Daily iPhone App: Spice Invaders

If you're tired of tower defense games, I don't blame you. Feel free to skip this post, but let me say this before you go: I wouldn't spotlight yet another tower defense game if it wasn't special. That's why Spice Invaders has made the cut.

The standard tower defense tropes are in place. Build and upgrade towers with spells and abilities to repel invaders while carrying on a map-wide campaign. But Spice Invaders by On5 Games (published by Chillingo) goes a step further.

First of all, the game is super polished. It runs great and looks terrific, and everything from the characters to the UI shines with color and fun. There's a huge upgrade system with lots of ways to develop your towers and abilities, and there's even (gasp) multiplayer support. You can play co-operatively or even competitively in a tower defense game! Each stage has multiple modes and can be played through multiple times, so there's lots and lots of content here, all of it quite fun.

Spice Invaders is also a freemium title, which has both a pro and a con. The pro, of course, is that the game is free. Tower defense fans should waste no time in downloading it. Those of you who've soured on tower defense should also consider it. Bewarned, however, that Chillingo isn't gentle with the prodding. You'll get reminders in the middle of your game (and elsewhere) that you can buy spice and upgrades via in-app purchases. They can be removed with an in-app purchase, of course, but they're still annoying to see.

That issue hits right at the core of the freemium argument, however. Yes it's annoying to be "pitched" in the middle of chaotic game play, but the game's a free download, so that's your tradeoff. At any rate, Spice Invaders is an amazing title, and even though I feel like I've said a few times now that tower defense has been worn out on iOS, Spice Invaders goes ahead and resets the bar all over again.