Just two days after we took a hands-on look at ARDefender from developer Int13, the game has now become available in the App Store as of this morning. What is a nice surprise is that the game has launched for just 99¢. In ARDefender, you'll print out a special PDF image from ARDefender.com that is read by the software and creates a 3D tower in the real-life space of the iOS device camera's view. Enemies then attack the tower from all angles, and you fend them off with a weapon placed on top of the tower. You'll have a machine gun, rockets, and a laser at your disposal as you take on the endless waves of increasingly difficult enemies.

It's a cool concept and one that works really well in practice. I was blown away with how convincingly the tower seems to actually exist in the area where you're playing the game. The gameplay itself is also quite fun, although pretty bare bones. There's really only one mode to play through in ARDefender which has you defending against seemingly endless waves of enemies. Beyond that, there's not a whole lot more to the game. I'd love to see something along the lines of a story mode, different styles of towers, or online leaderboards and achievements. Still, what's here in terms of gameplay is pretty darn fun anyway. This video shows off one round of ARDefender as well as me playing around a little with how the technology works:

One thing that is important to take note of is that ARDefender will not work with the original iPhone or iPhone 3G. It would make sense that the older iPod touches would not run the game as they don't have an external camera (the game does run on the new camera-enabled 4th generation iPod touches by the way), but apparently ARDefender requires some processing power that needs at least a 3Gs iPhone or above.

Normally when a game only has one mode to play with not a lot of bells and whistles, it can be hard to recommend as those games tend to get old pretty quickly. In ARDefender's case however, the technology is just so impressive and the gameplay is so well done that it's hard to pass on the game when it's only a dollar. It's definitely something you'll want to show off to your friends because it's so neat, and players in our forums are already finding all of the wacky places they can place the PDF image and play the game (including pulling up the image on a second Apple device and growing the tower right out of that device's screen). If you have a dollar to spare and a capable device, you should definitely give ARDefender a try.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Johnson/100000651694620 Brian Johnson

    The tech is worth the $1 hands down! Get's a little boring after awhile, I would like to see a way to upgrade towers with new weapons and new enemies but for a dollar you can't go wrong!

  • NightHawk64345

    Horray! Now I just need to get a new iPod Touch to replace my dying 2nd gen iPod

  • Smint

    I bought this, its the first nice AR game, it doesnt look cheap like those exhibits you see around.Don't even need to print the marking out, just shoot at your laptop screen. lol

  • Anonymous

    Really nice demo of what AR games should be like on the i-device!

  • jckarlo

    Despite its shallow gameplay, the technology is very impressive and worth $1 just to experience. I wasn't next to a printer and I saw what the "tag" looked like, so I took a blank piece of paper and drew the 7 black dots and it works just as well.

  • Koushi_inaba

    It's actually really cool. Just played it with my iPhone 4 using my iPad as AR "print out" ;-)

  • Adams Immersive

    I had some success with a sharpie pen, and with quarters laid out on a white floor (as long as I avoided glare on the coins: they need to look dark, so have the light behind you).

    Getting the symbol just right so it’s reliable is hard, but if you’re not near a printer, it can be done! Also, note that the picture of the tower in the center of the printout isn’t needed. It works fine with just the 7 dots.

    Very nice—but add retina graphics please :)

  • http://clawmarksinthefrozenpeas.com Vinh

    I think it would be kind of cool if they got around the exclusion of the iphone/ipod touch by including a mode that augments an existing photo on the device. While it's not augmenting reality in real time, it at least doesn't exclude a large portion of iOS device owners.

  • Anonymous

    It's OK, and I suppose worth 99 cents to try it out, but come on, this thing is just a tech demo. I really think Touch Arcade's review way overstated its value as a game. I got about 3 minutes of fun out of it and now I'll probably hang onto it to show to people, except that it requires me to have a printout out or other means to get the game to work. It's curious to me that it can't just draw the tower on a surface without me needing to print anything out and lay it down. I guess it's incapable of detecting surfaces. Now a game that could detect the surface it's being shown and then put the game on that surface (especially if uneven), now that could be turned into a full fledged and damned amazing game. This? It's a 5 minute tech demo, with most of those 5 minutes involving getting and printing the picture.

  • Dagan

    Look-Up augmented reality space game

    The Look-Up Experience on youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bps3FkX-_cY

  • Jenz