“Fieldrunners” was originally an iOS game that was released back in 2008, having been pushed to other platforms in the years following. Like the “Great Little/Big War Game” series, it featured strategic play while keeping with a cartoonish theme. “Fieldrunners 2”, which also started out as an iOS product, recently released for the PC and I’m here today to see if it lives up to the successes of its predecessor. Before we get started, I’d like to thank Alec Shobin from Subatomic Studios for sending me a free review copy.
The main menu allows you to play the single player campaign, set game options, “share the love”, and open your Steam console. In the options menu, you can change screen resolution, toggle fullscreen, and adjust sound and gameplay sliders…nothing flashy, but it covers all of the basics. The “share the love” menu allows you to visit the game’s footprint among the social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, among other things. The game locks your profile name in with your Steam account, so you won’t be able to create new profiles for others in the household. You can reset your progress in the options menu, however. While there is no multiplayer option, you’ll be able to compare your scores among a global ranking list.
The game starts you off with a tutorial of sorts, giving the player a chance to become accustomed to the interface. If you’ve ever played the tower defense game “Sanctum”, you’ll be familiar with the arrows on the playing field that outline the paths in which the enemy mobs will take. Placing towers is as simple as selecting them from the bottom of the screen and placing them on eligible spaces, preferably between the mobs and where they’re trying to get to. The lower left hand corner of the interface allows you to freeze time or send it forward at high-speed, either of which is nice when you’re overwhelmed or trying to get things moving. The top of the screen displays your available funds, allows you to access the menu, shows the current wave and score, and how much “life” you have, from left to right. As enemies make it to their goal, this life counter will decrease.
In terms of gameplay, building turrets are for the most part freeform, like in “Sol Survivor.” There are some maps that limit placement to a degree while there are others that force you to design the path the enemies should take with your turrets, like in “Sanctum.” You’ll be able to upgrade turrets as well as sell them should you wish to do some strategic rearranging. The game isn’t all that violent, so parents like myself won’t have to worry about anything inappropriate going on. Everything still has that cartoonish feel, just like in the first “Fieldrunners” game.
After getting your feet wet in the tutorial, you’ll be introduced to the main world screen. It’s a lot more complex than what I was expecting. The world map not only allows you to choose a level and one of three difficulties, but you’ll be able to buy special items and unlock towers as you go. There are two main types of “currency”, and I use that term loosely: stars and coins. Stars are earned by beating levels and are used to unlock towers. You can earn more stars by defeating levels on harder difficulties. Coins, on the other hand, are earned by doing a few different things. Completing a mission will earn you some coins, but also bragging about your score on Twitter will earn you a daily bonus. I see the latter mechanic a lot in the games I play on my Android and ultimately serves to reward the player for advertising the game, but it’s a cool feature nonetheless. Coins allow the player to buy special items to use before a round begins while also allowing the player to purchase special towers.
Towers are pretty varied, though you’ll have to spend some time in the game to grant access to some of them. I find that I don’t mind this, as it gives me something to work for. You’ll have turrets like flamethrowers that do damage to multiple units at a time while others shoot glue, which serve to slow enemy mobs down. For a game that prides itself in being light and cartoonish, I still felt challenged in coming up with strategies to combat the enemy mobs that were thrown at me. I had to use crappier turrets to lay the foundation of the maze and then decide when would be the appropriate time to replace them with something a bit more formidable. Each mob and each tower has its own quirks and strengths, so finding the right balance kept me on my toes. The game also has a handy library, which can be viewed from the main world screen…nice touch!
“Fieldrunners 2” is truly an example of how a game can be brought over from a mobile device successfully, something I find hard to come by these days. It’s light enough to where the kids can play it but complex enough to keep all of us interested and engaged. The unlockables function in a way that encourage the player to do well, which keeps me coming back for more. I personally like that the goals of maps you play change on occasion…that is, sometimes you’ll be tasked with killing so many mobs before the time limit expires or must reach a benchmark in endless mode to beat it. If you’re serious about tower defense games or just looking to ease your way into the genre, “Fieldrunners 2” is the way to go.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Fieldrunners 2” by visiting the following websites:
You can watch video play sessions here: