A subgenre of strategy games, tower defense is where a player defends their territories or possessions by building defensive structures along the enemy’s line of attack. Tower defense is commonly seen as a subgenre of real-time strategy though some games do incorporate turn-based elements. It relies on clever positioning and the tactical use of limited resources and abilities. The games rely on a similar format but vary in setting and style. Here we’ve collected a list for you of some of the best tower defense games available. Though simple on the surface, their popularity continues to endure.
Orcs Must Die! Series
Orcs Must Die! Is a popular and free to play game that casts the player as a war mage defending a series of fortresses from the forces of evil. A variety of weapons, spells, and traps are at your disposal to defend the twenty four unique strongholds. Play through a story-driven campaign on a series of difficulty levels.
The 11 unique enemies include orcs, ogres, and hellbats. Roast orcs in lava pits, crush them under ceilings or freeze them. The game offers a huge selection of ways to slaughter the monsters.
Plants vs. Zombies
One of the most popular and well known of all tower defense games, Plants vs Zombies is exactly what it says on the tin. Using a variety of plants and fungi, players defend their homes from a host of invading zombies seeking to break in.
A selection of different levels, enemies, maps, and game modes are all available, ensuring a constant challenge for both novice and adept. The game series continues to grow in popularity.
Kingdom Rush takes place in a fantasy world where the player must defend from mountain trolls, barbaric orcs, necromancers, and demons. The fate of the Kingdom is in their hands as they battle in forests, mountains, and wastelands.
A variety of tower upgrades and specializations are available to customize each player’s playstyle. The threat of Vez’Nan requires clever use of reinforcements, troops, and magical powers.
Defense Grid Series
A story based game, Defense Grid has the player defend a series of military bases against waves of attacking aliens. Player uses a variety of towers to defend power cores. The game revolves around the strategic placement of towers as they can only be placed in certain locations.
The story revolves around the alien invasion of a planet with a dormant defense grid. The alien objective is to capture power cores while the player must defend them to ensure that the defenses can be activated.
Game speed can be adjusted and weapons range is also visible allowing for greater tactical control. The game offers great replayability as challenges are unlocked after level completion. Players can also compare scores on the leaderboard.
A subversion of the genre, Anomaly has been described as a “reverse tower defense” or “tower offense”. Players control a military convoy that must investigate anomalies around the various sections of a downed alien spacecraft.
The convoy is not directly controlled by the player. Instead, they set paths along the streets for them to follow. The player can purchase powerups and unique abilities to help the convoy survive. They can also select and equip a variety of different units each with their own individual defensive and offensive attributes.
Dungeon Defenders Series
A cross between tower defense and RPG, Dungeon Defenders is a team based series that has up to four players cooperate to defend Eternia Crystals from waves of attacking goblins, orcs, kobolds, ogres, and wyverns.
Players can choose from different character classes, each with their own unique traps, weapons, and two special abilities. Players can level up and improve their characters strengths and skills. Mana is the main resource for construction and abilities, it is gained by successfully killing monsters and defeating waves.
The game offers a variety of tactical options with players able to construct defenses like a traditional tower defense game or instead choose to combat the monsters directly using melee and ranged attacks. The game offers a lot of replay value thanks to the varied difficulty settings and boss battles.
Bloons TD 5
The latest entry in this popular series, Bloons TD 5 is the most explosive one yet. Boasting HD graphics and designed specifically for multiplayer combat, it lives up to the reputations of its predecessors.
A large selection of custom battle tracks and towers allow for exciting tactical play. A variety of different game modes are available. Use special agents and fight off a multitude of invading enemies. Compare your scores with your friends on the weekly leaderboards.
Revenge of the Titans
A hybrid of real-time strategy and tower defense, Revenge of the Titans is an intense and difficult game. Players must protect their command center from alien invaders. Strategic defensive placement is key as the aliens will attempt to avoid and ignore your defenses.
Players have a mix of units at their disposal such as turrets, battle droids, mines, barricades, and more. Funds are gained by mining nearby resources. The game boasts a lengthy 50 level campaign that takes place on Earth, the Moon, Mars, Saturn, and Titan. Various game modes are also on offer. The art style is an amusing retro throwback.
Space Run is another entertaining twist on the tower defense format. It is a real-time spaceship construction strategy game where the player commands and manages a cargo ship on its hazardous journey through space.
Some of these hazards include asteroid fields, rival competitors, and pirate fleets to name a few. Missions ratchet up in difficulty as does cargo value, allowing greater rewards and risks. Credits gained from successful missions can be used to unlock new upgrades and modules for your ship.
Missions are replayable and players can adjust the difficulty as well as use the upgrades they’ve earned in previous missions so they can focus on improving their score and beating previous times.
