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Concept - Fieldrunners PSP
The idea behind Fieldrunners is the same as that behind any Tower Defense game. The player must construct a gauntlet of different towers to stop a stream of monsters and enemy soldiers from crossing the battlefield into their territory, and by doing so, earn money with which to upgrade their defences. It is by no means a new genre, but new games in the genre try to make their mark either by introducing a novel new concept or twisting the genre to create something different for players.
Originally released for the iPhone, developer Subatomic Studios have ported the game for the Playstation Mini format. The game features a slight rejig of the graphics, but otherwise features the same style of graphics as the iPhone original.
Although there is nothing particularly new about Fieldrunners, the creators have done all in their power to perfect the game, with sleek looking graphics and no bugs to speak of in favour of the game.
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The premise of Fieldrunners is very simple, with players placing towers to defend against hoardes of monsters and beasts. What does put Fieldrunners on a slightly higher level then some lesser known TD games is the ability of the player to essentially direct the flow of creatures at their will. Most of the maps are completely freeform, with no restrictive landmasses - allowing players are able to construct labyrinths of turrets to direct the flow of enemies as they see fit.
There is a vast array of towers available, from the standard machine gun to more strategic things such as the goo gun, which slows down enemy units. Each tower, when built, can be upgraded to be more powerful. Each tower has different strengths and weaknesses - for example, a missile launcher is strong against planes but is probably overkill on a lone soldier.
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For a game originally designed for the iPhone's touch interface, Fieldrunners does surprisingly well at using the PSP/PS3's DPad. While players might initially feel awkward moving the cursor around the screen to place towers, it easy to get used to, and players will soon be wizzing around the screen placing and upgrading towers at will.
Other than this issue the controls are simple and easy to use, and will offer no trouble to the player.
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Players of the game will be faced with bright, shiny, and at times cartoon-ish graphics. There's plenty of variety to keep players interested, and all the graphics are well drawn and animated. The weapon animations are particularly impressive, with crisp and bright flames emerging from flame turrets and bright, sharp laser beams.
Each of the enemies have a different look, leaving no confusion as to what the player is about to face. Some of them, entertainingly enough, go splat when destroyed.
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While the music is somewhat enjoyable at time, as a whole the game's sound design is somewhat unremarkable. There are a generic array of bangs, booms and screams from the different units, but it's clear that Subatomic Studios have dropped the ball with the sound. While the sound is in no way a failure, it simply does not, quality wise, match up with the rest of the game.
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Verdict - Fieldrunners Review
Fieldrunners is a good game. The small details that Subatomic Studios have over looked, while disappointing, do not significantly degrade the game play experience, which is balanced, and great fun for both new players to the TD genre, and existing players.
The main issue that has to considered is the price. At $6.99, the price is quite a bit above the iPhone app's price on Apple's Store. While there is a smattering of new content in the game, there isn't the sense of value in the PSP version as in the iPhone one.