Avast ye Mateys, it’s time to do battle on the high seas with the new tower defense game, Pirate Legends TD. The game is instantly familiar because it has a set very similar to Kingdom Rush, and the comparison may be too close for comfort. You could essentially call Pirate Legends TD, Kingdom Rush High Seas due to the similar set-up that only essentially differs with the pirate theme. Each level is set-up with specific points to place towers, and multiple water pathways for the enemies to flow in on. The intricate fixed path level design is just like Kingdom Rush, so is the fact that there are four tower types with extensive upgrade pathways.
Pirate Legends is packed with strategy, and requires constant attention thanks to the difficulty level, and rechargeable power-ups at your disposal. You can launch a turtle cannon, and cannon barrage from your main pirate ship, which can also defend itself with a 360 degree angle of attack that you can control. There’s also a pilot hero that you can direct for an aerial boost constantly diving in throughout a level. The flow of the enemies is balanced for plenty of difficulty, and you earn the bare minimum amount of coins to survive each wave. The focus of your defense is on upgrading your towers rather than placing additional ones, so that you have super powerful specifically positioned towers. The upgrades can make all the difference, and while Pirate Legends does borrow a lot from Kingdom Rush, the best thing they adopt is the action packed strategy that Kingdom Rush is known for.
There are 12 intense battles, and while that’s not the most levels, each one takes a considerable amount of time, and you will have to probably replay a few even on medium difficulty. The environments are extremely ornate with beautiful retina graphics, and little animated intricacies. The level design is absolutely essential for the challenge of the game, and each one provides such a unique challenge to require a whole new plan of attack. The entire experience is designed so well, so while Pirate Legends is very similar to Kingdom Rush, it can’t be called a cheap knock off due to how much time and care went into the game design.
The only real drawback is how similar it is to Kingdom Rush, and you can’t help but notice that fact everywhere from the level set-up and gameplay to the interface elements and cartoon design. If you have played Kingdom Rush, it’s easy to spot the exact duplicates of the four tower types, the specific tower upgrade paths, inclusion of a hero, rechargeable power-ups, tower enhancements chart, and fixed path set-up with specific tower building points. To some extent, it’s offensive to see gunner, bomber, slow down, and magical towers with four exact upgrades with the fourth tower having special boosts accessible in the same exact interface. Still though, it’s such a well made game, and more tower defense games along the lines of Kingdom Rush isn’t a bad thing. It would be nice to see more variations to build upon the mold, and there are instances where the action can slow down. Kingdom Rush is still superior, because it proves that a fast forward button isn’t necessary in tower defense, while Pirate Legends would benefit from a fast forward button.
Pirate Legends TD ($3.99, Universal) is essentially a pirate themed Kingdom Rush that isn’t quite as engaging. It doesn’t stand out as much as it could, and while the similarities are obvious and everywhere, it’s still an enjoyable iOS experience that is worth the price of admission. Another minor complaint is that there are a lot of in-app purchase options included in a $4 game.