Here there be Tower Defense discussion


I’d consider the following grinding…

If you play and fail in some TD games you still earn ‘stuff’ to make yourself stronger. So, I guess I’m wondering what the best TD game is that you don’t earn stuff for failure. I like different grades of victory (like earning more stars), having a difficulty setting to make things easier if needed - but I don’t want to pass a level because I failed 20 times and got ‘stuff’ so I was overpowered enough to pass on try #21 even though I still sucked.

I’m also OK with earning stuff based on your best performance. That reduces the grinding because you only get stuff when you exceed your prior performance.


I think it is hard to differentiate between progression and grind. All TDs that I can think of have a progression. Even DG1 you received some basic towers in the beginning but it could be argued this was part of the tutorial/learning curve.

I think if you are going to play TDs seriously than the better question might be what has the best progression. I think Plants and Zombies had a good progression that did not feel too grindy. You did have to earn things for better plants and it was fun to do so. I do believe that Gemcraft can feel a bit grindy because I often lose and have to redo a map to try to gain points to move up the progression. But when I play a TD game I usually am playing it in between other games not one long slog.

I think @robc04 you do that a lot (play one game determinedly and move on to the next). :)

But I also believe having read your posts over the years that you like playing against other people’s scores so that it would balance out for you. I mean Pinball on QT3 sures seems grindy to me! :)


@robc04: I was all set to point you to the Dungeon Warfare thread where I argued your exact anti-grind stance against @Tomchick . But then I looked back and realized you had already replied to me there, so I guess I have nothing further to contribute. But I’d also be interested in any answers you come up with.


Yeah, I think that describes me. My current obsession is trying to beat times on Forza Horizon 3.:-)

But Pinball isn’t grindy in that you don’t get stuff that makes playing again easier, other then just getting more skilled at a table. It can be very very repetitive depending how stubborn you are though!


Oh yeah, I forgot about that! I take it that nothing was settled on that point ( a non grindy TD game)? I’ll need to look back at that thread.


I view grind as a related concept to progression, but with a clear distinction able to be drawn between them – grind is at the nexus of progression and repetition.

Specifically, I’d define grind as the advancement through a progression system by effectively unbounded repetition of a similar course of action.

You can have progression without repetition: Rogue denies you the opportunity to gain unlimited experience by pushing you forward with the food clock. Dungeon Warfare gives you experience only based on your best score per level, so simply repeating the exact same strategy doesn’t get you anywhere.

You can have repetition without progression: Trying the same level 100 times in Mega Man or the same table 100 times in Zen Pinball doesn’t make your shot do more damage or multiply your score on the next run. All you get out of it is the fun of playing (and hopefully some satisfaction from improving your own skill as a player).

Grind is not automatically evil, either. It by default rubs me the wrong way as a game design trope, but it’s so widespread because getting a regular dripfeed of rewards is primally satisfying. And even in games where you can grind, the impact can be muted when advancing through the progression system is significantly less effective than improving your own play skill, as in Dark Souls or Bayonetta.


Nope, Tom remains woefully wrong.

I found Dungeon Warfare to fit as a non-grindy TD game for me, though, and wound up finishing it. Basically, your total experience is based on the best score you’ve ever recorded for all levels. You can shoot for higher scores on a level by applying mutator runes that make it harder in various ways but give you score bonuses. So you’re rewarded for taking on more and more difficult challenges, but there’s no reward for just doing the same thing over and over. I’d definitely recommend it if you can manage to look past the graphics.

Besides that, Dungeon of the Endless and Atom Zombie Smasher are both roguelike/TD hybrids that disallow grind by constantly pushing you forward. And I haven’t played a ton of TD games to know which others to recommend, but as I recall Kingdom Rush just gives you 1-3 stars per level, and you use the stars to buy upgrades, which I think is fine contrasted to open-ended gold or experience based progression systems.


Defense Grid

The original Fieldrunners

GeoDefense and GeoDefense Swarm


I’d been eyeing Dungeon Warfare when there was a lot of discussion about it. Yeah, it does look ugly and could be hard to look at. Maybe next time it goes on sale…

Dungeon of the Endless has always rubbed me the wrong way when I’ve seen screenshots of it for some reason. I’m not sure what it is about it. I played Atom Zombie Smasher several years ago and did like it quite a bit.

Maybe I need to revisit ones I already have, like Kingdom Rush and the original Defense Grid, which I found superior to the sequel.

