Dec 04 2009

Unreal (Online) Game Review: Bloons Tower Defense 4

Published by at 2:00 pm under Reviews,Video Games

bloons-td1.jpg

Some days, I stop and look around at what I do for a living, and go “really?” Today was one of those days, when I realized I got to sit down and write a review of a Tower Defense web game and get paid to do it. God Bless America. And all you other foreigners who visit our site as well.

Anyways, I don’t think this is THAT ridiculous a concept, as I know a bazillion people who play Bloons Tower Defense every day, as their jobs involve as much unmonitored computer time as mine. I figured it was worth taking a look at the latest installment of the game, which Ninja Kiwi promises will be the last version out for at least a year. I’ll be talking new features and a bit of strategy as well.

So what’s different? Well, there are a few new units as you’d expect. There’s Glue Gunners, Banana Farms, Monkey Wizards, Monkey Mortars, Monkey Planes and Monkey Boats. I don’t know if that’s the official names for all of them, but whatever. They add a much needed bit of diversity into the game without making it feel unbalanced, a feat that’s not very easy to achieve.

More notably however, and more relevant to game play, is the addition of a “super upgrade” to each weapon, something that costs a shit ton of money, but makes each piece way more effective. All of the final stages are useful to some degree, it’s just a matter of strategy figuring out which ones to use on each map.
Speaking of maps, there are brand new ones, along with a track editor. I experienced a glitch that only let me play about 50% of the way through user created maps before freezing, but Ninja Kiwi has since fixed that. There’s also a premium map back of official maps from the company, but now we come to the big ‘ol downer of the game. THEY COST MONEY.

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To quote Mean Girls, “Boo, you whore.”

Yes, I mean real money. I thought the “monkey coin” currency was just some shit you racked up in game, but no, to buy these new maps, it costs actual cash that you have to pay into a “Mochi Games account.”

If it were just the maps, that would be one thing, but there are also IN GAME upgrades that can be purchased using cash. Not only can you refill your cash and health with real life money, you can buy upgrades to towers that the lowly non-paying folk don’t have access to.

WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON HERE? IT’S A GODDAMN ONLINE TOWER DEFENSE GAME!

Do they actually make money off of stuff like this? Is there actually a segment of the population willing to work over $10 so they survive the next ten rounds of a browser-based TOWER DEFENSE GAME? If so, I weep for our country, and I say we deserved to be in the recession we’re in. I feel if they had just given us the bonus items for free and put up more ads instead, we would spend more time on the site, thus making them far more money than what they get from the twelve idiots in the world dumb enough to pay real money to buy fake money which can buy MORE FAKE MONEY.

Alright, I’ve ranted as much as I can about that for the moment without this vein exploding out of my forehead. Let’s talk strategy.

Dart Monkeys – Good for the beginning, but you really can’t go mass Dart Monkeys anymore on any level but easy. They now upgrade to Catapult Monkeys, which are no longer their own class, and the final upgrade is a Triple Catapult like we saw in TD3. These are good at the end of long straightaways, but not really anywhere else. Use sparingly.

Tack Shooter- I’ve always loved these things, and they’re still useful, until you get to super high levels. I usually throw a few out at the start, but later in their game, their Inferno upgrade can be pretty decimating if you have enough of them and pair them with Ice Towers.

Boomerang Thrower – Often overlooked in previous versions of the game, the Boomerang Thrower is now the best unit in the game by a mile. Why? Their final upgrade, Lightsaber Thrower, which for relatively little cash turns them into a machine than can cleave through 70 balloons at a time. Get a bunch of those together and it really adds up. They are the key for winning nearly every frustrating map, especially level five, where I came nowhere close to beating it until I went all Lightsabers.

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Couldn’t find any other way to beat the last two levels other than Lightsaber overload.

