If you know me then you will know that I am a sucker for Augmented Reality games, I love the potential of the game type and I feel it can be better utilised in video games to create a more dynamic and engaging experience so when I saw AR Defenders 2 was coming out I was immediately interested in it and made sure to get it when it came out. Then Christmas happened! So after that distraction I finally sat down and downloaded AR Defenders.
After a brief tutorial you can start to play the main game which consists of 4 Worlds each with 10 levels in them. In these levels you must use various structures like gun towers and shields to defend your main base from an onslaught of enemies trying to destroy it. The main goal is not only to complete the levels but to do them in a good time, the player is awarded a gold, silver or bronze medel and the final time is added to the overall time. To make this time better you can upgrade your buildings by using in game cash that enemies drop after they are killed or use the money to build more structures to help defend your base and while you can only have 4 structures in play at any time you can stack any 3 structures on top of each other to create towers! Example? You can have 4 towers with 3 layers of turrets for ultimate fire power or 2 layers of turrets and 1 shield for a mix of damage and extra defence, these are only a few of the combinations you can create.
As well as the cash you can collect you can also pick up gems, these gems can also be used to purchase stuff outside the main game to help you get better playing the game. These come in the form of new structures for you to use and heroes. These heroes by default join you while you are in battle and will assist you in different ways; they can damage your enemies and can even repair your buildings! However, you have to buy all of them with gems and while they can drop in game it takes a while to collect a good number of them.
This is initial shortcoming becomes a problem in the later stages of the game. Around the latter half world 2 the difficulty ramps up and it becomes almost necessary to buy a better turret and a decent hero. This can take a VERY long time unless you buy gems using real money or use some of the free methods which require you to download apps or fill out surveys etc which is also time consuming. The gems cost anywhere between £0.69 for 100 gems and £69.99 for 50000 gems so they are not that expensive overall, I went and bought myself some gems and got some extra buildings (I got a laser turret) and a hero in order to continue playing.
I have a confession to make; I have never been the biggest fan of RTS games. I have never liked the pacing and the amount of thought that goes into playing them but AR Defenders didn’t make me feel like that. One of the features I really enjoyed was the speed up function, this makes the enemies spawn faster and completes the level faster. The other is that you can gain control of your hero (if you have one) and use them instead of letting the A.I being in control; it really mixes up the gameplay and allows another level of control to the game.
Also the game also has sweet and simplistic art style which allows you to see all the enemies and their mechs with ease even with the augmented reality on. It’s good that the game has this clear art style, even with the AR being used the game still looks really nice and never becomes a giant mess on screen and even if the AR starts to mess up or you just don’t want to use it anymore you can turn it off and return to normal gameplay at any time.
What is most surprising about AR Defender 2 is how much it doesn’t really make you want to buy the gems; you can get them by battling often which is not a bad thing. Every time you complete a battle you get EXP which eventually levels you up. By increasing your level it allows you to buy better buildings and heroes while also unlocking new levels to battle in, it also allows you to gain a knowledge of how the A.I works while fighting them which is a great advantage in the later levels of the game.
The only annoying thing about this game is that in order to play it at is best you will need a tablet to play it on. The bigger screen helps when things get hectic and allows you to control your forces a lot more efficiently than with a phones screen. This is a shame because it really cuts the games market down; the plus side of this multiplatform feature is that it allows for various devices to be used in the multiplayer aspect of this game.
As I previously mentioned, I am not the biggest fan of RTS games, that being said I would happily recommend this game to any fan of those types of games and to some who are looking to get into them. Despite it having the markings of a “Pay-to-Win Game” it really does not make you feel like you have to pay to unlock the extras, which is rare for a game in this style and I found that rather refreshing. AR Defenders 2 also uses Augmented Reality really well considering it is on the mobile platforms and it is something I really want to see in more games and hopefully utilised in more unique ways. If you do pick this game up I suggest getting the £2.99 pack in order to make the game more enjoyable, it gives you a decent amount of gems and is rather reasonable for the amount of time and fun you will get out of this game.