What is Kingdom Rush?
In an era of computer gaming where Flash games are a thing of the past, it’s nice to see that games like Kingdom Rush are able to make it. Kingdom Rush is a tower defense game, where players strategically arrange weapons and buildings in their kingdom to protect it from enemies. It’s about as standard as tower defense games get, but it executes every little feature perfectly. This game is full of polish, and every component works so smoothly. I really appreciate this game and what it has done for the tower defense genre. If you’re looking for a good, beginner-friendly tower defense game, Kingdom Rush is the first game that I have to recommend.
Have you already played Kingdom Rush? Getting a little bored of it? Are you looking for a game that’s similar to Kingdom Rush, without being too much of a clone? If you’re reading this article, I’m going to assume that your answer to all of those questions is ‘yes’. Today, I’m going to talk about some of the best games like Kingdom Rush, and I’m going to talk about who I think those games are the most well-suited for. The tower defense genre isn’t quite as large as it used to be, but there are still a lot of amazing games that can found within it. I hope you find this article enlightening. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
5. EDEN STAR
I wanted to kick this list off by talking a little bit about a title that’s a bit more indie than some of the other games that I’m going to write about. EDEN STAR is a sci-fi themed base building game. I think that base building games are distinctly different from tower defense games, although the overall premise is similar. You gather resources and bulk up defenses with the intent of defending a certain area. That’s the same general idea as tower defense games, but I think that once you get into EDEN STAR, you’ll realize how different the game actually feels. It’s an entirely different genre entirely, which is why I decided to rank this game so low. However, this game has a lot of things going for it.
To begin with, this game looks absolutely incredible. Kingdom Rush goes for a more simple aesthetic, which I can appreciate, but this game goes above and beyond. The graphics are equivalent to those that you would find in a AAA title. Plus, gameplay is really, really fun. It’s a nice combination of action and strategy, which could be a refreshing change of pace for someone who is tired of the more laid-back way that most Kingdom Rush games tend to go. This game is definitely kind of out there, so I can understand why a more casual tower defense gamer may not be interested in taking the plunge. However, if you’re looking for something that strays from the beaten path, I think that EDEN STAR is worth a closer look.
4. Toy Soldiers
Toy Soldiers is somewhat like EDEN STAR, but the game is presented in a way that I think would be easier for most fans of Kingdom Rush to wrap their head around, I think. The game is presented in a similar way to EDEN STAR. You’re engaging in warfare with the enemy, and you’re responsible for arranging and controlling your troops to control pre-specified point. Although it may not look like it at first glance, this is just your typical tower defense game. What sets Toy Soldiers apart is the ability to directly man some of your stations. If you set up a turret, you can count on yourself to control that turret and take down as many enemies as possible. It makes the game feel more hands-on, and I think it’s a really cool feature.
Toy Soldiers isn’t quite as confusing as EDEN STAR, and as a completely finished game you can anticipate a more polished and stable product. However, it’s worth noting that this game was initially released as an Xbox Live Arcade game in 2010. So, it pretty much looks like and has the same level of multiplayer activity that you would expect from an Xbox Live Arcade game from 2010. It doesn’t look nearly as good as some of the other games on this list, and the multiplayer community has really died off over the years. The single-player campaign is great, but there isn’t much else aside from that. A few years ago, Toy Soldiers would easily top the list. However, it hasn’t aged as well as I would have liked it to, so I chose to place it a little lower. Still, it’s well worth your time, and I think you should give it a shot.
3. Clash of Clans
This may be a more controversial choice, but I think that I’m going to stand by it. As far as tower defense games go, Clash of Clans is one of the most popular right now, and that’s for a reason. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, Clash of Clans is a tower defense game that doubles as a city builder. Players accumulate energy and different forms of currency to purchase buildings and tools for defensive purposes. Other players are able to invade your village, just as you are able to invade other villages. This game also boasts a fairly active online community — you can easily find all sorts of online guides and tutorials to help you refine and improve your set-up.
The reason why I think that this may be a controversial choice is because of the freemium payment model. Clash of Clans is popular, but it isn’t particularly well-liked. Players are able to purchase premium currency to speed along production and regeneration. Although the strategy elements of the game prevent it from becoming pay-to-win, spending money on this game significantly improves and speeds up your overall experience. I don’t think that Clash of Clans deserves quite as much hate as it gets, but I can certainly understand why someone would be put off by a “free” game that nudges you toward constantly pouring money into it. This is a really fun game that feels and plays really similar to Kingdom Rush, but I think that its less than user-friendly player model keeps it from landing any higher on this list.
2. Orcs Must Die! 2
Orcs Must Die! 2 takes some of the best elements from games like Toy Soldiers and EDEN STAR — games that are looking to reinvent the tower defense genre — and pulls it all together into a single game. In Orcs Must Die! 2, you set up an area in traditional tower-defense style. Arrange traps, turrets, and hazards, and hope that the enemy can’t get past them. However, this all takes place in a third-person perspective. You control a character. This isn’t a matter of standard top-down tower defense omniscience. You have funds and energy, and you have to use them carefully as you craft your defense. Like in Toy Soldiers, you’re also able to use your character during combat, and skillful use of your own personal abilities could be the difference between victory and defeat.
What I like most about Orcs Must Die! 2 is that it’s a tower defense game that does something different without feeling too unfamiliar. Like I said with EDEN STAR, it’s great to do something new, but it’s also nice for players to be able to ease into an experience with a sense of familiarity. This game feels like a game that you’ve played a hundred times, but it still feels new and exciting. Not only that, but Orcs Must Die! 2 has a co-op mode that is an absolute blast to play around with. I really wish that I could place this game at #1 on my list, but the next game that I’m going to talk about is so much of a powerhouse that I don’t think I could bring myself to. However, I still highly recommend this game, and it’s probably my personal favorite out of every game that I’m going to talk about today.
1. Plants vs. Zombies
Yeah, who else? As far as tower defense goes, Plants vs. Zombies has reigned supreme for the last several years, across all different kinds of platforms. The game started as a simple little computer game, and it has grown into something so much larger than itself. If you haven’t played this game before, you should be happy to know that the premise is pretty simple. A zombie horde is invading, and you need to protect your house with different plants. You plant seeds to grow plants in different patterns and arrangements to ensure that your house is well-protected. There is pretty much no action for the player in this game — it’s all about strategy and thinking ahead.
The game may sound simple and that’s because it kind of is. Plants vs. Zombies has created an empire by being a game that is easy to pick up, addictive, and true to its roots. This game doesn’t ever really try to do anything completely different, and it really works for them. Like Kingdom Rush, Plants vs. Zombies makes for a more “vanilla” tower defense game, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I would argue that a strategy game’s greatest strength should be their accessibility. As much as I adore games like Orcs Must Die! 2, I think that they can too complex for their own good, at times. It often feels like the games try a little too hard. Plants vs. Zombies reminds me of old Flash tower defense, and it brings an authentic, classic tower defense experience to anyone who is looking for one. If this sounds like a game that you would enjoy, I hope that you look into it.
There you have it. In my opinion, those are the top five best games like Kingdom Rush. Did I miss one of your favorites? The tower defense genre has been growing quietly over the last couple of years, so I’m sure I could have missed a couple of hidden gems. If so, feel free to drop into the comment section below and tell me about them.