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Fieldrunners 2 by Subatomic Studios is the sequel to the tower defense game which set the bar for all others. Given how the first game was a trend-setter, expectations from this iteration were huge. Not only is the tower defense genre inherently limited, it is very hard to build on a game which is already pretty good. Does Fieldrunners 2 deliver? The short answer is yes.
While the original Fieldrunners was released on iOS in 2008, Android folks got it only in 2011. The game allowed players to place different varieties of towers in a field, as enemy runners tried to get across it.The basic formula remains the same for Fieldrunners 2, but everything is much more polished. You can see the effort Subatomic studios put in the game right from the first screen. While the first game had a limited set of maps with three difficulty levels, Fieldrunners 2 has around 20 levels spread across a world map, which is itself varied in terms of appearance and structures.
When you select a level, you are first prompted to choose your towers. Subatomic studios did an excellent job with towers here, giving players the option to choose over 25 different towers, including the classic ones and a host of new, interesting and powerful weapons (one launches bee hives while another turns enemies into animals). The more powerful towers are locked in the start, and as you play the game, you get coins and stars, using which you can unlock them. The maximum number of towers you can select before a mission is six, and some missions have a default load-out which you cannot change.
Apart from towers, the game has items which you can use. These also include interesting choices, like the Rewind item, which allows you turn the game back three turns, in case you make a costly mistake. Other items include Deep Freeze (freeze enemies in their tracks), Fire Fountain and Spanish Flu. The number of weapons and the added element of items brings a lot of diversity to the game play, not to mention making it much more fun to kill those pesky runners.
As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of levels in Fieldrunners 2, and subatomic studios claim that it will take you more than 20 hours to finish the campaign. The levels are generally divided into four world regions, with varying terrain and builds. To add more variety, they have also thrown in different game types. Apart from the classic type, there are time travel, puzzle and sudden death levels. Sudden death levels throw everything at you as huge armies of runners swarm you while you only have 3 lives. While the onslaught never really ends, and it is more about survival than winning, sudden death levels can be a lot of fun.
Maps also have trenches, bridges and tunnels now, allowing for much more strategy when it comes to placing towers and guiding the runners to their deaths. Overall, the excellent mix of different weapon types, multiple items, varying levels and game types make sure you wont get bored anytime soon.
The game is beautifully designed and sports hand painted graphics. Even minute details like the runner animations are nicely done and the game has a very polished feel overall. The maps are well designed and not only look good, but also contribute significantly to the gameplay. As for sound, the funky war music mix goes very well with the game and its theme and makes for an enjoyable experience.
The only downside was how some towers could only be unlocked with coins, unless you are bent on replaying every level a gazillion times on maximum difficulty. You don’t get a lot of coins just by playing the game, and even unlocking towers using stars can be a repetitive exercise later on. Nevertheless, the inability to unlock all towers does not take away from the game and you can easily play through it with what you have.
Everything considered, the game is a significant improvement over its predecessor. If you enjoy tower defense games, you will love Fieldrunners 2, and if you don’t enjoy them, you will most probably change your mind after playing it.