The first time I played a tower defense style game was in Final Fantasy VII. There was this part when I had to defend the Phoenix on top of the tower from Shinra by using various defense units. I was hooked on the idea even then and played the hell out of that part of FF7, which is one of the greatest RPG's of all time. Since then I have enjoyed a few tower defense games like Grave defense, Jelly Defense and now Radiant Defense.
Radiant defense is a visually bright and cartoony tower defense game. There is great strategy to be had in this game beyond that of many similar games. In radiant defense you, the human military, are pitted against an invading other-worldly force of aliens in deep space combat. By using an array of turrets and cleverly placed "Modules" you must stop the ever-pressing aliens from destroying your spiraled reactor. Sporting a great "spacey" soundtrack while filled with light comedy, awesome color, and the ability to control the path of your foe, it brings life back to this genre of game.
Each level begins with a pre-determined alien path represented by purple squares. Some "Modules" (black squares for placing turrets) are already placed on each level . You are also given modules to place at your will before and in-between each wave. Placing the modules is key, as it can change the invading aliens path to your advantage. Between some waves you are given additional modules to place for your defense. This gives the player an interesting new addition to the standard tower defense game. Aliens getting too close for comfort? Change their path and watch 'em get blown to hell.
Another addition to this game that i found added more strategy was the efficiency bonus at the end of each wave. Efficiency bonuses are a cash reward for the money remaining at the end of each level. So the less you spend the more you get back. It adds the need to be a bit more frugal in order to complete some of the levels. Another thing I found great about this game was its save state. The player is able to shut it off at any moment and the game saves your state perfectly. I found that to be a problem with other tower defense games such as Grave defense. In addition, you are able to retry a wave if you fail, however this is not always a good strategy. Since the money you spend during a retried wave stays spent, you may find you are just digging a bigger hole for yourself. It's often a good idea to just start fresh if you can get it on the fourth or fifth try.
Radiant Defense provides an array of weapons available at the bottom of your screen. These can be placed at any time either between waves or during the battle. Saving the cash for that extra cannon placement next to your spiraled reactor is always a good idea. Each weapon can be upgraded for extra damage, range, and/or speed. In a tight spot the extra damage can make all the difference. There is also a few super weapons that can be purchased which are activated manually. I like that you are given a good description of each weapon's abilities before you buy it, which is much better than having to place a turret and hope it does what you assume. Each type of enemy unit has its own resistance to the various ammunitions as well. For instance some have shields that must be removed with laser fire before standard shots are effective. Such a deep battle system is rare in modern tower defense games.
The utterly huge fail for Radiant Defense is the in game purchases. It is all but impossible to finish the game without the new weapon purchases. I personally was unable to pass the 5th level without them. Each weapon pack purchase comes with 2-3 new weapons and is $0.99. I didn't find that to be an unreasonable amount but I hate getting a game and then having to purchase things to really get anywhere in it. They should have offered the game at 3 or 4 bucks and also offered the first 2 levels as a trial version. Other than that the game is without a doubt the best tower defense game I've played to date. I feel like it has brought back some life to an overcrowded and dying genre. I highly suggest buying all of the weapon packs from the get go instead of frustratingly trying again and again with no avail to beat the game without them.
Truly Hexage scored big with this vibrant game of strategy. I suggest it to those who love tower defense games and to those who have never played one. I think i would be hard pressed to find a person who would say this game isn't worth 3 dollars. Though it's just a spin on an aging genre, I still love where they have taken this experience. For its straight awesomeness Radiant Defense deserves a place in the tower defense hall of fame. Bring on the alien swarm.