A few years ago, Foursaken Media released Bug Heroes [Free], an awesome hybrid of castle defense and twin stick shooting with a healthy dose of RPG mechanics sprinkled in. What could have turned out to be an overly ambitious idea instead ended up just right, offering players tons of content with great core mechanics. Given how well it went over with iOS gamers, it was probably inevitable that we would one day be talking about the sequel, and here we are. Bug Heroes 2 [$1.99] is an excellent follow-up to the first game, maintaining the same basic elements that made the first game work so well and adding a few twists, all while piling a giant heap of new content on top and giving the whole thing a beautiful shine. The end result is just about everything a fan could want out of a sequel.

Bug Heroes 2 is, like the first game, a combination of a castle defense game and a third person shooter, with some RPG elements in the form of character progression. Basically, you choose two bugs to take into battle, where you'll need to accomplish various goals and protect your base from incoming enemy bugs. The line-up of playable pests has more than doubled from the first game, and as before, each of them has their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Since you can bring in a team of two to each battle, there are tons of combinations to put together to cover a variety of playstyles, and you'll need to investigate many of them to find the right duo for each mission. Clearing a mission will net you some diamonds and stars, which can be used to unlock new characters and upgrade your existing ones.

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Perhaps it's a bit of a downer, but I'm going to start by listing every way this game does not exceed its predecessor. First of all, there are no story elements in this installment. Secondly, heroes have a more linear progression than they did in the first game. You don't get as much customization in terms of their stats, so you need to play them as the types they were designed to be. The twin stick shooting aspect of the first game is out in favor of an auto-attack (which can be toggled off in the options) if any enemies are in your character's line of sight. At the moment, there are only three maps compared to the first game's nine.

Okay, now that that's over with, let me tell you how this game kicks thorax. The same hook that made the first game so great is still present here. You need to balance defending your base with going out into the maps searching for food and parts to fortify your defense and keep your characters healthy. As the battle wears on, you'll earn coins that you can use for a variety of upgrades that only last for that stage. You can't bring them with you, so you can spend pretty freely on creating the most powerful stuff you want. Bug Heroes 2 takes this basic hook and expands on it greatly. Coins are pretty much only used to strengthen your heroes now, and you'll need to venture out and find parts to upgrade your base. You'll have to venture out for other reasons, too, such as destroying enemy spawn points or securing a strategic point with a tower you can build a turret on. The frantic balance between staying at home and venturing out was one of the most memorable things about Bug Heroes, and the sequel keeps that going.

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There are some great new twists that add a lot to the strategy, however. First and foremost, instead of controlling one character at a time and switching them out for another at your leisure, in this game, you'll have two characters participating in battle at any given time. They can't be swapped out once the battle has started, but you can freely switch which one of them you're controlling. The addition of this second character is pretty big, since you can now be in two places at once if you want. Maybe you want to stick together, though, complementing the skills and weaknesses of allies? Your control over the non-active character is limited but functional. You can tell them to stay put or ask them to follow you again. It might not seem like much, but this gives you the option of, say, leaving a good long-ranged attacker at a strategic point near the base as a makeshift turret while you take your speedy melee character out to hunt for goods.

Another new element is the camera control. You have your choice of two different angles on the action, and they both have their uses. There's a more overhead view that gives you more of the picture around you, and a behind-the-back view useful for lining up shots and seeing into the distance. You can switch between them at the push of a button, and you'll want to do so depending on what you're up to. The overhead view is definitely the way to go when you're hunting for food and parts, while the behind-the-back view is certainly useful for lining up shots with ranged attackers.

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As I mentioned earlier, clearing stages will earn you stars and diamonds. Your participating heroes will also earn mastery points after each battle, leading to level-ups that make them even stronger. Diamonds are ostensibly the game's premium currency and can be bought with real money, but the game doles them out very generously. When you start the game, you'll get two random bugs to start off with. You can buy others using diamonds, or just earn them randomly when you reach a certain amount of stars. Diamonds can also be used to buy scrolls, which are modifying items you can attach to your characters that will change some stats for the better or worse, effectively slightly rebalancing them. The stars are used for buying permanent upgrades that apply to all of your insect army, including things like offensive boosts and HP upgrades.

