The tower defense genre has been around since the earliest days of Warcraft 3 buts its popularity as a mainstream genre has seen a resurgence recently. Tower defense is now a universally played video game genre across everything from the current home consoles to iOS and Android devices.
Of course, it’s easy to understand why tower defense games are so immensely popular; they’re hugely entertaining. There’s something so inherently satisfying about their gameplay loop that even the most basic of tower defense games can still provide hours of amusement. Setting traps, building up defenses, strategizing the placement of upgraded towers; each level brings with it the anticipation of new enemy variety and the big question: can my tactical formations withstand a renewed onslaught?
Although good old fashioned tower defense games remain a staple genre in the mobile gaming scene, we’ve seen several console and PC tower defense titles expand the concept to incorporate RPG and even FPS elements into the experience. The result is some awesome hybrid tower defense games that balance the strategic gameplay of traditional tower defense games with hero upgrades and shooter mechanics as well. Whatever your preference, we’ve got you covered with this list of the 7 best tower defense video games available to play right now across console, PC and mobile devices.
GemCraft’s blend of strategy and RPG elements was a big hit with gamers when it debuted in 2008 for iOS, but the follow up title Labyrinth is certainly the series peak. At its core, GemCraft is a traditional turret defense game, but the ability to craft and upgrade different Gem stones puts a new spin on things.
GemCraft’s Gem system works by enabling power ups to different towers, with each Gem color granting special abilities. It doesn’t stop there though, as each different Gem size and color can be combined for unique effects and damage bonus’. Gems can also be used in combination with ground traps to further damage enemies as they attempt to battle through each lane, but the unique abilities of Gems differ between tower and trap, adding further depth to strategy. The whole system offers an impressive depth to crafting, and the sheer quantity of various Gem effects provides endless replay value. Don’t be fooled by GemCraft’s rudimentary flash aesthetic; GemCraft Labyrinth is right up there with the best tower defense games ever made.
A spin off from developer Neocore Games Van Hellsing series, the Xbox One and PC video game Death Trap is an example of hybrid tower defense game. It’s a mash up of traditional tower defense games with Diablo style top down RPG action. Players actually take control of a hero avatar which they control during the game. There are three classes with their own abilities; sorceress, warrior, and gunslinger.
Death Trap features progression and levelling mechanics across typically found in RPG’s and marries them to an interesting take on tower defense. Essentially, you need to prevent hordes of rather sinister looking demons from reaching a portal situated at your end of the game map. Players are able to attack the demons, but characters are only able to inflict minimal damage. The key to success lies in your ability to activate magical traps such as gun turrets, spike pits or even acid pools. During later levels, Death Trap turns into an absolutely blood bath of guts and gore. Death trap is a blast to play and leaves us wondering why we haven’t seen more hybrid tower defense games become popular.