bloons Tower Defense series is pay-to-download, this is the free-to-play version. With 18 different maps, you play against random opponents in one of three modes: Assault, Defensive, and Battle Arena.
In Assault Mode, the point is to send balloons to the enemy player and build your defenses against attack. For Defensive Mode, you try to outlast the competition in a never ending onslaught of balloon attacks. And with Battle Arena, players put down the medallion in-game currency as a bet with the winner taking all.
The game itself is pretty fun, but it requires a constant internet connection to play. It's also hard to click on some places in the map, and if you disconnect it's a loss. So if you are a fan of the Bloon series on armorgames.com, then this game can be something worth playing. But if you are looking for a less cartoonish vibe, check out number 7, Radiant Defense.
In terms of Tower Defense games, Radiant Defense does not disappoint. It looks pretty, the mechanics work, and you can set up the map however you want. But the issue is that it's just that. After a while, it will get kind of boring because it is the same kind of enemy level after level.
While there are benefits to playing this game, like it working with Android TV, it should serve mostly as a way to refresh the Tower Defense genre for you with the art direction and style. But since there is a paywall inside the game (you have to pay to unlock certain towers), this isn't something that would be played endlessly.
The game itself is a light download with a total game size of 17 mb. The economy supporting it is in-app purchases as the developers decided not to opt for ads, which seems like a nice touch -- until you reach the said paywall for more towers.
Anyways, number 6 might be a game you are familiar with, Castle Defense.
If you like fantasy style tower defense games, Castle Defense delivers that and a bit more. From the beginning, there is a story line progression where you choose a character to fight against the hordes of evil. But don't think of it as a game that would win you over with just that.
The four towers come in the three generic TD versions with one exception: the cheap arrow tower, the slow splash cannon, the slow tower, and a chain attack tower. These towers can then be evolved into further specialized towers.
There are also achievements you can get from playing the game, if you are interested in leveling up your Google Play score. But as the game has a ton of in-app purchases, it also has a ton of ads. So if you don't mind getting 4 ads popping up before playing, feel free to try the game here.
Otherwise, check out number 5 on our list, Kingdom Rush.
In terms of tower defense games, Kingdom Rush is pretty much the dead center standard. It has all that you would look for in a game: endless waves of mobs coming in to attack you, the familiar towers, and a standard difficulty that progresses as you go level to level.
But it is just that. Coming from Armor Games, Kingdom Rush is a little bit too generic. If you are trying out tower defense games for the first time, this game would be perfect for you. But if you just want to try it out, the 174 mb download size is a bit too much. The towers are things you probably have seen before in other games - much as if the developers decided to take the safe path in game design.
And while they do throw in things like achievements, Kingdom Rush is best served as a stepping stone to other tower defense games...like Plants vs Zombies at number 4.
Plants vs Zombies started off as a computer game and eventually moved over to mobile. You must defend your home from an endless wave of zombies, using 49 different plants that can grow in water, at night, or during the day. With other tower defense games being focused on the map path, PvZ is a single direction path of destruction.
The game is fun and mini-games help spice it up. That said, playing the computer version first left the mobile version feeling a bit weak. Personally, I prefer being able to disconnect from the internet and play games in peace. With PvZ, the internet connection requirement was something of a turn-off.
If you are looking for something you can let children play on your phone, this game can do the trick. But if you want a game that will give you the tower defense experience you deserve, check out number 3's TDX.
If you are looking for a tower defense game with a more retro feel, you should check out Tower Defense eXtreme. Think back to the games you might have played in the 2000's, with simple graphics and an image pasted on the background. With a free-roaming map, you build the direction you want with straight forward skills. There are four tower types that upgrade linearly. You have the low power cannons, area of effect slows, the heavy splash damage cannons, and the fast rocket attacks.
In some levels, the entrance and exit are just one tower away from each other, whereas on other maps there is a looping path. If you are in trouble or need time to think between waves, you can pause the game to build or destroy towers. But be careful, with the partial refunds it might be better to just restart the level.
TDX is a game that sells itself as something without any gimmicks, and delivers an easy offline play. But what it does not deliver is an easy learning curve. With almost no description of what each tower does, or what the upgrade paths are, you will need to test things out.
But maybe one of the best tower defense games is at number 2 for free-to-play android users, so check out the next slide!
Out of everything Defenders did, their complete control of the map feels the most right. Just by taking your two fingers and turning them on the screen, the map will turn a complete 180 degrees. I'm bringing this up at the start as a bit of a warning. Playing other games afterwards -- that do not offer the same kind of map control -- will just feel off.
There is a learning curve. As you find out what each ability does the game becomes progressively harder. While you have the option to pay, you don't need to. The game is supported by ads, but you can also play offline -- without affecting the gameplay at all -- in order to turn them off. By playing different levels to try and get the highest score, you will end up being able to unlock all of the towers in the game.
With a story line and with boss fights, Defenders isn't so easy that it makes you uninterested in playing. Neither is it so hard that you will need to go online and look for guides. Instead, it rests in this Goldilocks zone of not too warm and not too cold.
My issue with Defenders is that it is pretty CPU intensive for the phone. This means that in terms of playing, it will drain the phone pretty quickly. Also, when you do beat all the levels and finish the achievements, that's it. But all things considered, this game should be in your top 10.
Still, if there is a game that can beat this Defenders: TD Origins, it's our number one.
In Evil Defenders, you play as the poor, demonized demons trying to defend against attacks by the nefarious, evil humans. With this kind of twisted humor as the setting, you find yourself protecting different zones.
Evil Defenders is a fun, frenetic defense game with a bit of humor thrown in. Featuring beautiful graphics and challenging gameplay, Evil Defenders lets you build and upgrade powerful defensive towers, use special landmarks unique to each map, and cast spells to repel enemy forces as you defend.
And with an upgradable skill path, you can easily grind the coins needed to progress smoothly. So the fireballs you throw can get bigger, and the towers can defend more easily. You can download it here.
Tower Defense games are fun, but chances are we missed a few games in making our list. If you want to add something though, make sure it is three things first. Android, Free to play, and a tower defense game. Let me know in the comments, and I will check it out.