Battle evil through the ages with Time Defenders

Time Defenders is a new iOS game from Brazilian developer Ipanema Games, published by 6waves. It’s a free app supported by in-app purchases of currency to upgrade items — alternatively, a (rather expensive) “Premium Pack” is available to unlock everything and remove the in-game advertising.

Time Defenders is a “defense” game in which players are confronted with increasingly large forces of incoming enemies who emerge from the right of the screen and attempt to destroy the player’s base on the left. Enemies can be defeated with various gestural controls, which cause different “heroes” to perform special attacks. Tapping, for example, causes a futuristic soldier to attack with an electric weapon, while slashing causes a fantasy-style wizard to cast a spell. Different enemies are vulnerable to different attacks, and the player also unlocks access to various “skills” as the game progresses. These are deployed on the field and take a while to recharge before they may be used again.

Between missions, players use accumulated “tech points” and coins to improve their survivability and purchase new skills. Coins may be acquired through in-app purchase or normal gameplay, but tech points may only be earned through battle — however, it is possible to use coins to upgrade the rate at which tech points are acquired. Each possible upgrade to the player’s abilities and equipment has ten possible levels, meaning if the player chooses not to purchase the “Premium Pack,” which upgrades everything immediately, they have a lot of “grinding” gameplay ahead of them.

Time Defenders is actually a decent game at heart — the frantic tapping and swiping during battles makes for some exciting gameplay, and the unlockable skills add a degree of light strategy to the action. Presentation is good, too, though the art style is incredibly inconsistent. Units seen in battles are of the “super-deformed” cartoon style, but plot exposition appears to be handled exclusively through large-breasted female characters who are inexplicably drawn in a completely different, more realistic manner. While it doesn’t affect gameplay, it is very jarring and rather sexist, and thus may prove offputting to some players.

Despite this issue, Time Defenders is a solid game that doesn’t fall into the trap of mimicking another title too closely. Its gestural controls give it the frantic feel of titles like Fruit Ninja while coping with several “lanes” of incoming enemies as in games like Plants vs Zombies. The ongoing (and rather nonsensical) plot provides convenient excuses for the game to continually raise the stakes with more and more ridiculous enemies from throughout history, and the monetization and advertising is handled in a relatively unobtrusive manner. 6waves’ considerable marketing influence will also likely help the game to pick up a decent audience — though whether they’ll be willing to stick around and/or open their wallets remains to be seen.

As a new title, Time Defenders is not yet ranked on the App Store leaderboards at the time of writing. Check back shortly to follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.