This game is a strange mix between a more traditional castle defense like Cartoon Wars and the more innovative Paladog. You still upgrade your castle’s defenses and send out units to stop the enemy’s progress, but you also take direct control over a very powerful samurai. Like Paladog, letting this samurai die results in a loss, but unlike Paladog, you are actually on defense rather than offense, with no enemy castle to destroy and only your own village to protect. Your samurai is equipped with plenty of fun powers, from a power strike to a lightning attack, an enemy slowing debuff, and even a long range bow.

As you fight through the waves of very similar looking zombie samurai, you’ll unlock new units and powers, and collect plenty of silver and pachinko balls. Silver is used to upgrade everything, and like most of these games, the key to victory is upgrading quickly enough to keep up with the enemy’s rising strength. This is usually where these games fall apart and rely on in-app purchases, but it really isn’t bad here. It’s actually possible to grind silver for one thing, and if you remember to boot the app up each day, you’ll get increasingly good rewards simply for coming back again. The pachinko balls I mentioned are taken into a Pachinko mini game, where you can earn decent little chunks of coin, or even big bonuses and rare power-up items. It does still try to make the IAP tempting, but it is really not nearly as brutal as you would think. Then again, it could very well get much worse later in the game, I wouldn’t really know. Either way, you get a couple solid hours of fun at least, so it’s definitely worth it as a free title.

The graphics are pretty decent looking. Every level takes place in the same village, although daytime, nighttime, and the different seasons make for more variety. The models themselves are solid looking, even if the enemies are just loads of boring palate swaps, but the animations are choppy and ugly. The music and sound design are pretty decent as well, if a bit stereotypical. It’s still not a great game, and it’s still a little greedy, but it’s not nearly as greedy or brutal as past Glu games, and I definitely recommend you check it out.

[appbox googleplay com.glu.samuzombie]