The Kingdom Rush games are widely known as one of the best tower defence series to play on mobile devices. I haven’t played any of the Kingdom Rush games since Kingdom Rush: Frontiers (released back in July 2013), but I know the overall premise of the game is largely the same. Build towers to stop incoming enemies, use your hero to smash even more enemies and most importantly, try not to let any of those enemies reach beyond a certain point. Kingdom Rush: Vengeance does very little to shake up this tried and tested formula, sticking largely to the same elements that made the series popular in the first place.
Kingdom Rush: Vengeance sees players take control of Vez’nan, the villain from the first Kingdom Rush game. Your goal is to build your army up and reclaim the land that once belonged to you. There are some comic-book style cutscenes that you can look at to get a better idea of the story, but in all honesty, I usually just skip these. The story will most likely mean more to you if you’ve played through the three previous games, but for anyone else, these cutscenes aren’t what you are buying Vengeance for.
Each level in Vengeance can last anywhere between ten to thirty minutes depending on how far you are into the game. Completing a level will reward you with stars. The maximum amount of stars you can gain per level is three, but earning those three stars will force you to finish the level with eighteen health or higher. Once you’ve managed to earn three stars on a level, you unlock two more difficulty modes: Heroic and Iron. Both of these modes leave you with only a single life so be prepared to lose often before attempting to tackle either of these challenges.
You can level up your hero by gaining experience when fighting enemies. Fortunately, this experience carries over whether or not you successfully finish a level. As you continue to make your way through the game, Vengeance has plenty of unlockable heroes and towers. This allows you to mix things up should you find yourself getting stuck on any particular level.
One of the bigger changes to the series that I recognised was the use of in-app purchases (IAPs). Now, I seem to recall being able to purchase different heroes, but this is another level of trying to grab more money from the player. You can now purchase towers, and to buy them all you should expect to pay $30 for the bundle pack. It’s not enough that you pay money for the game, should you want access to everything it has to offer you will need to be prepared to pay a lot more. There is a system in place where the developers are giving out gems (the currency used to buy some of the IAPs) as rewards for completing missions and unlocking achievements, though you can expect to be doing a lot of grinding to unlock anything substantial.
With all of this being said, despite the crazy amounts of IAPs, Vengeance is balanced enough that you can make your way through the entire game without purchasing anything. Sure, it’s a lot more difficult to do so but it is manageable. The difficulty of this game does seem slightly higher than previous titles, however, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as the people that are most likely playing this game are returning fans.
When it comes to the Kingdom Rush series, you always know exactly what you are buying into. Don’t pick up Vengeance expecting to find anything but classic Kingdom Rush tower defence as you will be sorely disappointed by the lack of innovation. Vengeance isn’t trying to deviate from the formula that fans know and love so much, and despite the mass amounts of IAPs, you shouldn’t let that deter you from enjoying this game any more than the previous titles. Yes, there are more things to purchase in-game, but there’s also more to unlock than any of the other games in the past.