I'm not sure I've played many games that are as generous with the premium currency as this one. Even if you weren't unlocking characters by playing through the missions and earning stars, you'd still be able to afford to buy one outright after an hour or so of play. That might sound like a long time, but an hour passes very quickly while playing this game. If you really want to speed things up, though, or have your eye on a particular one, one dollar will buy you enough diamonds to take your pick of the non-legendary heroes. I recommend Bumblebee. Unlike certain Bumblebees, he won't be called on to change Optimus's oil anytime soon.

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In the single-player mode, in addition to the tons of missions available, you can also play an endless survival mode where, true to the name, endless waves of enemies come at you in increasing numbers; and a skirmish mode, where you face off against a computer opponent in a straight-up battle to the finish. Of course, it's not all single-player fun in Bug Heroes 2. You can also play multiplayer online, with a co-op mode available for the endless mode and a one-on-one and two-on-two mode available for the skirmish mode. Multiplayer works very well, and the huge variety of heroes to choose from leads to matches feeling a bit different every time.

Bug Heroes 2 also buzzes past its predecessor in presentation, with some genuinely gorgeous graphical details and environments with far greater detail than anything seen in the first game. Things do sometimes crawl when the screen gets packed with enemies in later missions or the endless mode, especially in multiplayer, but for the most part, the game runs pretty smoothly on recent hardware. The bugs once again speak in high-pitched voices, with lots of little comments they'll throw out now and then. It's sometimes hard to catch what they're saying amidst the carnage, but there are a lot of deliciously punny one-liners. The rest of the sound effects are pretty standard fare, with the gunshots, explosions, and attacks all delivering satisfying impact. The music isn't terribly memorable, with some typical military-style tunes serving most of the duties. It fits decently enough.

I could probably go on and on, but I think you get the point. Bug Heroes 2 is an awesome sequel to a great game, upping the ante in almost every respect, and delivering an amazing value for its price. You could get hours of fun out of any single mode from the game. Taken together, it's a game that shouldn't be missed if you have even a mild interest in defense games, third person shooters, or strategy games. People in our forums absolutely love it, and you should definitely check the thread out for extra impressions and tons of great strategy from our members. On top of all of that, Foursaken Media are usually awesome about adding content after the fact, so I'm sure we can all expect this excellent game to get even better as time goes on.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

    Quick, somebody alert Ramaz1234!

    • JCho133

      Haha why?

      • Jake7905

        Check out the comments on the Disco Zoo review post and you'll know why.

      • JCho133

        Hahah ohh

    • Ramaz1234

      WOOOOOOO!!!

      • marcanthony0313

        I love how that works. Lol

    • rewind

      Haha, I'm sure he's thrilled

  • JCho133

    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!! FOURSAKEN GOT THEIR FIRST 5 STAR TOUCH ARCADE REVIEW! :D :D :D

    • JCho133

      Who's the loser freaking out over a review? ^^

      • marcanthony0313

        I know, what a loser..

    • http://www.the-app-shack.com Matt F

      Looking at the nerfing it doesnt deserve it

      • Renegade

        Really?...
        'Nerfing' the gems (which was already so generous that they had to do an emergency switch to premium) makes the game suddenly horrible?

        You seem like the type of person who doesn't understand that game developers need to pay bills too.

      • http://www.the-app-shack.com Matt F

        Never said "horrible", dont put words on my mouth. It just makes it... less. I still play it and still going to buy Block Fortress War, doesnt change the gameplay, but is a bit of a bummer. Was perfect the first time. And I spent 12$ on IAP on that game, how much did you?

      • Renegade

        You remind me of those people that pay hundreds of dollars on MMOs and think that entitles you to have the entire game catered to them.

        I love the game and I have paid them nothing, that's just how badly the pay model needed to be changed. Just because you paid 12$ doesn't mean you can act like you know what's needed for the game financially.

        Sorry if I mistook what you thought of them game, though. You were leaving the negative comments all over the page.

  • Echoen

    Gnat enough bugs

  • wolfie9090

    Awesome 5 stars truly deserved

  • http://afterpad.com/ Kevin MacLeod

    What a great game; an absolute classic for the platform.
    I wish it had controller support, and I could have sworn the developers mentioned it at some point, but still, this is a great game.

  • Holcman

    This game is too buggy.

    • Jesse7277

      HA! You win the internet. I cried I laughed so hard.

  • Fangbone

    These guys continue to pump out quality game after quality game. This is just another top notch entry in their ever expanding library of awesomeness. If you have yet to experience the greatness of a Foursaken Media title you owe it to yourself to jump on board with the best iOS developers out there. Just an excellent game and some of the best customer service you will get out of any game developer for any platform period. BUY IT NOW!!

