Game Review: Radiant Defense


I haven’t done a game review in a long time. This is largely in part because I’ve hardly played any games, especially since moving to Sai Gon. There is, however, something of a gaming community here, one that I’ve only recently partaken in, and lets just say it’s more than comforting to meet fellow birds of a feather.

Today, though, I’m focusing on a mobile game, one I’ve played in the past and recently downloaded again. Radiant Defense is a title released by Hexage Games, and in a nutshell it can be compared to most other Tower Defense games you or I have played. It stands out, however, with it’s radiance.

This game is heavily saturated with color, and in recent years I’ve come to understand my own personal aesthetic attraction toward bright colors. I love when women dye their hair some unnatural shade of the rainbow, or watching vibrantly painted motorbikes speed by, and even my favorite shirts are very “loud” (though solid) colors. The Candy-esque colors of Bangkok taxis were rather appealing, and the motley of mad skittles-themed clothing from hippies and mountain-tribes alike is fascinating to me.

 

Radiant Defense delivers in the eye-candy department.

It’s a free download, too, though there are expected micro-transactions. When I first played this game – perhaps a year and a half before this post – I did so avidly. During that time, I spent a lot of time on buses or trains during a commute from Woodstock, NY to Manhattan, and had ample time to read or listen to music. More often, though, I used that time to try downloadable mobile games from the Google Play Store.

Apparently it’s available on Steam, too, though not for free. I wager it contains all the tower upgrades.

The same company released an earlier game simply entitled Radiant, a game designed in the loving memory of early top-down shooters – such as Galaga. The developers don’t shy away from making references to such games, even referring to one of the multitude of flying enemy aliens as Galagan in origin. Well, says I, why not? It is most apropos.

Have videogames taught you nothing? Of course ship-sized bugs can fly through space with wings.

 

A cool thing is that Radiant and Radiant Defense do, in fact, occur in the same universe. There’s a special object that can be unlocked called the Eye of the Allfather, granting the ability to use Psionic Terrorshock – a map-wide slow that can make or break a stage. The flavor text for the structure reads as follows:

Vat-grown and stabilized ocular belonging to a terrifying alien specimen that’s believed to be the great ancestor of all alien lifeforms. Genetic material needed for its reproduction had been scraped off the battle-worn starship “Radiant” shortly after the legendary Sergent Max Blaster re-emerged from the past.

Galagan indeed.

There’ve been some complaints about Radiant Defense. After reaching a certain point, progression becomes extremely challenging, if not impossible, unless you purchase upgrades from the in-game store. I myself have in fact gotten a few, as much because I enjoy the game and wanted to support the developer as required them to move on.

At $0.99 each, an upgrade will unlock a number of new towers, meaning I’ve spent a grand total of $1.98 on this game.

And I am stingy as hell in general, let alone with online game purchases. I’m not being sponsored by Hexane games either for that matter – I’ve never received any benefit for my reviews except the for the satisfaction of having put some words out in the embroiling mass of tendrils known as the internet.

In any case, I like this game. Enough to have actually spent money on it. The writing and story is respectably minimal, too – it’s a Tower Defense, how much story is actually necessary for such a game to continue?

There is a little lampshading, though, which adds to the campy humor. Tower Defense games, by their very nature, don’t really follow any kind of logic in terms of actual warfare. You build towers that continually mow down relentless waves of mindless enemies running in a line. To those unfamiliar with this genre, that might sound boring – and in some games, it is. But Radiant: Defense has a mix of interesting towers and peculiar enemies that make it stand out among many other TD’s I’ve tried.

For the record, the best tower defense I’ve ever played, that echoes in my memory as possibly the one to rule them all, wasn’t a standalone game, but rather a modded custom level for Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne. You can download the map here, if you happen to have that game still kicking around in your harddrive.

This’s a reference that’ll click with approximately three of you.

 

Aside from the word radiant being one of my top favorite words — aside which you’ll find the words ambientnoticeable, and amiable, you should try Radiant: Defense.

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