Defender II Review and Tips

So my latest Android addiction is Defender II which is a kind of twist on the tower defense genre. You pilot a single tower and have to guide a hail of arrows at the never ending waves of bizarre monsters marching in to take your castle down. You also have a batch of spells to aid you in your quest.

The gameplay is instantly addictive and it has a refreshing frenetic feel as the waves of monsters pour onto the screen from the right and you frantically drag your finger around to try and target them. Basically wherever your finger is the tower spews deadly arrows. You can also drag spells onto the battlefield from the interface at the bottom and they’ll be enacted when you lift your finger from the screen. It is very accessible and it has that “just one more turn” hook to it that can lead to you missing your bus stop or running the battery down because you’re too determined to beat that last level to stop.

It follows the usual model of upgrades as you go. You earn coins and crystals and you can spend them on upgrades and new defensive features like a lava moat or a tougher crossbow. Naturally the enemies you face get tougher as you progress and you’ll encounter bosses to battle every 10 levels. There’s also a multiplayer battle mode where you can go head to head with another player. The winner is whoever lasts longest. This mode seems a little broken because you’ll rarely encounter a fair fight, one player always seems to be significantly tougher than the other.

Defender II has a grinding element to it because you earn coins even when you fail a level and you can always engage in battle mode against someone else for another chance to earn coins and crystals. You’ll need plenty of both to get your defences up to scratch and beat the higher levels. The nice thing is you can earn them by grinding instead of paying out real cash, which is obviously an option at $1.99 for 8,000 coins or 25 crystals and discounts as you go up.

There is a lot of content here for free and there’s no real need to buy any coins or crystals. The levels seem to go on indefinitely so it’s inevitably going to get boring after a while but it should hook you in the short term. Check out the reviews at Google Play and you’ll find complaints galore about the higher levels, there’s a lesson there somewhere.

Defender II Tips

You might be tempted to blow all your coins and crystals as you accumulate them but some of the more expensive upgrades make things so much easier.

  • Don’t waste too many crystals on upgrading the first batch of spells because the next tier replaces them and same again with the final tier. I found the ice spells to be by far the most useful.
  • Don’t spend your money as soon as you get it. Sometimes it’s good to grind on a level you can’t beat for a while and build up your cash so you can unlock a big upgrade or a series of smaller ones all at once.
  • Remember that when you do upgrade spells you will need more Mana to power them. Upgrade your Mana Research and the Mana Power in your Magic Tower.
  • Fatal Blow and Multiple Arrows are both essential as you go up the levels so unlock them early.
  • Remember to save some crystals for new Phantom crossbow purchases. The bonuses are well worth getting.
  • In terms of strategy it’s pretty straightforward. I tend to sweep the enemies from top to bottom or vice versa and save spells for the next wave coming in. I usually save spells for ranged enemies but sometimes you need to use them on those prickly critters because they are irritatingly tough.
  • Every ten levels you know you’re going to encounter a boss so make sure to save some Mana for the end battle. The best way to use spells during boss battles is to wait until just before they unleash an attack and then hit them with the spell. If you time it right the attack will stop.

Got any Defender II tips of your own? Discovered a great Defender II winning strategy? Post a comment and let us know.

About Simon Hill

I'm addicted to gaming and have been since I was a wee boy. Worked in the industry as a tester, designer and producer. I'm now a full time freelance writer and editor.