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Radiant Defense is the latest title from one of my favorite developers, Hexage. They've decided to tackle the tower defense genre this time around, and what results is a visually engrossing and charming title with some simple yet brutal gameplay. It doesn't do too much to reinvent the wheel and definitely has some flaws, but has enough nuance to make it worth a download from even the most grizzled of tower defense fans.
This game seems to be a continuation of Radiant HD, in terms of story. You seem to be on the defense against the same invading alien forces as that title. The conversations held between the general, scientist, and alien overlord characters in between waves are humorous and bring a bit of levity to a genre that is usually very straightforward. You use resources to place and upgrade towers around the map, yadda yadda, you know the drill.
The mechanics are an interesting mix between an open field tower defense title, and a closed path title. Each level comes with its own architecture and design, but they aren't totally closed. You get to place module tiles all around the map to alter the enemies path. I've never really seen these two tower defense design elements mixed in such a way, and it was very interesting. Aside from that, there's not much new here. I will say that the levels are brutally hard, and that the game is technically freemium. Instead of forcing you to use an upgrade system and pushing in-app purchases in your face, you can buy a handful of upgrade packs, which each come with new towers. These packs are not required to win, but oh my, they are quite tempting. That burning pack seems like it would be particularly useful.
The visuals are the same top notch combination of simple yet vibrant, neon colored assets seen in many Hexage's other titles. The sound design is all well done, although they very clearly reused several old sound effects, namely some obvious ones from Robotek. If you're a tower defense fan who wants a good challenge, I'd definitely recommend this title. The difficulty is a little too extreme, but as a free title, you might as well give Radiant Defense a download if interested.