In today's crowded App Store, it really takes a lot as a tower defense game to stand out from the rest of the pack. Unsurprisingly, Taito, a developer with amazing roots in retro gaming and a fantastic catalog of iPhone games, have managed to cram the required tower defense magic in to Mikado Defenders [App Store] to make the game still worth a look even if you've already got an iPhone full of tower defenders.

Similar to InMotion Software's Dungeon Defense [99¢ / Free], units are built on pre-positioned areas along the path that the enemies travel down. You can build and upgrade a number of different ranged and melee units on each of these locations on the map. Much like Dungeon Defense, it seems that the best strategy involves positioning melee units to hold the line in front while your ranged units pelt the bad guys from afar.

Additional depth is added to the game with the ability to upgrade various components of your castle's defenses along with customizing which guardian spirit and commander you use. Guardian spirits unleash special powers such as clearing most of the units on screen, briefly making your units invulnerable, and other effects once you've killed enough enemies to fill a spirit gauge on screen. New commanders are unlocked as you play through the game, and each offer individual bonuses to your units.

All of this is wrapped in a really slick looking Japanese art style that adds a ton of atmosphere to the game. The actual unit animations are a little lackluster, but considering the sheer amount of units that can be on screen fighting at once I suspect that not having extremely fluid battle animations was a performance trade off. All of this can be seen in the following gameplay trailer:

The tower defense section of the App Store is arguably just as crowded as the match three and line drawing sections, but Taito has managed to create a really cool looking game with a decent amount of depth to it that should make any fan of the genre happy. It comes with multiple difficulty modes, as well as both a story and endless mode. Impressions in the thread in our forums have been positive so far, and much like Taito's other iPhone games, Mikado Defenders is a lot of fun.

App Store Link: Mikado Defenders, $2.99

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://www.silentrocco.com SIlent Rocco

    Sweet style, but I don't like the crappy animations.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      The animations could be better, but it's not really that big of an issue when you're in the thick of things. I'm not a bit fan of TD games either, but I'm really enjoying this one, mainly because the use of actual troops (rather than just defense towers) makes it feel more like an RTS, and the graphics, music (love the jazzy riffs you get during combat -- reminds me of an 1970's samurai epic), really get you involved in the action. They've also added enough complexity to the gameplay to keep things interesting while still keeping the game accessible to the neophytes. As far as I'm concerned, it's another winner from Taito.

      • Adams Immersive

        Agreed. To me (as one who used to hate TDs and refused to even try them) TD simple IS a form of RTS. An RTS with reduced learning curve (and often reduced play time). Within that, TDs can be widely varied and different—ranging from casual to amazingly deep. And fun!

  • http://www.silentrocco.com SIlent Rocco

    Sweet style, but I don't like the crappy animations.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      The animations could be better, but it's not really that big of an issue when you're in the thick of things. I'm not a bit fan of TD games either, but I'm really enjoying this one, mainly because the use of actual troops (rather than just defense towers) makes it feel more like an RTS, and the graphics, music (love the jazzy riffs you get during combat -- reminds me of an 1970's samurai epic), really get you involved in the action. They've also added enough complexity to the gameplay to keep things interesting while still keeping the game accessible to the neophytes. As far as I'm concerned, it's another winner from Taito.

      • Adams Immersive

        Agreed. To me (as one who used to hate TDs and refused to even try them) TD simple IS a form of RTS. An RTS with reduced learning curve (and often reduced play time). Within that, TDs can be widely varied and different—ranging from casual to amazingly deep. And fun!

  • thebleeptruth

    Thinking of buying both this and R.O.S.M. when I have the time. Can't wait!

  • thebleeptruth

    Thinking of buying both this and R.O.S.M. when I have the time. Can't wait!

  • klouud

    Best looking TD game I have ever seen - and I HATE TD game! I might actually think about buying this...

    • http://www.silentrocco.com Silent Rocco

      Wow, then you've missed a lot.

  • klouud

    Best looking TD game I have ever seen - and I HATE TD game! I might actually think about buying this...

    • http://www.silentrocco.com Silent Rocco

      Wow, then you've missed a lot.

  • Michael

    avoid...i regret paying 3 bucks for this... its just way too easy and becomes boring in minutes.... there is no challenge... good for ages 12 and under who probably enjoy winning no matter how easy the game is

    • squarezero

      I'm way (way, way) older than 12 and have really enjoyed it. But thanks for the compliment ;).

    • x2carlos

      If you think its easy then you obviously went for just beating the stages rather than unlocking the commanders or beating the harder modes.
      Unlocking the commanders requires an incredible amount of strategy in order to save up for the castle before the last chapter and survive (specially in hard mode).
      And if thats not enough, there are very hard & brutal mode for the ppl wanting a challenge.
      This games has far more strategy and thought involved than your standard, make a maze and upgrade towers defense game.

  • Michael

    avoid...i regret paying 3 bucks for this... its just way too easy and becomes boring in minutes.... there is no challenge... good for ages 12 and under who probably enjoy winning no matter how easy the game is

    • http://! squarezero

      I'm way (way, way) older than 12 and have really enjoyed it. But thanks for the compliment ;).

    • x2carlos

      If you think its easy then you obviously went for just beating the stages rather than unlocking the commanders or beating the harder modes.
      Unlocking the commanders requires an incredible amount of strategy in order to save up for the castle before the last chapter and survive (specially in hard mode).
      And if thats not enough, there are very hard & brutal mode for the ppl wanting a challenge.
      This games has far more strategy and thought involved than your standard, make a maze and upgrade towers defense game.

  • TheFamousEccles

    Damn. I have dozens of TDs already, and you still convinced me to buy it.

  • TheFamousEccles

    Damn. I have dozens of TDs already, and you still convinced me to buy it.

  • Phil_Lapineau

    Taito aka Square Enix. Initially surprised that Taito still existed. How about a Bubble Bobble remake?

  • Phil_Lapineau

    Taito aka Square Enix. Initially surprised that Taito still existed. How about a Bubble Bobble remake?

  • Robert

    This gNe is most definitely NOT easy. It requires careful thought

  • Robert

    This gNe is most definitely NOT easy. It requires careful thought