App Club: StarDefense. This Time, It’s Round.

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StarDefense is a twist on the classic desktop tower defense game: it restages the combat in three dimensions instead of two. In StarDefense you’re not defending a plane, you’re fighting on the surface of a sphere — a tiny little-prince-style planetoid.

Tower defense isn’t a genre that really needed much twisting. Put an IV in my arm, make my child a ward of the state, and I’ll play Fieldrunners till I drown in my own urine. But I was curious. This thing is getting great reviews. Is it a genuinely enriching innovation on the genre? Or an empty piece of graphical trickery designed to separate me from my hard-earned galactic credits?

To find out, I’m making it the App Club App of the Week.

First impressions: it looks amazing. The tiny planet is lumpy and textured and zoomable and fully spinnable. I cannot deny: I want to defend this. With towers.

I’m wary though. Major graphics tend to come with gameplay trade-offs. Like I notice that when you upgrade a tower it pops instantly instead of taking time for construction. And there’s a limit of ten towers; after that you have to burn one down if you want to make a new one. And — and — the enemies are following a path. They don’t just crawl where they want to, finding their own route across the planet’s surface. They march along a track while you take shots at them. Huh.

Still, it held my attention for a subway ride. And man is it fun spinning that little planet around. I want to beat this thing just so I can give it a stern talking-to.

I’ll give updates during the week. Post below if you’re StarDefending too.