There have been a lot of tower defense games developed for mobile handsets. Many of them have tried to differentiate themselves with some kind of noticeable gimmick, which is why the unassuming Robo Defense might not seem very impressive at first. Where are the zombie hordes, magic spells, or adorable animals? Even without any fluff, this is a tower defense game at its most basic…and satisfying.
Like in any other tower defense game, in Robo Defense, you must build turrets to keep waves of enemies (in this case, robots) from crossing your free-fire zone. The mindless drones will follow whatever path you lay out for them, so the best strategy is to turn an open field into a maze of death as quickly as possible. You can also upgrade your pea shooters to extravagant missile towers, with unique attributes like slowdown, flame, or antiair specialties.
None of this should sound all that different to anyone who has played a tower defense game before, but Robo Defense's unique twist is that the game lets you level up your army of turrets between games. A proper game consists of 100 waves of enemies, and whether you win or lose, the points you earn let you unlock new bonuses, like more starting cash or stronger defenses. This way, you're not only improving your defenses within a game as you proceed, but you can also improve your turrets overall between games.
Robo Defense's mission-select screen, which lets you fine-tune the difficulty and pick from one of six different maps, essentially lets you customize your own experience. Achievements for unusual tactics, like not building rockets or saving up your cash, encourage you to try out new methods as well.
The controls in Robo Defense work well--a basic swipe from a panel in the lower-right corner is all that's required to place a turret. A simple tap will let you upgrade your towers in the midst of battle. It would be nice to be able to zoom the map in or out, but the levels are not so massive that you'll miss a lot of what's going on and the map scrolls smoothly if you drag your finger around the screen (though a greater variety of enemies and a faster fast-forward view would have also been welcome).
Robo Defense may not have a lot of the charm of many other tower defense games, but it's like a well-oiled machine itself; it's precise, well executed, and works very well, indeed.
This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner SlideToPlay.com.