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Epic Defense - The Elements is a new tower defense title from DreamStudio. It offers a unique kind of tower building mechanic, nice visuals, a truly epic soundtrack worthy of the title, and much more. Unfortunately, it also offers a tower upgrading system that requires you to grind out lots of gold or just buy extra gold through in-app purchases, unless you're lucky, of course.
Despite that, the concept is interesting and the game is free, so you might as well try it for yourself. The tower building mechanics in this game are like a simplified version of that found in GemCraft, the popular Flash game turned iOS game. You place basic, empty towers around the field, and then equip them with differently colored gems to change their properties. Those gems are red, blue, and yellow, or fire, ice, and lighting, respectively. Combining these with towers will turn them into entirely new towers, changing their effectiveness. All in all, this makes for 10 towers total--three focused on each element, and one balanced "holy" tower. Killing enough enemies will result in a new base tower being made available, and enemies drop all these gems and coins.
All of that is well and good and fun, but the execution isn't really up to par. There's quite a learning curve in the beginning as you try to memorize how each towers combine and how they're useful by referencing the help section. Unfortunately, it doesn't really matter, because which gems you receive and when is completely random, so there's no way for you to really strategize outside of generalities. Gold that you acquire on missions can be used to upgrade your towers, nullifying that disadvantage, but to really upgrade anything significantly will take loads of grinding, or IAP, which always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It doesn't help that the game is very unstable on my Motorola Xoom, and crashed frequently for various random reasons.
The simple art is nice and colorful, and as I said, the music is awesome, although the sound quality could really use some work. I really like the general concepts and ideas here as well. It's really a very cool game. I just have a really hard time with it, even on the easy difficulty, and I think it's due to the random nature of the tower building. Each level has three difficulties and an endless mode to play as well. This is a solid game, but as it is, I feel it has too many problems. The developers have actually been very fast and responsive on bug fixes and updates though, so I have a feeling it will only get better. I definitely recommend that everyone who wants a new, unique tower defense with fresh ideas check this free, ad supported game out.