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
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).
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.