Tower Defense games have been around since the dawn of gaming, with games like Space Invaders and Missile Command, they’re actually some of the first games that most people ever played and that made the leap from video arcade to home gaming. So, it makes sense that they’re more popular than ever thanks to the advent of the smartphone, as most people are looking for relatively simple games to pass the time while stuck on a train or on the toilet at work. So, while the game play and goals are similar, the new age of tower defense games do sport some pretty impressive graphics, gameplay, story-lines and upgrades that can pit you against your friends, bring pretty awesome devastation to your enemies and really give anyone who thought that Missile Command was the pinnacle of gaming a pretty hardcore nosebleed. So, let’s take a look at the Top 10 Tower Defense Games out there!.
10. Toy Defense: Fantasy Tower
Toy Defense is a franchise in and of itself, created by the unfortunately named Melesta Games, a studio that seems to have the mobile gaming industry on lock. Fantasy Tower is the third entry from their Toy Defense series, following Toy Defense and Toy Defense 2. The first Toy Defense was a huge hit for Melesta and was ported onto PC, iOS, social, Free-2-Play and Nintendo 3DS (on top of Android platforms) and was based during World War I (where as it’s sequel was based in World War II)… For toys. The first Toy Defense game not set during a real 20th Century conflict, Fantasy Tower obviously focuses on a fantasy world which makes it a lot more fun (and more logical than mixing toys and the holocaust, for example) than it’s predecessors. It boasts an impressive 96 levels, ground and air troops, a wide variety of baddies, boss battles and the mechanics and graphical cues that made the first two games big hits. It also has weekly tournaments to keep people engaged after they’ve gotten through those 96 levels.
9. Bloons TD 5
Bloons is a cartoon based tower defense game with a fervent following that while adhering to the core adherents/controls/gameplay of most tower defense games, does just enough to set itself apart from the pack to make this list. Part of that is the sheer variety of towers that you’ll have access to in 21, which all have their own wide range of upgrade options, weapons and pros and cons. Beyond that, the game itself has over 50 levels, 250 individual missions, side missions, upgrades and so much more that it’s really worth the cost to purchase ($2.99 the last time we checked). There are three different game modes, as well, which makes replay pretty high for a game that does look like it could suffer from being too easy as it does look like it’s target audience is under the age of 12. However, it’s aesthetic doesn’t dictate the difficulty, even if people of all ages will enjoy this fun take on the genre and if you’re looking for a tower defense game with a lot of variety and options, then check out Bloons TD 5.
8. Defense Zone 3
Defense Zone 3 is obviously the third entry in one of the more popular tower defense franchises and it perhaps does the best job of any sequel game on this list of balancing the familiarity from it’s previous games with the new features needed for people to engage with a brand new, old game. While some games lean towards cartoony or “fun” graphics, defense zone 3 has pretty realistic graphics that appear to be the view from a satellite that’s looking down on a military base from space. A great game for both novice and expert gamers thanks to it’s multiple difficulty modes, Defense Zone 3 offers a smorgasbord of turrets (eight different kinds) that also keeps the game play engaging, exciting and different. There are special battles as well, which help break up the monotony that many games in this genre can end up falling victim to. Beyond that, Defense Zone 3 is one of the larger international titles, which is evident by it’s 20 different supported languages.
7. Dungeon Defense
If you’re taking this list as any indication, it’s clear that most tower defense games don’t really hit their stride until they hit their second or third game. That’s not the case with Dungeon Defense, a fantasy based tower defense game that’s not dissimilar to another game on this list, Plants vs. Zombies (see # ). Like that game, you essentially place players along-side the border on the left side of your screen to stop baddies from crossing the field and attacking your base. Because of that, it has a lot more actual input and action than most tower defense games, which is why it makes this list on it’s first try/iteration. Beyond that, you also end up with more ways to customize things as you can collect/upgrade new weapons, which for some is the most important (or at least addicting) aspects of these games, as there’s a strange sense of satisfaction that comes from upgrading weaponry. Beyond that, there’s a decent achievement system in place as well. All of this is even more impressive considering that it was developed by a single person as opposed to an entire company with millions of dollars to spend, so if you want to make dreams come true while defending your tower, pay the 99 cents for Dungeon Defense. Oh, and the old school,, 8-bit graphics will tickle you right in your nostalgia bone as you attempt to slaughter an endless horde of baddies from your perch(es).
6. Element TD
Element TD is aptly named, as the type of towers you can use are dictated by which element (air, water, fire, etc.) you choose. Outside of that, this tower defense game is pretty cut and dry, in a simple in a good way sort of way. The variety of maps keeps the game interesting, as each obviously brings its own frustrations and interesting quirks. While it may have gotten lost in the fray thanks to the tons of fremium tower defense games out there, the amount of towers (44), types of baddies (50), amount of achievements (30) and amount of difficulty settings (5) make this game a must try for any tower defense afficianado, especially once you realize that you often get a better deal when you pay for a game upfront as opposed to playing a game that ends up basically forcing you to use in-game purchases to get to the next level. A fun twist on the magic that a lot of these games rely on, give Element TD a try if your favorite part of fantasy tower defense games is the magic.