Bomb Tower – Bomb towers have been rendered pretty useless in this version of the game, as they were the most overpowered unit of TD3. Yeah, if you get enough of them they’re pretty decent, but now with so many other towers that can destroy blimps, they’re pretty useless, even with their MOAB upgrade. Avoid if you can.

Ice Tower – Still useful for slowing down streaming waves, and the Arctic Freeze final upgrade is one of the most useful tricks in the game. Sure, it costs a pretty penny ($6,000), but its slows everything in its range to 1/3rd of its speed, which is HUGE.

Mortar Tower – Buy enough of these, upgrade them to triple fire and point them all in one spot, and it’s hell on earth. However, constantly trying to redirect them has made me f*ck up my game, as I’ve been frantically clicking around and accidentally clicked on a rogue link that loaded me out of the game page entirely. Frustrating.

Glue Gunner – These guys are interesting. I used to use them a lot at the beginning of games, but later on they prove to be pretty useless as balloons usually die before the glue can make much of a difference. Put them at the front of the level at the beginning of the game, then sell them and put them in the middle during later levels.

Monkey Beacon – Pretty much remains unchanged from previous games. The increased firing speed is good for your main cluster of guys, and I hear Monkey Storm is useful, but by the time you need to use that, you’re probably going to be dead during the next level anyways.

Monkey Ace – Planes are only good in levels with a lot of winding, twists and turns. But when it IS a level like that (especially level three), a bunch of planes can thin out balloons RIDICULOUSLY FAST. I got to level 0 something 84 using 20 Stealth Bombers and not much else.

bloons-td4.jpg

“Our darts will blot out the sun” indeed.

Monkey Buccaneer – Boats are a whole lot of fun, but sadly you can’t use them in many levels. In their final form, they act like automatic shotguns, eating balloons up like crazy. There are a few custom levels which use only boats that are a lot of fun.

Monkey Wizard – I wasn’t a big fan of these. They shoot magic which kills a relatively small number of balloons, but their upgrade is a tornado that sends balloons flying back the beginning. I know people that swear by these, but it just seemed too inconsistent when they would actually throw out the tornado, and any hesitation could have you dead in an instant.

Super Monkey – Ah yes, the tried and true staple of Bloons TD. They’re still good here, although a bit less powerful than they used to be. Their ultimate form, the Sun God is hugely powerful, but also costs 20K. I’ve only been able to afford one once, and you’re much better off investing elsewhere.

Banana Farm – A farm that produces a set amount of money which increases when you put more money into it. These are good when the later levels start giving you a lot less money, but it’s hard to tell if they’re actually cost efficient.

Tacks, Glue and Pineapples – Same as always. Tacks are a last resort that will save your ass all the time. Glue I never used once. Pineapples are sometimes necessary for that blimp that just won’t go down.

So there you have it, the most comprehensive Bloons TD review you’ve ever seen. The game is a lot of fun, and WAY too time consuming. I just wish they’d cut it out with all the for-pay shit and just focus on making the game the best it can be. Right now, when there gets to be a zillion bloons onscreen, the game slows down to the point of unplayability, and you have to go to another window for the bloons to start popping at a normal speed. Also, the fast forward button does NOTHING. And don’t make it click to hold, that’s just a douche move.

But yeah, it’s a good time, and the best Bloons project yet in my eyes. Go here to see for yourself.





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6 responses so far

  • Prof. Frink

    Never diss the super monkey. Oh and if you get 4 wizard monkeys with whirlwind inside a beacon that speeds up attack, its almost unfair.

  • joe

    Sooo… how about a link to the game?

  • http://paul@unrealitymag.com Paul Tassi
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  • mcnugget

    monkey farms are very useful if you use your money wisely. you lose a shitload of money for the first 30 or so levels, which aren’t that hard anyways, but when you get the final upgrade, you get 2k every level, paying off for everything in a few levels, leaving you to buy whatever the hell you want for the last half of levels. in my case, i ended buying more monkey farms. when i realized nothing was coming remotely close to the finish line.

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