5 best tower defense games ever, ranked

Strategy games have always responded to a wide range of gamers, with long-running series like Civilization and Age of Empires offering what many consider the crème de la crème of the genre. These games can be a bit too involved for more casual players, however, being focused on medium to large scale battles and building the bases as they are.

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This is where tower defense games come in, a strategy subgenre that tasks players with defending their designated base rather than trying to expand their base building efforts. Enemies usually attack through specific paths, which makes it easier to build up a defense against them. This streamlined focus of course brings its own set of thrills and challenges, and just like the broader strategy games genre, the tower defense genre is home to a number of gems. Here is our ranking of the best.

5 Age Of Empires: siege of the castle

A screenshot showing the gameplay in Age of Empires: Castle Siege

This light version of Age of Empires was developed by Smoking Gun Interactive. Originally released on PC in 2014, the game was finally ported to iOS and Android in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

Unlike other full-fledged strategy games in the Age of Empires series, the free-to-play title pits players against each other in a massively multiplayer online environment, where each player must defend and fortify their castle while sending troops to lay eggs. besiege other neighboring castles. The game was discontinued in 2019 after its servers were shut down.


4 SteamWorld Tower Defense

A screenshot showing the gameplay of SteamWorld Tower Defense

Image & Form is perhaps best known for the other more popular games in its SteamWorld series (namely SteamWorld Dig 1 & 2), but it all started in 2010 with this quaint little tower defense game released on DSiWare.

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In the game, players put themselves in the shoes of a sheriff who must protect his city’s gold mines from an onslaught of invaders. They do this by placing various robot turrets along the paths leading to the mines, using the touch controls on the Nintendo DS’s lower screen, as well as other objects such as bombs and nuclear weapons. full fledged.

3 OTTTD (Over The Top Tower Defense)

A screenshot showing the gameplay of Over The Top Tower Defense

OTTTD, or Over The Top Tower Defense, is another tower defense game for fans of the genre to check out. Developed by SMG Studios of Death Squared, the game is set in 2317 after a rift inadvertently opened, paving the way for a full-scale alien invasion. In addition to placing turrets around your base, players can also control individual party members with specific skills, such as an engineer who helps strengthen your defenses.

Originally released on iOS and Android in 2014, the game most recently moved to Nintendo Switch in 2019. As the title suggests, things can get a bit of a stretch, especially in the later stages when the difficulty increases considerably. . Fortunately, you have the option of replaying the previous stages until you earn enough points to level up your party members, which makes the challenge a bit more manageable.

2 The orcs must die! 3

A screenshot showing the gameplay in Orcs Must Die!  3

The latest entry in Orcs Must Die! The series is notable for making its Google Stadia debut in 2020 as a timed exclusive, before receiving ports for PC and consoles a year later. Although this is the fourth overall entry in the series, it serves as a direct sequel to Orcs Must Die! 2, with its events taking place 20 years after those depicted in this game.

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Players once again control one of two War Mages (with the option for two players to play together cooperatively) who must help defend their castle by repelling an onslaught of invading Orc armies using various weapons, traps, and abilities. special. The new game introduces a War Scenario game mode that features larger scale battles (with up to 1,000 orcs) and the use of oversized traps called War Machines.

1 Vs plants The living dead

A screenshot showing Plants vs.  Zombies on Apple iPad

There is an undeniable ridiculousness behind the idea that your last line of defense between yourself and a horde of ravenous zombies are hastily grown plants. But that’s the precise premise of Plants vs. Zombies, a tower defense game that overflows with charm at every turn. Much of that charm has to do with its bright and colorful aesthetic, but don’t let these kid-friendly visuals fool you into thinking the game isn’t any kind of challenge.

The battle between its titular fighters takes place on the lawn of your house (as well as the backyard and rooftop in later stages), with zombies racing down one of five lanes. Each new round introduces a new type of zombie into the mix, as well as rewards you with a new plant to use in subsequent rounds. And a lot of the fun comes from matching the right plants to the zombies you’ll face in this particular round (which is luckily shown to the player before the round begins). The gameplay loop might be straightforward, but the overall package still manages to deliver hours upon hours of fun for veteran tower defense strategists and casual gamers alike.

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