Isle of Arrows developed by Gridpop is a card based tower defence game made by a single developer. The game presents a fairly simple concept of randomised cards that allow you to place new paths or towers onto your island (also randomised each game) and defend against the incoming waves of enemies. There are 5 different classes that can be played, each with different abilities or lack thereof. Aesthetically it’s a pleasing simple low poly and pastel colour palette.
Between each wave you are presented with a new free card to place and can purchase more additional cards for an extra 2 gold. Some cards will have water tiles attached which require some forethought and strategy when being placed as removing them isn’t always easy. There are also random events and relics that can help or hinder you as you progress through the game. As you build up your reserve of cash, every 10 gold, you will earn an extra 1 gold per wave (ie if you have 10 gold, you will get +2 each wave, if you have 30+ gold you will get +4 each wave). There are 3 main game modes to play: Campaign which features 4 main areas, Gauntlet which presents increasing difficulty and challenges and a daily defence challenge.
Isle of Arrows is both an an aesthetically pleasing and beautifully simple game with a good amount of depth and some potential for further development and features. The PC version will set you back around £10, whereas the mobile version is around £5. The game has a few core levels and the gauntlet and daily challenge give some additional gameplay options after you’ve completed those – it would be nice to see even more cards and areas added in the future. Some more customisable game modes would also be interesting, for example custom card/event/relic selection or increased random event frequency. There is a slight issue when trying place paths that may end in a solid block (or blowing them up with bombs).
Overall the game is nicely balanced, providing a good challenge while also remaining fun and interesting. There’s a good deal of gameplay to get stuck into, the game can be played offline and in portrait – making it a perfect mobile game and definitely worth
- Try not too spend too much money until you reach around 30 gold, then you can spend each turn provided you don’t dip under 30 gold, so you can ensure you’re getting +4 gold per turn.
- Think about where you’re placing towers and paths and how they’ll be affected in by future cards.
- When you get a 2nd or 3rd spawn point added, you can get away for 1-2 waves before you need to add more towers or paths to them – just ensure you don’t overinvest in them, but also be weary of leaving them unprotected – in an ideal scenario you want them to come close to your existing towers and paths.
- Try and place traps on corners where they can hit at least 2 paths, likewise try and maximise the number of paths that each tower hits.
- High ground can be very useful with most towers to increase their hit areas.
- Not all cards are worth placing – gardens or cards with water tiles can make the late game quite difficult if you don’t have enough bombs to remove them.
- Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gridpop.isleofarrowsandroid&hl=en&gl=US
- Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1946970/Isle_of_Arrows/
- App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/isle-of-arrows-tower-defense/id1607942817
- RCE YouTube Playthrough: https://youtu.be/XtK2Q4ZV23s