Best strategy and tower defense games for the iPad

Aug 11, 2010

In part one of our three-part series chronicling the best games to play on the iPad (so far), we take a look at Plants vs. Zombies HD and other tower defense and strategy games that shine on the 9.7-inch screen of Apple’s tablet computer. Stay tuned to future installments of this series, which will detail […]

In part one of our three-part series chronicling the best games to play on the iPad (so far), we take a look at Plants vs. Zombies HD and other tower defense and strategy games that shine on the 9.7-inch screen of Apple’s tablet computer.

Stay tuned to future installments of this series, which will detail classic titles well played on the iPad, and even get into a little Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Plants vs. Zombies HD ($9.99)

Who doesn’t love zombies? Especially zombies who are perfectly comfortable to take up positions just off your home’s property line, walking in slow, single-file towards your residence in one of several straight paths. It’s your job to plant sunflowers (daytime) or mushrooms (at night) to harvest the power of the sun, which gives you the energy needed to plant nearly 49 unique perennials that will each do their own unique form of damage to stop the zombies in their tracks. Sporting quality graphics, a fanciful soundtrack, 50 increasingly challenging levels in Adventure Mode, 18 unlockable mini-games and the ever-crazy Survival mode, Plants vs. Zombies HD is one app you’ve gotta have on your iPad.

The Squadron: Curse of the Aztecs ($0.99)

Speaking of WWII-era arcade games, The Squadron ($0.99) brings familiar “line-drawing” fun (think Flight Control HD and Harbor Master HD) and nonstop Nazi-destruction action to your iPad.

Looking down on a set battlefield, draw paths for your war planes and bombers to navigate, flying over the evil Nazi vehicles and other forces to stop them from getting to the center, where an alien weapon straight out of the last “Indiana Jones” movie, is just waiting to be triggered. Fail in your mission and, well, very bad things happen. Don’t let your planes intersect, and use your “kill all” super weapon at those critical moments to prevent the game from ending.

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Doodle Blast! HD ($4.99)

My son is eight years old, and he’s been using his pencil to draw all kinds of gun-wielding robots and tanks for as long as I can remember. Doodle Blast! HD ($4.99) brings these childhood drawings to life, giving gamers the power to crush everything in their path, with an ever-growing tower of guns sprouting from the top of a tiny tank. Take out any Jeeps you see first, swat down those helicopters and blow up legions of soldiers. How far can you make it? (Further than me, that’s for sure.) It’s all so crazy-detailed and unique each time you start a new level, you’ll want to play it again and again,

FieldRunners for iPad ($7.99)

You scream, I scream, we all scream for tower defense (TD) games. FieldRunners ($7.99), where the gameplay is straight vanilla TD, fills every pixel of your iPad’s screen, providing a wide-open space to drag out various tower types, which your enemies must navigate to get to the other side of the screen to exit. If enough of them make it across, you lose.

Gun turrets, “sticky towers” and missile launches are all designed to slow down your opponents. You’ll have no trouble dealing with the first 10-20 waves, but beyond that, it will take real skill to get to level 100.

Skilled TD players will enjoy the optimized graphics, which all fit on one large battlefield (read: no scrolling needed to keep tabs on your kill box), and clicking on each turret to upgrade or sell towers is a snap. Controls are super easy to master and there’s plenty of towers to choose from. A trio of game modes and difficulties are available for each map, all adding up to an A+ gaming experience for a mere $8.

Civilization Revolution ($12.99)

With the App Store littered with one-play wonders, 2K Games brings a serious strategy-gaming experience to a device in need of a solid game title in this genre.

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If you’re a fan of Sid Meier’s series of Civilization strategy games, this is a must-have. The $12.99 price tag for Civilization Revolution may sound like a lot, but here’s what you get in return: hundreds of hours of game play, an exclusive world- and scenerio-creation tool, and an optimized gaming experience to draw on your iPad’s stellar graphics and unique control capabilities. It adds up to the most compelling Civilization title since Civ 3. (Don’t get my wife started!)

Start with a humble city, take out other competing countries, explore the world, create and upgrade your armies and cities, all while expanding your empire to become supreme ruler. Win in all the usual ways – domination, economically or socially – or make up your own custom scenarios. Civilization Revolution will have you gesturing your way to world domination and gaming goodness for many months to come. Comparing the iPad version to my Xbox 360 edition ($59) is hardly fair; the iPad version takes a familiar title wherever my family travels and adds unique tools not found on Xbox.

We have a strategy game category killer for the iPad, folks, and its name is Civilization Revolution. Thanks Sid!

Modern Conflict HD ($2.99)

The concept of Modern Conflict HD ($2.99) is super simple. Each map contains a number of color-coded military installations; tap on one, then tap on an enemy base to send your troops into battle. Your units grow larger in number the longer you wait, some filled with tanks, others with helicopters. There are 33 unique missions in all, spanning America, China and Russia. Add in a random map generator and special attacks and you’ve got hours of fun that’s hard to beat for three bucks.

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Tim McLain

Tim McLain is a freelance writer and an online marketing manager, helping serious researchers and students find and make use of the best online content found on the deep Web. His passion for all things computers/tech started when he was a teenager, working with his twin brother to set up a C64 BBS in their bedroom.

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