Bubble Tanks TD Game

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BTTD: This time it's all about defense not attack!

Hero Interactive released the tower defense version of their incredibly popular Bubble Tanks series in December 2009 to follow on from the success of Bubble Tanks 2. This game is much like any other tower defense game, but it has many of those features incorporated into it that made the original Bubble Tanks games so enjoyable. The combination is a game that brings the best of both worlds together to enhance the enjoyment derived from the earlier games. Here are some of the key features of BTTD.

Gameplay

As mentioned above, the gameplay is very much like any typical tower defense game. You build towers at various places on the map to obstruct the path of the enemies and defeat them before they reach the exit. If a certain number reach the exit, the game is over. The enemies keep increasing in strength as the levels progress and you also have the capability to upgrade your towers using the resources you accumulate when you kill your enemies.

A Few Difference from Conventional TD Games

So, what is the difference? Well for starters, you do not have any sort of a grid for you to set up your towers or for the enemy bubbles to pass through. You can build your towers in any which way all over the map as long as you leave at least one route from the entry point to the exit point - very much like Desktop Tower Defense. It doesn't matter how convoluted that path is. Yes, that was the cue for all you maze builders out there to get cracking on this game. Path-making is therefore obviously very important but also enjoyable.

The Tower Types

Bubbles Tanks Tower Defence has four different types of towers, or rather upgrades, as you start off with the same basic tower in every level. The four different types are a straight-out shooter, a shockwave tower that sends out waves that damages all enemy bubbles within it's radius, an ability type tower that enhances the abilities of the towers within its radius and a ghost-type tower that does indeed kill ghosts. All these 4 basic types can then further evolve. For instance, once you have the basic shooter, you can either upgrade it to a better basic shooter or make it into a machine gun and so on.

Bad Ass Tower Upgrades

Each basic type has two or three upgrade progress routes that you can select and then pursue until the fourth level of upgrades. But the upgrading doesn't stop there. If you place each of these fully upgraded towers into a 2x2 pattern, you can effect a "mega-upgrade", wherein the four towers collude to form one tower with the properties of all four towers in each of its shots. If at this point you accused Hero Interactive of causing explosions in chemistry labs all over the world due to indiscriminate mixing of stuff, you would be right. But only because when you place 4 of these mega towers into a 2x2 pattern, you get a "mega-mega-tower", which honestly has to be the product of some messed up lab experiment. Fortunately though, this experiment is a complete success, as the power of one of these towers is a joy to behold. What you have here is the equivalent of the transformation of a cave into a space station.

Enemy Types to Match the Great Tower Variety

The enemy types are just as varied as the tower combinations. You have slow but tough bubbles, fast but fragile bubbles, splitters which split into multiple bubbles when attacked, bubbles that spawn new bubbles on their path, and lastly the nemesis of all of your finely-crafter paths, the ghosts. These can fly through towers, so they fly in a direct line from entry to exit. They are especially vulnerable to the ghost towers though.

Tutorials are Always Welcome

The game starts off with a nicely detailed tutorial explaining the types of towers and enemies and then you can see a map wherein you can select different stages to progress upon three different paths to the end of the game. The levels in BTTD get progressively harder and harder, just as always, but the challenge is never overwhelming and remains just that, a challenge. In fact, at many stages the game tends to veer towards the ridiculously easy side of things, especially if you manage to build one of those fiery "mega-mega-towers", which are a prime example of hilariously named items which are also somehow ultra-powerful.

Strapped for Cash?

ID 40 or level 40, called "Cut Through" is the exception to the rule here. It is a tier 8 level. This level is hard because you only start with $10, and are not allowed to upgrade your towers. Oh, and not to forget you only have one life. So if even if one bubble escapes your attention, the jig's up. The only way to complete these levels is if you use hotkeys extensively.

Keep making towers and deleting them to make more towers wherever they are needed to pop the bubbles. Make the first tower right at the point of entry, delete it and make a second at the bottleneck in the middle as and when the bubbles start to reach that point. Then make one right at the exit point having deleted the previous one if it comes to that. Using this strategy for about 4-5 waves should give you enough resources eventually to build a small maze at the entrance.

Juggle The Bubbles!

Setting up a small juggling station at the end is essential though if you are going to win this level. A juggling station is a strategy wherein you leave one exit to the maze and as soon as the bubbles are about to get to that exit you delete a previous block to open a new exit and block the earlier exit. This will make the bubbles travel back through the maze to the newly opened exit, by which time you can open the original exit and block the new one to make them do it again. Rinse and repeat. This step is key to a lot of other levels as well.

Insanely Hard or Insanely Easy?

Bubble Tanks Tower Defence also has an FML mode which makes all levels extremely tough for those of you who are insane and require such challenges. There is also as a "Mega Cheat" mode that gives you unlimited spending bubbles to build whatever you want. Yes, this mode gives you power that even the government would kill to have!

Graphics and Audio

Graphics haven't changed much from the previous Bubble Tanks games, and the simplicity of them makes the game run without any noticeable lag. However, they're also properly designed so that it is easy to identify one tower from another.

The audio is catchy, but when you have to play 50 levels of a game with the same music in the background, your cursor will gravitate towards the mute button eventually.

Conclusion

BTTD really is as close to the perfect tower defense experience as a game gets. Lots of fun upgrades, a smooth rise in difficulty so that you are equipped to deal with any new levels, but only just so. You can experiment with paths and placements galore, and all those experiments are bound to take up time so the game is very engrossing as well. All in all, this exciting addition to the franchise also doubles up as one of the best flash games out there currently, period.