The old standby genre of the iOS is the tower defense game. It has come in every shape and form we can possibly conceive, but somehow we just can’t seem to get enough of them. Like the endless onslaught of enemies in any of these titles, the games keep flooding the App Store to be devoured by our eager iOS devices. But, to stand out from the crowd, Defense Technica has to have something up its sleeve to set it apart from the rest. With so many good tower defense games around, why should we bother with another?

I love tower defense games. They’re one of my favorite genres to rise to prominence because of the iOS. Just the physical input of a touchscreen makes it perfect for a game where you carefully place your defenses to repel the angry hordes of enemies. A good one has a lot of character, addictive gameplay, and adds something new to the mix.

Defense Technica certainly nails the good stuff to set it apart from the crowd. It looks great. The cyper-style setting with invading baddies that look like beings of pure energy is simply inspired and looks phenomenal. You get a sense that the developers really took their time to consider the aesthetic of the game and wanted to deliver something cohesive as a whole, rather than a mish-mosh of random design choices. It’s a joy to look at on the iPhone screen.

The gameplay is as familiar as tying your own shoes. You must protect the home base from incoming enemies by strategically placing defenses. The real twist comes in the form of how the enemies advance on your base. Usually tower defense games have one or two preset paths for you to defend. Defense Technica throws that out and offers you something a little more challenging.

Yes, there are preset paths for the enemies to take, but you have the option to block and divert these paths using turrets and roadblocks. You can force them into a bottle neck of death you’ve created with stabbing robots, or divert them into the long way around so you have time to build up resources. It adds a wonderful layer to the already familiar gameplay and offers the tower defense veteran something new to enjoy.

So Defence Technica is charming, looks great, and adds something new. Where does it fail? Well, only in one, but very important, aspect -- the balancing of the game is a bit off. It isn’t enough to make it unplayable, but it is just enough to make it a bit frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, I love an unforgiving game when it is fair, but Defense Technica can’t help but feel unbalanced. In some levels you accumulate resources much too slow to keep up with the enemies. There is sure to be a certain combination of defenses to easily repel the bad guys, but the margin for error is quite slim. It makes for a challenge, but one that can become annoying rather than fun.

In the grand scheme of the tower defense genre, Defense Technica is near the top. It sets itself apart and is mostly an enjoyable experience. It has its quirks, but they are minor and overshadowed by the great visuals and gameplay. If you’re a fan of tower defense, or just have a few minutes to kill on the subway on the morning commute, you can do a lot worse than Defense Technica. Come to think of it, you can’t do much better either.

Store Link: Defense Technica for iPhone & iPad | By Com2uS USA, Inc. | Price: $2.99 | Version: 1.0.2 | 161 MB | Rating 4+

8.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating