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Review – Spice Invaders

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SPICE INVADERS – Developer: On5 – Publisher: Chillingo – Format: iOS – Price: Free

Tower defence games are one of the most popular genres on the iOS platforms. The reason behind their overwhelming dominance of the App Store charts is due to their accessibility and addictive gameplay. So how does a new tower defence game on the scene attract new players? The innovative chaps at Chillingo and On5 believe that space pirates and their unhealthy obsession with spice is the way to capture your attention, and it works. The wacky concept, design, world map, music, all of it is of an impeccably high standard, which grabs you initially, but is Spice Invaders’ attraction superficial? Or does this free game have the makings to be a great pastime? Read on.

Despite the title being a play on words of a very famous arcade game, you’re not an earthling protecting your base from galactic beings. No, this time the tables have turned, and you are the invaders looking to mine Earth for all its spices. Spice Invaders brings along a little story with its familiar gameplay, teasing the player with backstory quotes and facts before each level. The object of the game is to protect your base from numerous waves of enemy forces by tactically placing weapons on each unique map. Completing each map grants your pirate experience, unlocking new levels and game types, as well as new towers and upgrades that you can buy with your spice – the Pirates form of currency. Every stage and game mode can be replayed as much as you like by selecting it from the world map, offering incentive to keep you tapping away on your touch screen device.

The overall interface is quick and slick, making it very user-friendly. And despite a minor technical glitch at the start of the game (I couldn’t select the first level and Chillingo have addressed this issue; I had to fully restart the app), the game runs pleasantly, with no long loading screens. The design is quirky, with cutesy little aliens, colourful images, and neat nuances like the speech bubbles that pop-up from your units during battle; these often induce a chuckle or two.

With the addition of cooperative multiplayer, and other game types, Spice Invaders isn’t short of incentives to keep playing. The fact that it’s a free game certainly makes it worth a try, though obviously like all F2P games, you can spend real cash on in-game currency to buy more items. Though its basic gameplay is tried and tested, the wacky design and plot makes great window dressing, giving On5’s latest release the capacity to spice things up.