Somehow I missed Allied Star Police. It’s a free iOS game by PopCap’s "4th and Battery" imprint, and I’d like to recommend it to you (and any game designers out there).
It’s not because of the backstory of the game’s creation (which involves the Make-A-Wish foundation), or even the story of the game itself (police? fighting a war…whaaa?).
It’s because I’m a huge tower defense geek (even if I’m not that good at them), and Allied Star Police manages to do something pretty new1 and pretty cool with them. Take a look at this gameplay trailer:
It might take a second to realize it – but those "vehicles" are essentially playing the role of towers that move. (Sorta like Trenches meets Plants vs. Zombies, but not.) The game requires minimal explanation (seriously, minimal) but the mechanic allows for both rough brute force and strategy to be viable options.
Which is great, because it means you can come back and still beat a level after screwing it up. Because, um, that’s about how crappy I am at these games (which, yes, I love playing. I know).
There’s only three levels, but add in the "beat your own best time/score" mechanic, and it’s a nice chunk of time for the high price of free.
Low learning curve to learn to play, a decent amount of strategy that becomes organically obvious, a new twist on an overdone gamestyle that does something other than ramping it to 11 to make it challenging? Awesome.
Check Allied Star Police on the App Store for a fun play – and perhaps some ideas on how to do games better.
1 At least, I’ve not seen it before.