With Game of Thrones ready to wrap up its season, bloody dungeon and castle adventures are in short supply this summer. Kingdom Rush Frontiers, the follow-up to the highly praised tower defense title Kingdom Rush, will help satiate some of that thirst thanks to its absolutely over the top game play. A combination of comic book inspired art and old school RPGs, Kingdom Rush Frontiers doesn't disappoint.
Most tower defense games have a very simple plotline, as the main thrill is to build as many cool structures as possible and vanquish the enemy. Kingdom Rush Frontiers, with action that's bordering on sensory overload, certainly doesn't need a story to support all this addictive madness, but credit the developers for going that extra mile. Players take on the role of a hero who is tasked with defending Hammerhold, a stronghold that's the target for way too many monsters to count. Instead of setting the adventure in one location, the storyline takes our hero and the kingdom to various locations in search of a powerful hammer stolen by Lord Malagar. Before we get a bird's eye peek at the terrain, check out this cool panel which is featured before the journey begins.
Although you're able to build a multitude of foot soldiers, archers, and knights to do the bulk of the fighting, getting the chance to see the battlefield from the perspective of one hero gives the proceedings a decidedly more intimate flair. As the skirmish occurs, you can strategically position your warrior at any part of the location, whether it's having him lead the charge or serving as the last line of defense. Under the Hero Room, you can dole out skill points to train your fighter as he leads your armies to victory.
The game's bread and butter, however, lies in building the towers, which are purchased through your accumulated gold. If hand-to-hand combat is your specialty, build several barracks along the road to block enemies from taking over the kingdom. Purchasing a mages' guild structure will have a wizard throw high damage spells and help pierce a soldier's armor slightly better than an archer tower. Due to its obvious impact, I prefer the bombs which emit from the artillery towers, even if they're reload rate pales in comparison to the other units.
On the lower left hand of the screen, the crossed swords icon helps you call for several reinforcements. With the amount of attackers appear from so many directions, these extra soldiers will help you plug certain holes in areas that need defending. When the heart icon on the upper left of the screen reaches zero, the game is over and all is lost in Hammerhold. When big genie looking monsters appear out of nowhere to smash you down, chances are you'll lose a few rounds.
The game is also written with a punchy, pulpy verve that suits its visual style and fighting aesthetic. Based on firepower alone, Kingdom Rush Frontiers excels as a pure visceral experience, but actually looking forward to reading how they describe the next enemy who pops up on the screen is a beautiful thing.
There's giant scorpions, larger than life wasps, mummies, and even sand creatures to kill in your travels, but this title isn't just a monster mash. Armed with arresting visuals and a slightly irreverent tone, Kingdom Rush Frontiers is a cut above the usual tower defense game.