Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: Vampire Rush (iPad, iPhone)

 It’s good to see that, even after being acquired by EA, Chillingo has not dropped a beat. It continues to work hard at providing interesting and entertaining iPhone and iPad games, and supporting the ‘little guy’ developers.

It doesn’t always work (we weren’t a big fan of Etolis Arena, though Chillingo did do the right thing and provide a massive update that vastly improved the experience), but it still has more hits than misses. The newest hit? Developer A-Steroid’s tower defence Gothic epic, Vampire Rush.

Them gates are the ones you'll be defendin' this time



Yes, it’s a tower defence game, so immediately you’re going to get an idea about how this game plays. Luckily, it conforms to virtually every good principle of the tower defence genre and really is worth a look into, even for casual fans of the tower defence genre.

The experience is not as passive as many other examples of the genre. There’s a comic little hero, Captain Greg, who runs around the battlefield dropping towers. He’s directly controllable, and wields a sword – yep, in this game you get to personally slaughter beasties.

There’s not a huge variety in towers to play with, but they are upgradeable, and Captain Greg himself has a few upgrades to learn that turn him into a biological weapon of his own. The action can get pretty hectic – running back and forth laying down and upgrading towers, plugging defensive holes, and then tracking down treasure boxes, which are nearly always positioned in challenging locations. 

Going for the jugular


It’s as action packed as tower defence games get, without entirely ignoring strategy. Funds are quite limited, and juggling buying and upgrading towers, and keeping the hero in a condition to fight the more difficult enemies is a constant and addictive balancing act.

The game is also easy on the eyes. Despite a lack of variety, Vampire Rush is a good looking, toon-styled world of horror. The map design is as good as we’ve ever seen in a tower defence game, with bright and chunky buildings, objects and characters that strike the perfect balance between artistic design and function. Zombies, vampires and other feral beasts of the night are colour coded to give you a clue to their strength, and though the camera is zoomed quite close in, it’s easy to see and respond to threats thanks to a useful minimap before they become too much of a headache.

As well as all this is designed, Vampire Rush is a little light on content. The lack of towers and enemy variety is easily forgivable due to the action-packed style of gameplay. What isn’t as forgivable is the tiny selection of levels to play on. You’ll be through with this game far more quickly than most tower defence games, and though there is some incentives to return thanks to some strict high score challenges and Game Center achievements, the game ends up being more disposable than it deserves to be. 

Light. The ultimate enemy of the undead


Hopefully some DLC will introduce more chapters to this tale, because Chillingo should not be done with Captain Greg yet. That said, given the choice between a really good game thin on content, and a really big game thin on quality, we know which we’d choose. 





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