Send in the clowns... to die! That's pretty much the marching orders to be found in Kill the Clowns, an indie game from Argentina-based developer OneEyeAnt. But why do they want all the clowns to perish? Sure, they may be terrifying to some people, but clowns can't all be bad, right? Well, they sure are when they're evil alien clowns from the planet Ridiculonia. Now everything makes sense.

In the plot for this wacky title, the invading alien clowns have discovered that human baby drool is the magic ingredient to make their clown candies taste the best. So naturally, they're headed our way to capture our kids and take them back to their home planet. The only thing that stands between Earth's children and exile on an alien world full of clowns? Circus performers.

In terms of premise, it certainly can't be said that Kill the Clowns is lacking in originality. The art style and free form silliness of everything were definitely some of my favorite parts of this title, reminding me a lot of old LucasArts and Tim Schafer titles. I loved the way that the hand-drawn characters added lots of personality and a unique touch to everything. It's nice to see this kind of creativity and humor applied to the tower defense genre, which is an area of iOS games that, outside of Plants vs. Zombies, does not have much in the way of the goofy.

Kill the Clowns is broken down into 36 levels divided into different chapters that get tougher as you go along. Each chapter will introduce new circus archetypes, such as the Bearded Lady, Strongman and Magician to name a few. Each character serves as a new unit that will help you fend off the advancing alien clown hordes in their own appropriate way. Mimes, for instance, will be able to halt advancing clowns with a hypnotic stare.

Part and parcel with the new friendly units will be new clown enemies that will be able to attack in different ways. It's all very similar, again, to Plants vs. Zombies (there are worse games that you could be compared to). You can upgrade your units to different stages by feeding them candies dropped by the clowns. Do this enough and you will eventually unlock their full potential, with the said unit changing colors each time along the way.

But where Plants vs. Zombies was and is an amazingly balanced game, I have to say that Kill the Clowns feels a little off in terms of its gameplay. There's just a little less polish on this title, with some levels coming off a bit bogged down in difficulty and frustration.

It just feels like you get the shaft sometimes, where you'll build up through some trial and error to have a good strategy going that handles everything well, and then right near the end, for seemingly no reason, there will be a huge chunk of clowns that will all arrive at once and torpedo everything, leaving you feel like you've just been punished for doing well.

I guess you could say stuff like this is also part of Plants vs. Zombies, but I feel like they handled it better and it felt more balanced. Overall, this is an enjoyable title that should please not only tower defense fanatics, but anyone who can appreciate a game that's eager to have some silly fun.


App Store Link: Kill the Clowns for iPhone & iPad | By OneEyeAnt | Price: $2.99 | Version: 1.0 | 189 MB | Rating 4+

7.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating