Desktop Tower Defense review

Or: the lengths people will go to avoid cleaning their desk

GamesRadar+ Verdict


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    'Comedy' squeaky voices

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    Based on a very addictive Flash game

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    More portable than the PC version


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    Disgusting to look at

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    Balancing is borked on higher difficulties

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    Insulting lack of effort put in

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Why ‘Desktop’? Why use that word for a handheld game? It’s a question that demands to be asked. Well, the action takes place on an office desk for one, but it’s also so named because it began life as a free desktop PC game. As a near-identical port, how this DS iteration can justify a $20 mark-up is a mystery, but before we get to that, let’s see what we have here.

As the name implies, DTD is a tower defense game. You’re given a map with ‘in’ and ‘out’ points, and your job is to prevent waves of ‘creeps’ from getting out once they’ve got in – each one that sneaks through costs you a life.

You have a budget that can be spent on various types of gun tower. Until properly upgraded, these towers fire once every 36 years, so to repel the creeps you need to strategically drop your units around the map. By doing so, you can force the creeps to take long-winded routes to the exit, allowing your towers to chip away at their health bars. Favored placements can be saved to memory so you can jump straight into the next game without having to lay out your toys again.

The difficulty ranges from dead easy to near-impossible. Aside from the main game mode, there are levels featuring pre-determined playing conditions (from physical obstacles to artillery restrictions) that add a degree of replay value, although it stops short of providing a custom map editor. What it does include is the ability to redraw the game’s hideous graphics, which you’ll want to do if you don’t want your DS’s graphics chip to atrophy, but there aren’t any preset skins to get your creativity flowing.

That last point might seem trivial, but it’s symptomatic of how little effort has been put into jazzing up Desktop Tower Defense into something that doesn’t resemble a free Flash game. For a couple of bucks it would have made for a diverting DSi Channel title. But if you’re determined to pay full whack for a tower defence game, go for Lock’s Quest or Ninjatown and leave this withered effort in the office, where it belongs.

Jun 15, 2009

More info

DescriptionDespite being the originator of the whole Tower Defense genre, it's been left behind by those that followed it, playing nearly the same as its much cheaper and older PC counterpart.
US censor rating"Everyone"
UK censor rating"3+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)