Tiny Heroes, at first glance, seemed much more like a tower defense-lite title than a full-fledged hardcore “protect the land” title. And I liked it. While I found Simutronics Corp.’s geoDefense an agreeable little mobile powerhouse, I instantly gravitated toward the cartoonish and more simplistic nature of Tiny Heroes, which boasts adorable little heroes (as the title suggests) setting out to pilfer treasure from any locale they can. While a little easier than hardcore tower defense fans may clamor for, it’s an engaging (and completely adorable) adventure that’s well worth your $2.99.
A few lengthy tutorial levels set the stage for what’s to come, and then you’re introduced to building dangerous defenses, properly managing the resources available to you, and making sure you can keep the other advancing heroes out of your business – and all that treasure. Lush and colorful environments rife with baddies require you to build countermeasure after countermeasure, fueled by mana stones that allow you to build and build. You’ll have access to catapults, booby-trapped floor panels complete with spears, and plenty more deadly pieces of equipment, and at the beginning of each stage, much like with Final Fantasy’s Crystal Defenders, you must choose your loadout and placement before sending enemy soldiers through.
It’s prudent to choose your traps wisely: the advancing soldiers are split into different classes such as thieves and wizards, and they can disarm your traps and your best-laid plans. You’ll need to think a little harder and a little further ahead if you want to best these enemies, who will blindly march toward their goal as quickly as possible. It can become a little grueling in later levels, but as you advance through the game and earn more sophisticated traps and defenses you’ll be an old hand at Tiny Heroes in no time.
Each hero’s googly-eyed stare and classic Dungeons and Dragons-inspired garb is giggle-inducing, and even the enemies so charming that it’s hard not to fall in love with this cheap little diversion. OpenFeint support with achievements and Campaign mode make what might otherwise feel like a slog much more like pathways to greatness – it’s addictive to replay certain levels to attain a higher score, and Quick Play allows for score-gaming in shorter doses.
If you’re looking for your next exercise in tower defense on the go, Tiny Heroes is an exemplary choice from acclaimed geoDefense creators and should provide hours of defense-destroying goodness on the go. I would certainly love to see an iPad version of it in the future (or at the very least, a universal app), but for now I’m content to take my conquesting on the go with my faithful little iPod Touch. I’ve no doubt we’ll see similar adventures in the future with these adorable little guys.
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