I’ve never heard of Fieldrunners or GeoDefense, so I’ll check them out. Edit: looks like the GeoDefense gamesare mobile games. Don’t really play mobile much. Maybe fieldrunners…


I dont know if i would consider dungeon of the endless in the same genre. Certainly an interesting and unique game with some tower defense elements though.


Just spotted this. Someone report back on how great it is.

Update: It’s pretty rough. LOL at the word ‘polished’ in the description.


I’m ashamed of myself for this reaction, but I see something like that and usually think, “Two dollars? Well, it’s obviously not very good then…”



This thread need a Harvest: Massive Encounters video.

maybe two


I’m giving up on Dungeon Warfare and uninstalling it.

I like the gameplay, but it has visuals and (more importantly) sound effects that I hate so much. It’s just such an unpleasant game to play even when I’m enjoying it.


There is a new cool looking hybrid coming this year.

I hope it will be a blast


That looks bonkers.


Wow, unexpected twist. When I saw someone was going to conquer earth, I had assumed we would be fighting them. But no, we’re playing as the conquerers, and fighting the various Mechs and giant creatures the Japanese (I assume) have built to kick us aliens off the planet. Nice!


@Tman suggested I post some thoughts on here on a TD game I played called Last Hope. It’s got a zombies vs Native Americans theme that I liked, although on the whole I didn’t find the game otherwise particularly innovative. But it was solid enough to scratch the TD itch. And getting all the achievements is attainable, it is one of two perfect games for me on Steam (the other curiously enough is Dungeon Warfare).

The graphics are…weird. Like 3D from 2002, but on my modest PC it ran pretty well. And it appears to be converted from a free to play format where research used to take time and you had to keep coming back to check on others. Now you just grind for money and buy whatever when you have enough.

There’s a variety of towers but you can get through without having to unlock all of them, which may be good or bad depending on your preferences.

Best part of the game for me is the use of the heroes. You get a hero unit to start with that you can level up and also unlock weapons and accessories. You can unlock others during the game and upgrade then as well, and later scenarios allow for multiple heroes to play, and the heroes are probably the avatars you use in multiplayer, though I didn’t go online with this one. It’s a grind to level the heroes but you must as they are critical in adding firepower.

Most of the scenarios are standard fare but I did like a few of the ones that changed things up, where your job is to earn enough money to upgrade troop generators that will send waves of allies at the enemy. There are also arena levels and endless levels.

Defense Grid has tighter execution and gloss but this one was worth a week of entertainment for me.


Thanks Bernie! I put this on my wishlist.

Have you played any of the Kingdom Rush titles? They have heroes and how would you compare the heroes in those and how they level with Last Hope?


I started playing. I woulc call them fairly different.

They level and gain some base stats I think (?). You also get skill points to allocate, with each of the 3 skills having 5 or 6 levels (can’t recall exactly). But you can spend your hard earned lucre to give the hero upgraded equipment which greatly increases said hero’s effectiveness. There are a decent number of upgrades, gated behind both hero levels and the need to purchase them. Also, you can bring more than one hero on some missions at least. The skills are the usual mix of active and passive. Honestly I would say there’s a little more going on than with the ones in Kingdom Rush Frontiers.

The turret upgrading here is pretty involved as well. Each turret essentially has a research tree you also spend said lucre unlocking upgrades on. This both gates max possible turret upgrade level on maps but additional passive stat boosts (e.g. range, damage, and fire rate on the basic arrow turret). There are also fancier upgrades, like adding a dart thrower on top of the arrow tower. And then you can get flaming darts. And there’s still more of the tree I have no discovered yet. And I haven’t taken the poison upgrade either (the text suggested it would trade straight damage for a dot, but I’m stuck on a map where the DoT wuldn’t do me any good).

Turrets also seem gated by campaign progression but you can also unlock via that currency. There’s actually two currencies. There’s “badges” which are like KR’s stars. But all they do is gate some of the turrets you can get. And then there’s the coin (or whatever it is) you use to pay for those meta upgrades, earned by completing levels and completing them well. I haven’t even unlocked the two addtional level difficulties yet, or what looks like it might be a special challenge mode (just like KR).

As you have a limited number of turret slots at start (I have 3 slots open with quite a few more locked) it doesn’t make sense to go over board trying to unlock new turrets.

The game really is sort of ugly but I find it very fun.