Few genres are better suited to the iPhone than Tower Defence.
Fieldrunners was one of the original smash hits on the platform- and without the help of a hulking great big brand too- so it’s no surprise that a whole chorus line of also-rans has stepped onto the scene since.
Many bring their own style to the table though, so there’s no reason to just stick with the biggest hitters.
Since the benefits of one game over another are often a case of preference rather than an outright supremacy in the genre, these games are not in a rigid worst-to-best order.
However, we’ve split them into the Top 5 and the rest, to let you know which are the games that deserve a real royal reception.
The Best Tower Defence Games For iPhone
Fieldrunners By Subatomic Studios
We might as well get this one out of the way from the start. Fieldrunners is the most famous TD game on the iPhone, and the several updates the game has had since release have cemented its position as one of the top titles available.
Fieldrunners has great visuals, comprehensive tower upgrades and, unlike most of the other games in this Top 10, it allows you to place your towers anywhere. This doesn’t necessarily make the game better, but it’s a liberating dynamic that alters the gameplay significantly. Unfortunately, Fieldrunners doesn’t tend to come on sale and, since it still regularly features on the top 25 paid chart, we can’t see this changing any time soon.
Geodefense By Critical Thought Games
Commonly referred to as the hardest tower defence game on iPhone, Geodefense features masses of levels and neon visuals inspired by the console hit Geometry Wars. It requires more thought than your average TD game, and levels tend to end in an enemy crescendo that’ll demand that you start placing and upgrading towers at super speed, but it’s still great fun.
The levels are split into three difficulties, with some levels requiring completely different tactics from others for you to have even a slight chance of making it to the end. Geodefense has more levels than any other game on show here, but it lacks the almost-relaxing sense that many other tower defence games have. Each level is a trial- satisfying, but not necessarily something you’ll go back to replay instantly.
7 Cities By Neptune Studios
Price £1.79 normally (currently 59p)
7 Cities is the thinking gamer’s tower defence game. You have to defend seven different cities from countless waves of raiders. The game’s unique feature is the way in which you unlock new towers and tower upgrades.
Whenever you finish a level, the city’s population gives you some red gems. These are used to ‘buy’ upgrades and new towers along a tech tree that you can access from the main menu. It’s a dynamic that ties together sessions and will keep you playing long after you’ve sunk your thousandth trireme.
The Creeps! By Super Squawk Software
The Creeps! may be cute, but it certainly doesn’t go easy on you. You have to fight against hordes of cartoon undead nasties using not just towers, but special powers that also use the iPhone’s tilt control. When you start a level, it’s full of debris too, meaning you’ll have to blast it away in order to build-up your firepower.
It’s due for an update soon, which will add new levels and enemies into the mix, but even as it is, The Creeps! is one of the best tower defence games available. Although you can pause the game to make new towers, time’s a key issue, especially early on in each level as you clean up the landscape.
Sentinel By Origin8
Sentinel is one of the App Store’s more grown-up looking TD games, thanks to its shiny rendered backgrounds. Other than standard towers, you can also buy little robots that fly about, repairing your defences and gathering resources to earn you more cash.
The tower upgrades in Sentinel aren’t quite as interesting as those of some other games as they just increase damage rather than range or ability at the moment, but we think that the game has the potential to mature into a contender for the top spot after a few updates. Like the others in this top 5, it brings its own flavour to the table.
…and the rest
TapDefense really deserves a place in the Top 5 but, sadly, the numbers just didn’t add up and ‘Top 6’ just isn’t catchy as ‘Top 5’. TapDefense is one of the original tower defence games on the iPhone. Its stand-out feature is that it is, and always has been, totally free.
The game started off with just a single mode and one map for each of the difficulty levels, but after a few rounds of updates, TapDefense is a far more fully-featured game that’ll easily suck up hours of your life. It may not have the glitz of some of the Top 5 titles, but if you haven’t given TapDefense a look yet, you should do- right now.
Garden War By Rockifone
Predictably enough, Garden War is set in a garden and you have to protect it from waves of insects looking to do away with your flowers. The peril is almost too much to bear. Aside from a nifty selection of towers, Garden War also has a shop where you can buy new tower upgrades.
It excels in the amount of content it offers too, with 12 maps and loads of tower upgrades. If you’re after a more light-hearted game that still offers bags of challenge and hours of gameplay, Garden War is a good bet.
Circuit Defenders By Sector3 Pty
In Circuit Defenders, you’re trying to save your computer from the viruses that are constantly attacking it. If this sounds a bit too much like surfing the internet and being constantly bombarded by pop-ups, don’t worry because it’s just another visual theme with the same old TD gameplay underneath.
Pace-wise, Circuit Defenders isn’t quite as well managed as some of the other games here, but with 11 levels and almost as many towers, it’s worth checking out if you’re into motherboards and random access memory. There’s a lite version available too.
Retro Defense By Larva Labs
With angular neon visuals, Retro Defense harks straight out of the 80s- in a good way. There’s a lite version available in you’re not keen on splashing out for the full version.
It does come with a decent amount of content, with 15 levels and masses of upgrades for each tower. As with Garden War, Retro Defense doesn’t introduce any exciting new features to the genre, but if you’re into Tron or new romantic music, or long for the experience of the old arcades, give Retro Defense a download.
Zombie Attack By IUGO
Zombie Attack is a strange one. It moves so far from the traditional tower defence dynamic that we almost dismissed it as a straight-out action game. You control a zombie apocalypse survivor trying to save his shack on the ravages of the undead.
You control him directly using tilt controls, and place guns directly on the battlefield. There’s no path as such. Instead, you need to try and attract the attention of the zombies, getting them to follow you instead of going after your shack. Zombie Attack is an oddball title that received some criticism at release, but has thankfully improved into a decent TD-style game thanks to some decent updates.