Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pokemon Tower Defense

It's pretty common for Flash game designers to use existing graphics in their games. Hell, it's common for Flash users PERIOD to use existing graphics. The Pokemon series, with its colourful little sprites and overall high reputation, is one of the most-exploited brand names in this regard. Type in 'pokemon' in Newgrounds' search bar and you'll get hundreds of games and videos using these sprites.
And, uh, most of 'em are pretty bad. That's another characteristic of sprite-stealers: they seldom put a lot of effort into their work.

It is thus with the greatest bewilderment that I express affection for Pokemon Tower Defense, a game that blatantly steals hundreds of sprites from the Pokemon series. As a semi-ugly clone, this title should NOT be anywhere near as popular as it is... but... I just can't stop playing the stupid thing.


The title says it all. Pokemon Tower Defense is a tower defense game featuring pokemon. Each level takes place on a route or in a gym, taken from the game (though redesigned), and you place your various pokemon as 'towers' to defend piles of resources. Typically these are Rare Candies, which play a prominent role in the plot, though other things occasionally take the spotlight. Sounds familiar.

That's where the Pokemon part comes in. Unlike most tower defense games, the towers here are highly customizable. The various pokemon each have four moves, like the game, and they learn more as they level up. You can swap between these moves in-game, resulting in a variety of different effects that will help you defend your stash of candies. You can also move pokemon around in the midst of battle, allowing for some fairly in-depth strategic play.

Also? Evolutions. And TMs. And trading. And secret gifts. And tons of other stuff, all taken from the Pokemon games and slotted into a tower defense title. You can play this game for HOURS and hardly scratch the surface, I kid you not.


Mouse. Not much else to say.


Most of the visuals are pilfered from the Pokemon games, with only a scant few things (mostly in the menus) capable of claiming to be wholly original - and those are fairly uninspired Flash fare. Most of the sprites are larger than they should be, as well, so... on the whole... Pokemon Tower Defense is
kinda ugly.


Stolen from the game. The tunes don't sound quite right when they're not heard through the tinny speakers of a GameBoy.

Challenge Rating

Strategic or not, Pokemon Tower Defense is like most RPGs: levels are king. Once your pokemon get strong enough, they can stonewall just about everything. There are a few stages that require more thought and inventive use of moves, but time and proper pokemon choices will wear 'em down in the end.

There is one SIGNIFICANT problem in regards to challenge that irks the hell out of me: the saving system. Unlike most browser games, Pokemon Tower Defense forces you to create an online profile to save your games. This is nifty in that it allows you to make trades, but it also doesn't save automatically between battles. I've also noticed that saving doesn't always work when done MANUALLY, and I've twice lost my progress because something decided to fuck up. This wouldn't irk me so much if that didn't mean losing, say, over an hour of progress.


Needless to say, the saving system needs a lot of work. It's the main reason I don't have screenshots from LATER in the game, because my advanced teams keep getting wiped from existence.


Fun, fun, fun. Part of me feels like I shouldn't enjoy Pokemon Tower Defense as much as I do. I tend to prefer original creations, as pilfered properties smack of laziness. This game, though... it captures the core elements of the series, distilling them into a thoroughly-playable experience that's easy to learn yet difficult to master.

Especially with the saving system the way it is. (Though maybe it's just me. GRRRR.)


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