It is easy to be a fan of the Pokemon game franchise, and even if you have never laid your hands on Nintendo and Gamefreaks’s worldwide video game smash hit, just one look at some of the game’s most adorable critters is sure to lure you in. Pokemon is all finding rare fictional creatures and catching them to join your team. With every Pokemon that joins you, you gain more chances to defeat and catch other Pokemon –with the eventual goal of "catching them all", or so goes the series’ penultimate catch phrase (though some purists may argue that this catch phrase only applies to the western release of the title but not for the original release in Japan, but that is a completely different discussion).
Pokemon Tower Defense is all about the great things in Pokemon, encountering unique creatures, having them join your side, assembling a team of your own hand-picked Pokemon to fight. It may sound a little odd, but after a few minutes of playing the game, you will definitely find yourself addicted to it.
Searching Far and Wide
The charm of Pokemon lies in a simple concept: these creatures are adorably cute. And the ones that are not on the cute, look fantastically cool (which goes for most of the "legendary" type Pokemon). Simply put, you will want to have as many of these creatures in your roster as soon as it is possible. Now, for those of you who are a little confused, PTD is actually a fan made game and not an official Nintendo software, and as such, the game is not officially recognized by Gamefreaks.
That aside however, PTD still manages to deliver a seriously good player experience whether you are a fan of the series of not. For the uninitiated, the game offers a wide variety of content to play around with as well as extensive extras that will make the time to play this game worth your while. Fans, on the other hand, will certainly appreciate the use of the original sprites (of both Pokemon and characters) as well as the use of correct terminologies that help complete the atmosphere of the game.
In Pokemon Tower Defense, you play the role of a new Pokemon trainer –which pretty much mirrors the start of the original games, and you get to meet the ever-popular Professor Oak. Here, you are given the choice of three starter Pokemon: Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmander. Each of the three has its own unique traits and elemental specialties. After choosing the one that you like best, you are sent off on your way. Before you get far, you are summoned back to help Oak fend off some nasty ratata from attacking his lab; and thus begins your adventure.
The game then unfolds from the perspective of your character allowing you to experience the Pokemon world from a new point of view. Also, most of the game’s original characters have already aged, providing you with an alternative-universe that does not contradict the canon storyline of the original games.
As a fan made game, expect to see plenty of humor that fans would enjoy –such as references to anime, other games, and some tongue-in-cheek statements about the nuances of the actual Pokemon game.
Less RPG, More TD
As the title says, this is a tower defense game, and as such, you will be following the basic rules of a TD game. Enemies charge in and you must prevent enough of them from reaching the enemy goal (which in this case is often collecting candy or Pokeballs). To stop the enemy Pokemon, you are allowed to bring up to six Pokemon into battle and they will stand at designated tiles on the map attacking the Pokemon that pass by.
Fans of the series will appreciate the use of the game’s official attack moves such as lightning ball, false swipe, and other techniques. As one would expect, Pokemon serving as defense towers will use attack abilities while the ones running on the path will be using defensive moves. Of course, this sometimes changes as some enemies will also use attack powers that will lower the HP of your own Pokemon. Should a Pokemon’s HP get depleted, you will not be able to use that Pokemon for the duration of the stage, effectively lessening the strength of your party.
The game also takes players away from the standard TD experience by placing in stages where you have to play as the aggressor and will have to be the ones doing the attacking. In this case, the enemy will have Pokemon defenders and you must decide the order in which your Pokemon move in. It not only makes for a great change of pace, but it also makes you plan ahead about which skills to equip on which Pokemon. This inclusion of strategy in the planning of a Pokemon’s stats is one of the key aspects of the original game and certainly makes for an interesting addition in PTD.
PTD also offers special challenge stages, which are accessed in the main menu of the game. From there, you will be given a specific set of objectives to achieve. Succeeding will net you new Pokemon to add to your roster as well as special items that you can use. In some of these challenges, the game itself provides you with stage specific Pokemon to use. In others, you must deploy your own Pokemon into battle.
The World of PTD
As if the game was not massive enough with plenty of stages and Pokemon to catch, PTD also has a community aspect for players to enjoy. Basically, there is a large community site where you can post your Pokemon up for trades and also look at the trades being offered by other players. This allows you a chance to earn new or rare Pokemon without having to encounter them in the game. Also, there are a few unique Pokemon that are not available in the game itself –you will need to trade in order to get them.
The developers of PTD also hold special events which give out special Pokemon as prizes for players, as expected these prize Pokemon are not only rare but are often limited in quantity, and many players of the game aim to earn these Pokemon by part of the events or through trading with existing winners.
Aside from trading, you may also opt to use a bit of real cash to spend and buy yourself some special Pokemon to add to your team. This is mostly where the developers are able to earn money. So if you want to support the devs behind PTD, this is where you can do it. Not only will you be able to show the developers how much you like their work, but you get a few in-game incentives as well.
If you are playing the newer Pokemon releases (like Black or White), then you will certainly find the art for PTD to be a little retro. Most of the pixel graphics for PTD are based on the earlier releases of the games for the Game Boy Advance, while the artwork has been updated quite a bit, it is not as clear or sharp as the content for the newer version of Pokemon. With that said, players of the versions should find the content to be very familiar –since that is what the game is based on (most of the fans call this generation two).
Whether you are comparing to the source material or not, PTD is an undeniably well made game. The graphics are nicely cut, each visual element stands out on its own, the characters are nicely designed and the Pokemon are as cute as ever. In the actual game itself, the interface is easy to use, you can see each attack animation clearly, and figuring out what is going is a simple matter of observing the screen closely. The only time that the graphics get a little crazy is when the speed of the game is set to max –and even then we already know what to expect.
In terms of functionality, the graphics support the game very well, and in terms of aesthetics, the game is also pleasing to the eyes. Each Pokemon is loyally designed to match up to their original looks from the game –this is particularly good considering that in Pokemon Defense, you see each creature run, attack and move around in different directions (something you do not normally get to see in the games). This means that additional frames have been added to the sprite animations and since they all look great, one would easily assume that that is exactly how the original creators would have made them.
The music also makes use of that nostalgic 8-bit theme that is present in the original game., and this completes the atmosphere of the Pokemon world. Even the sound effects for the different attacks match up pretty well. The only downside here is that unlike the original title that features one-on-one fights between Pokemon, you need to deal with several of them at once. This means having to hear several attack sounds playing at the same time, which is not that nice to hear at all.
The only way to not enjoy Pokemon Tower Defense is if you truly hate all things Pokemon (and that is just so weird). Otherwise, it is easy to see the best parts about this game. It does not matter if you have little or plenty of time to play, the mission based system lets you pick up it up at any time. Also, the in-game progress and save files are stored at the game server. This means that you can play your character from any computer –since you will be required to log in your game. This added portability feature certainly adds massive plus points to the game as well. With its simple controls, unique tower defense mechanics, great artwork, and use of the Pokemon game series, it is easy to see why we love Pokemon Defense 3 so much.