A lone bowman left to defend a castle against an advancing horde of enemies, Samurai Defender seems a rather one-sided affair when you get started. But therein lies the addictive lure in this simple tower defence, with victory in battle rewarding you with copper coins and gold that will allow you to steadily recruit more soldiers and improve your defensive position.
Set in Japan’s Warring States era, this is another Nintendo eShop release from CIRCLE Entertainment that makes a painless transition from the boundaries of iOS and Android to the dual-screen charm of the Nintendo 3DS.
With the top screen displaying all the action as you rain pointy death down on the approaching hordes, players simply tap on the touch screen to place their shots in whichever direction as necessary.
As you complete each stage, the difficulty expectedly begins to ramp up and players are required to spend their awarded cash pile to recruit more bowmen, unlock new schemes and upgrade parameters such as the attack power, speed and the maximum HP of the gate that you loyally protect.
As you assemble more bowmen to line the wall, players can adjust their arrow spread by either sliding a gauge on the touchscreen or tapping the L and R Buttons. You will fail a stage if the gate’s HP tumbles to zero, but MP can be expended to deploy devastating schemes.
These call on sword-wielding samurai that will charge in a line and attack any enemies that they come into contact with, or assassins that throw poisoned knives from the trees that line the top of the screen. There are also carpenters that can restore the gate’s HP and engineers that can place wooden fencing to slow the enemy advance. With a princess that can cheer on your troops, heavy armed musketeers and artillery, these can easily turn the tide in the most difficult of scenarios. However only three can be chosen to be used in each stage, and a high MP requirement will mean that you must use them sparingly.
But it is the bowmen that you will repeatedly rely upon to pick off your foes from afar, and these themselves can be steadily upgraded with gold to the point that they will become ‘Fine Archers.’
Animations themselves are fairly basic, even if the game tries to keep you on your toes by steadily introducing different enemy types that will attack in increasingly threatening ways. Whereas the soundscape quickly becomes repetitive, with the same music used over and over again as well as repeated tinny battle sounds.
Samurai Defender presents enough enjoyment that will pass the time but beats to the sound of the same drum for far too long. That leads to it inevitably feeling like a shallow experience, more suited to quick burst play than lengthier sessions.