Friday, 10 August 2012

Winterton's Fridays: Gaming on the Go- Balloon Popping in Serbia

I am currently in Belgrade. I’m not saying this to brag, only to demonstrate that I am in fact no longer in my country of residence (i.e. Britain), and as such have no access to my usual video game library. Hence, I can’t be writing another bunch of “Mass Effect” articles, save for doing it from memory.

I was, however, very happy to discover that a sequel to one of my favourite games has been released in the last few months, and therefore know that during my time away if I find myself with a hour or so of nothing to do I can sit down with a cocktail and “Bloons Tower Defence 5”.

The “Bloons Tower” (or “Blower”) series is the first tower defence series I encountered, when I became slightly addicted to the third instalment. I then played number four a great deal, and when I found that number five was out I couldn’t contain my joy. By which I mean I smiled slightly.

Slighty less than this.

Why do I love this series so much? Well, I’d be the first to admit that I am sucker for tower defence games in general.  I’ve played “Plants vs Zombies” to death (if there is a pun there, it’s intended), and cannot recommend highly enough “Desktop Tower Defence”. One thing all three of these games do incredibly well, arguably better than any other games I’ve played, is difficulty curve.

“Bloons” expertly introduces you with one tower and one concept, and then incrementally adds new elements. Not only do these elements do lots of different things individually, but also combine to allow for innumerable strategies. Moreover, as a game series it has excellent support and regular updates, in the form of new levels and upgrades, meaning that you are rewarded for repeatedly coming back to it.

It also carries a simplistic charm that makes a pleasant change from the high-concept art styles of a lot of games I play. “Bloons” is simple yet colourful, with each type of bloon and tower being a perfect demonstration of economic design.

This genuinely has more strategic depth than "Final Fantasy XIII"

My only real complaint is that as the series progresses the necessity of some of towers comes into question, and I find myself only using some of them simply because I feel I should. This most recent iteration seems to have made the “Monkey Ace” totally redundant, and I’m not convinced that the “Spike Factory” was ever a good investment.

Still, if you are ever left with only the internet to entertain you, you could do much worse than this addictive game, though it can cause you to miss out on sightseeing due to prolonged gaming sessions in hotel rooms. You have been warned.

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