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Army of Darkness Defense HD (Android) artwork

Army of Darkness Defense HD (Android) review

"Come get some."

Hey, remember how Bruce Campbell recapped the events of Evil Dead 2 during Army of Darkness' opening, then cunningly skipped over 90% of the plot and went straight to the castle siege finale? Who could forget one of the fondest moments during the climax, where peasants defended the castle with brooms against flapping books endowed with cartoon faces? Or how protagonist Ashley Williams used his boomstick nonstop during the castle invasion, forgoing any type of fancy swordplay? No? Well... maybe I'm being a bit unfair with my snarky tone, because every game based on a movie is guilty of taking liberties; there wouldn't be much of a game if they stayed true to the source material.

But still, why take liberties with some aspects, then restrict yourself to a single moment from the movie, the castle invasion, and base your entire game around that? I have a hard time coming to grips with the fact that someone at Backflip Studios watched Army of Darkness and thought, "This movie was destined to be a tower defense game!" Don't get me wrong, it's a really cool moment in the film, with its clever mixture of editing, efficient use of practical effects, and the scale of the whole thing within the confines of its budget, but there's not a lot of mileage to be had for a game, unless some clever ideas are inserted. The devs forsake such a thought, instead aiming for a very straightforward tower defense structure where you must protect the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis book from an undead army.

Taking place on a single battlefield, an amalgamation of the movie's castle that spans the equivalent of a city block, you move Ash by tapping spots on the screen, who automatically starts blasting away with his shotgun when in close proximity to skeleton warriors or flying books. Clearly, that's not enough to fend off the savages, so you also need reinforcements, which weirdly start with peasants, but you're eventually allowed access to swordsmen, spearmen, archers, and of course, the projectile-spewing Wiseman. Yeah, I bet you forgot that part in the film where the old man zaps Ash with blue healing powers. Though, you'll have to wait for the blacksmith "shop" to build up points slowly before aid can be dispatched, with a swordsman costing 10 points, while powerhouses such as Arthur and the horse-riding Henry costing 45 and 65 points.

From there, you really just have a typical tower defense brawl, and if you've played one, even for a tiny bit, you know the deal. It basically all comes down to timing and concentrated management, where you can't let up on bringing out soldiers, but do so with the appropriate troops to counter specific enemies; a swordsman alone is disadvantageous against a skeleton poking with a spear at a distance, so you'll need the help of either a multitude of swordsmen, or mix it up with spearmen and archers. Also, you can reduce the number of enemies on screen with special attacks that recharge periodically, such as a super-powered boomstick blast or use The Wrong Book to suck in skeletons, all while hiding behind your men as shields.

If there's one thing Defense truly succeeds at, it's that this free game is inoffensive in its simplistic approach. It responds as well as it can for a touch-sensitive title and it doesn't have any legitimately awful flaws to point out. The worst thing I can say about the game is that, of the 50 stages, it doesn't really start getting challenging until around the late 20s. At this point, you have to put some actual thought into your plans, act quicker, die a few times, and right towards the end, grind coins to further upgrade your weapons and soldiers. Now, there's an option to buy coins with real money, but kudos to the devs for never forcing a situation that requires its use. It's there for lazy people. Whether you're a fan of Evil Dead or tower defense in general, Army of Darkness Defense is purely serviceable if you need to pass time and have nothing else to reach for.


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (March 20, 2017)

In Blood & Truth, the protagonist is supposedly named Ryan Marks. But the Japanese title for the game, Ryan Mark's Revenge Mission, implies that it's Ryan Mark. Which one is it???


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Masters posted March 31, 2017:

Nice review, pick. Good to know it's not PTW, and good on you for mentioning that, as it's more or less my first thought when considering mobile games.

Also, what did you mean by this exactly:

"Taking place on a single, side-scrolling screen..."

You lost me a bit there.

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pickhut posted March 31, 2017:

That was actually a difficult thing for me to describe in as few words as possible. I meant to say the game takes place on a single field, but the screen scrolls left or right depending on where you are on the field.

Basically, I made something simple sound way too complex. I'll edit that part.

But thanks for reading and pointing that out!

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