Prime World: Defenders
Prime World: Defenders is a cross-platform collectible game. A catastrophe has created vast mutant hordes that now ravage the world. A group of exiled treasure hunters venture into the ruins of an ancient empire to explore its riches.
Collectible card mechanics are added to the standard tower defense setting. Towers, spells, and traps are all cards that can be upgraded and collected. Strategies have to be adapted each game to take into account the random set of cards.
The game offers a story based campaign, random missions, and challenges. A wide variety of enemies, towers, bosses, and maps are all available, allowing for repeated replay value.
Sanctum is a hybrid of the tower defense and first-person shooter genres. The player assumes the role of Skye, an elite soldier that must defend her hometown of Elysion One from a mysterious alien horde.
Skye must defend cores during levels. Skye can build defensive structures and also fight off enemies themselves. Turrets, teleporters, and traps all can be constructed. Weapons and structures can be upgraded with points, gained by killing enemies.
The game is split into two phases, the aforementioned construction phase, and the extermination phase where the aliens attack. The game’s mix of genres encourages innovative thinking and tactical thought.
PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate
A cute and feel good hit, PixelJunk Monsters features Tikiman, the Forest Defender. His realm is under attack by hordes of monsters, all striving to devour his offspring.
Place towers at strategic points to destroy the horde. Collect treasure to improve your arsenal and pay for more weapons. Fight in nearly 50 unique environments, across three different islands. Four distinct game modes are on offer, including a story-driven single player campaign and online play.
A fast-paced and frantic game, Evil Defenders requires the player to build towers, cast spells, and use special landmarks in their efforts to repel the invaders assaulting the Lands of Evil! The game has huge replay value and gorgeous graphics combined with an immersive soundtrack.
Over 90 levels are on offer over 15 brilliant maps. 5 distinct regions and 6 difficulty modes allow a challenge tailored to the player’s ability. All of the defenses are upgradable through an extensive skill tree.
Mushroom Wars Series
Another hybrid game that incorporates a host of features from real-time strategy, the Mushroom Wars series is set in a fictional woodland world where armies of mushrooms war for supremacy. Game objectives center around capturing enemy villages and bases.
The game is split into three distinct modes, campaign, skirmish, and multiplayer. Villages produce soldiers up until a set limit upon which they must be upgraded or move the soldiers to another settlement.
The game is light-hearted and jovial, with a fun atmosphere. The controls are designed to be simple to learn and quick to master.
X-Morph: Defense combines tower defense with that of a top-down shooter. In a unique take on the genre, this time you play as the invader. You are the titular X-Morph, an alien species invading Earth so as to terraform the surface and harvest its rich resources. Your mission is to defend the harvesters from the attacking human forces.
The game is split into different phases with players able to set up defenses and shepherd the enemy advance along certain axes by using laser fences to restrict movement. The player can also engage the enemy directly, using weapons and special abilities to beat off the assaults.
Unusually for a tower defense game, it uses realistic physics in a completely destructible environment. Not only a visual feature, it allows for the player to shape the battlefield to their advantage. The game also has a co-op split screen mode, allowing you to share the carnage with friends.
Defend Your Life: TD
Set inside a human body, Defend Your Life: TD has the player fight against invading bacteria and viruses. The levels and enemies are inspired by the realities of human anatomy. Fight across the appendix, pancreas, heart, brain, and many other organs.
The game has a unique cartoon-inspired art style. Boss battles, platelet soldiers, over 20 unique enemies, special abilities, and towers are all available in this addictive and fun game.
GemCraft – Chasing Shadows
GemCraft is noted for its emphasis on strategy and its endless replay value. An archdemon seeks to destroy the world and you are the only thing standing in the way. Conjure gems of magical power to place in towers and traps.
Over 200 levels are on offer with varying difficulty settings. Unlock nearly 50 unique skills while working your way through the 400 achievements on offer. Test your skill and cunning against the clever AI. Adjust the speed to suit your playstyle or even summon more monsters to attack when your skills aren’t suitably challenged.
Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten
A mixture of tower defense and RPG, it is noted for three main characteristics, its customization, tactical depth, and story. Instead of towers, the player has heroes who each have their own unique skills and traits.
Characters level up, learn skills, and equip gear individually, which allows for endless customization options. It plays similar to a tactical RPG with the main difference being that battles occur in real time.
The game also boasts an excellent plot, specifically written to engage with the player and draw them deeper into the game world.
Tower Wars combines elements of tower defense, RTS, and online gameplay for an explosive and chaotic combination. It combines old world charm with the cheekiness of steampunk for a fast-paced and memorable game. It is very much a straightforward and what you see is what you get affair.
Royal Revolt 2
Another combination tower defense game, blending in elements from other genres, Royal Revolt 2 requires you to both attack and defend bases in your struggle with rival alliances and neighbors. It is one of the best tower defense games for Android.