Every once in a while, you find a game that really connects with you.
Having grown up in Japan, I cannot deny that I was once an avid gamer. Most days, after coming home from school (I didn’t bother with my homework a lot of the time), I would plunge back into whatever game I was playing through.
I guess you could say that I still played games pretty frequently when I was in my 20s and living with friends, but as the focus of my life has shifted, I have found myself playing less and less.
If anything, I am drawn to games that you can pick up and play and set back down after 15 or 20 minutes. I really loved RPGs when I was younger, and I still do, but these days I simply cannot justify the bandwidth that it typically requires to grind through them.
That’s where pick-up-and-go games like Super Power League 2 for the Super Famicom (which is the Japanese equivalent of the SNES), or Tower Defense: Lost Earth (which is the subject of this post), fit in. With games like these, I can jump in and play for a while, and even pick up where I left off later; especially if I end up having to abandon the game to take care of more pressing matters.
The Evolution of Smartphone Gaming
If you’ve had a smartphone for any length of time, and you are in the habit of downloading and playing games, you’ve probably at least heard of top app developer Com2uS. You may have even played a game of theirs like Slice It!
However, games in the app stores seem to be moving away from playability and fun and the novelty of the smartphone interface to graphically centered concepts. They are looking (and playing) more and more like modern console games. Or, rather, they are trying to be console games. Newer Com2uS developments are no exception.
The first issue with this is that you need a newer, more powerful phone to play some of these games. I do not; I am still using an older Samsung Galaxy S Infuse. I experience slowdown on Temple Run for goodness’ sake!
The second issue, as I see it, is that I don’t think smartphone games need to be competing with console games. The simplicity of systems like the Super Nintendo still create a desire in people to go back and play their favorite 16-bit games. While I do realize that modern smartphones are capable of much more, we seem to be getting further and further away from the foundation of gaming; fun.
Moreover, I prefer to pick-up-and-go with my phone. I don’t really have the desire to get swallowed up in a massive RPG. I would do that on a console or a PC or even a tablet sooner that I would on a smartphone.
Tower Defense: Lost Earth
When smartphones were new to me and I was still in the habit of playing games on my phone, I came across one of my favorite Com2uS developments known as Tower Defense: Lost Earth. I was already playing a similar RTS style game when I stumbled upon Tower Defense, but it was primitive by comparison.
It wasn’t immediate, but Lost Earth eventually became one of my favorite games of its kind. I tried to go back to the other defense style games I was playing, and I even tried some of the newer ones other developers had released. However, they simply do not compare.
After I finished the campaign mode, I went to the app store to see if there were any sequels to Lost Earth. Nope.
I still played different games like Temple Run for a while, but my honeymoon with smartphone gaming eventually ended.
Here we are a couple of years later, and I find myself playing through Tower Defense: Lost Earth all over again. This time, not only did I finish the campaign mode, I actually worked my way through the challenges and special missions as well (with some help from strategy guides).
Frankly, I can’t help myself around this game. It’s just too good. It’s addicting in a good way.
Tower Defense 2: Why Not?
Like I was saying earlier, phone-based games are quickly moving into a new age. I rather enjoyed things when developers were still focused on creating fun mini-games (and some of them still are). However, I can only imagine the competition in the field has gotten to the point where developers have to get people’s attention at any cost.
For me, Tower Defense 2 is a missed opportunity. They could just create a whole new campaign (like an expansion pack) and I would be giddy with joy. They don’t even need to update or upgrade the graphics. They could just add a few more towers or a few new features along with new stages. Heck, I would even pay for a new installment in the Tower Defense series!
You may think that this is just the ramblings of a crazy man, but you could skim through the reviews in the Google Play store and you will find that I am not the only one that wants to see this happen.
Granted, Korean software developer Com2uS has released similar-looking titles like Galactic Heroes and Defense Technica. Unfortunately, my phone doesn’t like me when I try to run these. Also, see previous section about the evolution of smartphone gaming.
In short, it doesn’t look to me like Tower Defense 2 is a high priority for Com2uS. This does not mean that they haven’t thought about it or that they never considered it, but based on some of the recent releases like Ace Fishing and WIZCRAFT, you do have to wonder a little.
Now I do realize that this may seem like an off-topic post for our regular music entrepreneur friends, but there is an important lesson here.
It’s a good idea to be asking yourself what you want to be known for. Com2uS clearly wants to have the flexibility of working on different styles of games. They want their strategy to be diversified, so they can reach different audiences. However, if they ever wanted to, they could probably create a reputation for developing awesome RTS games.
Would you prefer to be known for doing one thing really well, or would you rather be known for doing many things decently. Why? Let me know in the comments.