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Jelly Defense review (iOS / Universal)

October 6, 2011

“Shades of grey,
Something holds me, holds me hypnotized”

10 word description: Tower defence. Jelly characters. Over 20 campaign missions. 10 towers.

Imagine the little trees gently swaying, and the weirdest yet most appropriate game music playing in the background...

10 word review: Generic TD gameplay enhanced with fabulous graphics and jolly music.

Most of the challenge comes from balancing your red and blue defences, and knowing the best times to sell off one colour in order to bulk buy another

You will like this if you enjoy: Tower Defence games. Incredible graphics and sublime sound … marginally at the expense of gameplay originality.

Here, I have probably blown it. A large blue attack force versus my half-and-half defence. The red tower does nothing against blue enemies

The good news: Genuinely astounding graphics and presentation. Weird, happy music that really adds to the overall experience – one of the few games I’ll deliberately play with earphones just because the music is so good. Solid, basic TD gameplay is very simple; no complicated game mechanics to confuse even the freshest TD newcomer.

This large red boss jelly is about to fall, due to my overwhelming red defences bought with the profits of a blue tower sale! If you think that sounds complicated, maybe this isn't your game

The bad news: Solid, basic TD gameplay is very simple … TD veterans may be hoping for more depth or additional tower upgrading features. Beating a level without losing any gems/stars is often a case of memorising attack waves and selling/building towers in the right order. There’s no fast-forward function so all waves, including plodding bosses, have to be played through at the default speed. Level select navigation around the 3D planet is rather wacky when swiping; the arrows are much more precise and reliable.

Of course, winning isn't just about bombing those enemy jellies back to the stone age, it's about green gems, and not letting those little blighters steal any of them from you

Arcadelife verdict: I love the look of this game and I also think that the sounds & music are more than worthy of a mention as they are really enjoyable and suit the cheerful, cartoony feel. The gameplay isn’t quite up to the same standard as the visuals and audio, very much a by-the-numbers Tower Defence exercise, where solutions are inflexible and success mostly depends on the player’s ability to memorise the order of blue/red waves and change their towers accordingly in advance. Replaying levels almost feels like a mandatory part of the experience, as knowledge of “what is coming next” bestows a large tactical advantage.

Oh fantastic, let's give them a shortcut through the middle of the map

In summary, the shortcomings of the gameplay can be willingly forgiven because the game looks and sounds so good. That suggests I’m a shallow graphics fan and, in this case, I have to admit that I am. The mostly monochrome backgrounds and the bright, cutely animated blue and red jellies are really rather gorgeous. TD fans will enjoy Jelly Defense for what it is and I think it will appeal to a wider audience purely because of its looks. As an introduction to the TD genre it’s definitely not a bad choice.

The 3D level select map - a triumph of "mad bloke in the art department" over functional design

Arcadelife rating: 85/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.04
iTunes link

Infinite Dreams / Jelly Defense website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 4.3.5)
iPad (OS 4.3.5)
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