The original Fieldrunners may have gotten some slack by gamers for its in-app pricing, but there was no denying that a great game had been created. Subatomic Studios took what was a fun game, and polished it even more with this sequel, creating one of the most addicting tower defense games you'll ever play on your iPhone (and now your iPad!).

With the latest in defense technology at your disposal, your goal is to stop the invading fieldrunners from taking over the planet. Do this by creating maze-like paths for the fieldrunners to run through. (Paths that will ultimately lead to their death.) Drag and drop various weapons onto the map as the fieldrunners enter the field on one end and try to exit the other. There's a lot of strategy involved in trying to create a path that will slow the fieldrunners down long enough for you to kill them.

Runners, tanks, airplanes, and bikes are just a few of the enemies you'll be dealing with but you have quite the arsenal to choose from. Various towers include Gatling, Glue, Missile, Flamethrowers, Tesla, Hive, Laser, Oil, Pyro and more. The more stars you earn in the game, the faster these towers will unlock. Before you enter a stage, you have the option of choosing a difficulty level. The harder the level, the more stars you can earn. While most gamers will opt for the normal difficulty, let me warn you that even normal difficulty can be tough. With 80+ waves in each level, it's going to take some time before a stage is completed. If too many fieldrunners make it to the exit, the stage is over and you have to try again. And believe me, you'll be trying stages over and over again if you can't figure out good tower placement on the field. A recent update has fixed some balancing issues in some levels.

Four huge worlds are available but it'll be awhile before you can access the later levels. You get a lot of bang for your buck with Fieldrunners 2, and that's a good thing. This is a very easy game to learn, even for gamers new to tower defense strategy games. Drag and drop your towers onto the playfield. Each tower can be upgraded twice by clicking on it. Earn money by killing fieldrunners and vehicles. The more money you earn, the more you can upgrade existing towers or save up for more powerful ones. You have to make some hard decisions as the stage progresses. Do you upgrade, throw more weaker towers onto the playfield, or save up to buy more powerful ones? It's this balance that will keep you on your toes. You also have to worry about placement. You don't want the fieldrunners to have a straight line to the exit. Make a path that gives you the advantage and forces the runners to try and make it past your winding wall of flaming, machine gun death. Once you place a tower, you can't move it, but you can sell it at a discounted price. You also have items that you can purchase before each stage. Everything from Smart Mines to a Rewind feature can be purchased and used as a last minute saving grace if fieldrunners make it past your towers.

The graphics are sharp, crisp, and colorful. Everything from the towers themselves to the playfield's surroundings was modeled in wonderful detail. You can even zoom in on the playfield to see just how good the game looks. (And on the new iPad? Fugettaboutit. The graphics look amazing on the tablet's retina display.) The sound and music is exceptional and you can even hear little comments from the fieldrunners, pumping themselves up before they charge onto the field. The game ran silky smooth on my iPhone 4, with only small lag hiccups when the screen was obnoxiously filled with runners. The only thing that got annoying were the loading screen times. Expect to wait a little bit before the game loads and in-between stages. Sometimes it can be tough choosing a particular tower if they're crowded together, so you'll have to zoom in to make sure the game knows which one you're trying to select.

Fieldrunners 2 is one of the most addicting games I've ever played and I kept coming back for more. I was up late playing the game and before I knew it, it was two o'clock in the morning. In fact, I'd rather be playing the game right now instead of writing about it. And I love the iPad version with the screen's even brighter, sharper retina display. Fieldrunners 2 is one of my favorite games of the year and I highly recommend you pick it up. Now if you'll excuse me, I have runners to kill and a world to save.


App Store Link: Fieldrunners 2 for iPhone & iPad | By Subatomic Studios, LLC | Price: $2.99 / $7.99 | Version: 1.1 | 43.4 MB / 302 MB | Rating 9+

9.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating