previews\ Jun 10, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Kill All Bugs - MB - Preview

With the release of Ninjatown and other DS games, real-time strategy games continue to reach new audiences. Soon, the thrill of tower defense will arrive on the iPhone via Kill All Bugs!, an inspired RTS that incorporates impressive AI with an unexpected line of attack.

Sporting 16-bit-caliber graphics and familiar touch screen controls, Kill All Bugs! is not a typical iPhone release. Conceptually, it sounds like the premise of a 1940s movie: giant bugs have overrun the world and it’s up to you to take them out. From a gameplay perspective, you can probably imagine that in trying to kill or defend against this ongoing assault, you’ll have to place towers throughout each of the game’s 21 levels.

Kill All Bugs Mobile screenshots

However, these bugs – which include ants, spiders, moths, termites, cockroaches and ladybugs – are not stupid. They will always move away from the nearest tower. In response to that, you might want to pile on the towers, hoping to overwhelm the insects (it worked in Ninjatown, so why not?). But when the bugs have nowhere to run, they will immediately stomp over one of your towers to create a new path to escape. Therefore part of the strategy in this game is to place your towers in a way that leads the bugs to their demise without completely boxing them in.

Kill All Bugs! includes several different kinds of towers, such as flamethrower (short-range attack), rockets (long-range attack) and a laser fence (build two of these apart from each other to form a deadly laser fence). Of course, the bugs are able to think of a solution to your defense on-the-fly; if you put up a laser fence and there’s a way to walk around it, the bugs will find it and take the safest path. This makes the game challenging and frantic as you’re struggling to place new towers and stop the bugs from reaching the city (or whatever it is you’re trying to protect).

Kill All Bugs screenshots

As a last-ditch resort, players can call for a military airstrike. Airstrikes are earned by defeating bugs the conventional way (with towers). That’s the same way you’ll earn cash, which is needed to purchase additional towers. Existing towers can be sold for cash, though that’s hardly a profitable way to play the game.

If you choose not to use an airstrike once it has been earned, you’ll continue to gain airstrike points, which are calculated in the form of an airstrike meter on the top of the screen. There are three levels of airstrikes to earn, the first being the weakest and the third being the strongest. Whichever you choose to unleash, the results are visually reminiscent of the classic shooters 1942 and 1943: giant airships fly over the stage and drop bombs on every insect in sight.

Coming to iPhone and iPod Touch on June 18, Kill All Bugs! is one of the platform’s most promising releases. Fans of tower defense (or any tower defense-inspired game) should keep an eye on this one.

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