  • somedumbgamer

    I liked block fortress a lot and H&C was ok, but am finding BH2 a but boring for some reason

    • oooooomonkey

      I. The same loved block fortress and H&C but can't get into the bug series.

      • somedumbgamer

        Thought I was the only one! I think part of the problem I'm having is the kitchen theme...played the hell out of army men back in the day. Really looking forward to block fortress war

  • speedyph

    5 stars yea ok

  • Jake7905

    This game is the bee's knees.

  • Zerol3onheart

    Shaun, you magnificent punny bastard.

  • chimSIMA

    Well deserved

  • Shifaan

    Well done Foursaken Media, you truly deserve it. Bug Heroes 2 is the best and I can't even express it to you how good it is. Great work and keep making games like this :) I just hope one day there may be a glimmer of hope for N.Y. Zombies 3

  • rewind

    This is a much better pun then the "simple yeti satisfying" one :)

  • lilneo

    WoooOOoOooo! I f*k*ng love this game!!!!
    Foursaken Media rules!
    Awesome review! :)

  • Neo Kolip

    Good

  • SKamiTheFly

    6/5. Lost Credibility. JK awesome game, get it, all cost.

  • http://www.the-app-shack.com Matt F

    The game has just been updated and it completely nerfs the gems system, the scoring and all. Damn shame Foursaken

    • http://www.foursakenmedia.com/ Foursaken Media

      I know you may not believe it, but ironically we are doing the opposite... gem income is nerfed this update, admittedly. But thats because this update was in the queue for almost 2 weeks - we submitted it the day after BH2 launched! We didn't pull it because it had too many critical fixes that we thought had to come out ASAP... unfortunately for us it wasn't that asap, but thats out of our control. The second part of the "transition to a paid game" will be in the next update, which we've been waiting to submit now for a while ;)

      Ultimately, we're moving towards a more premium, friendly type of system if you can believe it :p I don't know about you, but we don't want players grinding endless for 5+ hours in order to unlock heroes. We want players to unlock them naturally by playing missions. So, we lowered the gem income, lowered the diamond cost of scrolls (so you still get them at about the same rate), and have decreased the amount of stars you need to unlock new heroes, which is unfortunately in the next update - this means overall time to unlock new heroes purely by playing has decreased in most instances - difference is now you'll be able to unlock heroes and scrolls at the same time, whereas before you had to do one or the other. End result is more stuff unlocked in total after less time played.

      Yes, we probably should've rejected this update and just submitted both at the same time, but we never anticipated this first update taking this long and it has a ton of important fixes (like the removal of locked missions, tons of bug fixes, etc) that we had to get out.

      All that being said... Personally, I believe the game is worth $.99 with just the 4-5 heroes you can unlock in the first 2-3 hrs of playing... None of the content is gated, and you have access to tons of gameplay, multiplayer, tons of modes, and more characters than many other games have in total. Better yet, now that its a paid game we can release new content (like new game modes) without having to nickle and dime. We already have a cool new mode in the works!

      • http://www.the-app-shack.com Matt F

        Sorry for coming so harsh, I feel damned shamed. You convinced me to wait. Thanks. And I spent 12$ to support you.

      • Renegade

        Nevermind on my old post. You seem like you reformed.

  • lockecole7

    Nerfs? It lowered the cost of scrolls, made star points in which you gain new heros lower, (next update maybe) and increased normal mission gem counts. All it did was nerf people exploiting endless and getting hundreds of gems. That was never intended.

    • http://www.the-app-shack.com Matt F

      No, they nerfed the gems you got. A huge push toward IAP. It was perfect before but guess what Foursaken, I lost my trust in you.

      • Fangbone

        Well you can't really say that without the next update and this current update has been out for a few hours so maybe try playing it. If you like the game the amount of diamonds you get doesn't really matter does it? Just stop complaining and crying about it.

      • http://www.the-app-shack.com Matt F

        Not complaining or crying, its just the they made a perfect balanced game unbalanced.

  • Ultima12

    I love this game!!!

  • DarkPDA

    The game is good, foursaken is one of best developers of ios

  • markymarkanddafunkybunch

    I thought this game was horrible. I'm not in to 3D games though. I just want a game I can pick up and play

  • Gameplaya

    Ha! I got this game for FREE!!

Bug Heroes 2 Reviewed by Shaun Musgrave on . Rating: 5