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Spires Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on March 2, 2011


Spires
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Crisp graphics and easy to use interface design.
  • Smooth difficulty curve and varied enemies.
  • Alternative puzzle and endless game modes.

CONS

  • Extremely short campaign; diminishes the story's value immensely.
  • Characters lacking in variety; similar tower synergy doesn't promote unique strategies.

VERDICT

Spires falls flat despite some decent ideas and a polished presentation, but keep an eye out for updates that may make this a worthwhile grab.


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I'm a man of eclectic tastes and developer Prophetic Sky previously managed to ensnare me by releasing Townrs Defender, a hero-defense style game that was a rarity at the time. Their latest release, Spires, is somewhat less radical with its relatively standard tower defense gameplay, but shades of something greater lurk behind its thin exterior.

Those familiar with tower-defense titles won't be too surprised at the basic controls and gameplay, with towers in standard varieties (direct damage, area based, slow, etc.) being dragged on to a grid-like field in order to create mazes of death for incoming enemies. A highlight system provides a real-time update on how each path is affected by your maze and 'runes' placed around the map can provide huge additional benefits to your towers if you build your maze to accommodate them. In a small gameplay twist, towers can be refunded for their full value, making it possible to invest in towers temporarily before shifting your focus to towers required for long-term benefits.

This tiny tweak, along with the clever map layouts, makes the obligatory Gauntlet/Survival modes a blast, but the same can't really be said of the main campaign. Weighing in at only 5 levels, it's not the most comprehensive story and with little more than a cursory introduction to each character it's hard to be invested in each level beyond the variety in gameplay. Each character you use features a different set of towers (albeit with each one being very similar in their general application) and new creatures and mechanics are constantly introduced right up until the rug is pulled from under your feet.

Prophetic Sky have submitted updates for Spires including a HD version for iPad and Retina specific support; a new gameplay mode; additional puzzle maps and more story maps, but until these features are released the current game simply feels far too short on content to remain exciting for longer than an hour or two.

However, despite its length, Spires is still worth keeping an eye on as its slick fantasy visuals, simple gameplay design and unique twists are well considered and enjoyable while they last.

Screenshots

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