5. Grow Castle
While the genre of games we’re covering is most often referred to as “tower defense”, there actually aren’t a lot of games in which you’re actually using a tower to defend yourself or defending a tower. That’s not the case with Grow Castle, which takes the genre literally and gives you a selection of heroes to use when defending your tower. That selection is amazing and one of the bright spots of this game, with 120 heroes at your disposal. The graphics are also a literal bright spot, as they’re a fun form of animation that gives this game a feel that is all it’s own and that is pretty consistent through out the different levels and game screens. Of those 120 heroes, each has it’s own individual powers/strengths that actually end up shaping the context of the game itself, which makes it a lot more RPG-y than other tower defense games as well, something that’s a welcome addition to the genre (which can become tired, especially if you’re downloading and playing let’s say the top 10 games in the genre). Beyond the game itself, Grow Castle, perhaps does the best job on this list of any of these games in terms of integrating co-op play, as there are guilds that you can create and join to play alongside friends and other players. There is also a decent community of people on YouTube doing Let’s Play(‘s) for Grow Castle, which is typically a great sign for a game.
Despite its name, Infinitode is a fairly minimal tower defense game that is also fairly limited in terms of its graphics. That’s not a negative, however, as it’s that simplicity that allows the player to really start out small but build like crazy, which is something that a lot of tower defense games don’t let you do. To give you some idea of the scale involved, you can actually create up to 1,000 towers at once, which means that the game may look simple but that’s because it basically has to be, otherwise the memory would take up your entire device. That means that the maps are huge, perhaps the largest of any game in the genre (or at least on this list). What’s even better is that there’s a map editor that allows you to customize things beyond your thousands of towers. That allows every level to feel and actually be endless, which is the sort of thing that makes you realize that even simple (looking) games in 2018 are really just so far beyond what we thought was possible back when the OG tower defense games like Space Invaders were running things. If you’re into massive scale and the chaos that that promises (and delivers), then Infintode may be the game for you!
3. Myth Defense
Myth Defense may boast simple mechanics, which is sort of the most obvious statement in a genre of games that may have the most simple game-play mechanics of any game (which is also obvious considering that most of these games are mobile games). However, as this list has shown, simplicity can be an asset for a tower defense game and that’s the case here, as well. Typically that simplicity is there for a reason, and in the case of Myth Defense, by focusing solely on tower defense (as opposed to some games that focus on offense, or spawning characters, etc.) it allows the game to do the few things it actually does extremely well. That allows Myth Defense to implement things like alchemy into their game, which is a fun addition to a genre that seemingly has no end to it’s creativity and growth. Boasting some pretty unique graphics that feel perfect considering the universe that the game exists within (a mythical universe, duh), each of the game’s 18 levels feel unique. One major differentiating factor is not that Myth Defense has two game difficulties, but that it allows you to play both difficulty levels at the same time with two separate game files. Talk about multi-tasking! There are also random maps,33 total levels and 22 towers (along with 3 traps), making this worth the $2.99/$3.99 price tag and one of the top entries on this list.
2. Kingdom Rush
The bread and butter of mobile gaming is the ability to create a tentpole or franchise and that’s why you’ll see numbers behind most of the entries on this list. However, sometimes it’s hard to choose just one entry out of a franchise and that’s the case with the Kingdom Rush franchise, which is one of the most famous and highly rated tower defense franchises in the Google Play store. A classic tower defense set of games, don’t let it’s simple gameplay fool you (which, if you’ve read this far into the list and are fooled, then I’ve done a bad job). Set, like many of these games (perhaps for obvious reasons), in a medieval fantasy world, a player can build towers along Strategy Points that are broken down into four separate classes (Mages, Archers, Barracks and Artillery). With 18 total levels and nearly 50 enemy types, the original Kingdom Rush game set the standard for this sub-genre within the genre that is tower defense gaming. What’s great beyond the typical description(s) is just the TLC that goes into these games, with really great production value behind each title. For example, these games have full voice acting to give the game’s storyline even more oomph and feeling, something that not many mobile games, period, can muster (even if most of the voices are done by the same person). Both Kingdom Rush and Kingdom Rush: Frontiers rock a 97 community score online, which shows you just how great these games are (it’s also been played by almost 60 million people, which is a staggering amount, even for tower defense games).
1. Tower One: Sky Defense
Tower One: Sky Defense is the newest entry to the tower defense genre that was released by gaming studio The Finger Fighters and nabs the top spot for a couple of reasons. First, it’s really taken what’s great about a lot of the games in the genre and perfected it, with a highly customizable experience that’s got a ton of replay value, high customization, a great story and the ability to compete against friends in a way that most games haven’t been able to match. Set in modern day, which after playing a lot of medieval fantasy tower defense games feels refreshing, Tower One is named as such because you’re only allowed one tower. That tower must compete against a ton of different enemies and some really surprisingly complex bosses, most of which will hit you straight in the nostalgia as they remind of you playing games like Contra. The ability to selectively upgrade aspects of your tower make this game hard to put down, as well, as you fight to collect power up tokens to increase the speed, range, reload time and much more for each of your different types of missiles. Beyond that, while this game also boasts simple mechanics it’s actually one of the more difficult games on this list, which makes it the right kind of frustrating for people who want an actual challenge that can be extremely rewarding. It’s also free but doesn’t really force you to spend any money out of pocket unless you want to, which is also refreshing in this era of Fremium games.