Army of Darkness Defense (2011)
By: J.R. McNamara on July 11, 2012  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Platform: iPad
Developer: Backflip Studios
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Before I commence this review proper, I have to admit that video games are not my thing. I play a few puzzle type things on the iPad, but in general, I am a pretty substandard game player. I do, however, kick ass on Mario Kart, am a dance commander at Just Dance, wail at Guitar Hero, am a masterful spinner on Dj Hero and on Singstar can belt out Gwen Stefani's Hollaback Girl better than any skinny, over- bleached princess can. Unfortunately though, as far as manly kill-frenzy, FPS, beat em up, macho games are concerned, I am a liability to any online team. I still persevere though, to preserve my masculinity, but have the status of perpetual n00b.

In an attempt to continue to increase my game playing testosterone, I do give any horror based iPad game a whirl, and even though I think the film is a dire waste of time, I downloaded Army of Darkness: Defense to my iPad, and was pleasantly surprised.

It is essentially a sideways scrolling beat 'em up, but with strategic elements rather than simply shooting boomsticks, punching and chainsaw slinging. Though there is a fair bit of that as well. In basic terms the object of the game is to defend the Necronomicon, hidden in the castle, from the ravenous hordes of the evil dead. You, as Ash, are initially armed with your shotgun and your stump, but as the game progresses, you can purchase more weapons, and upgrade them, as you collect gold from the bodies of the dead. These weapons include a Super Boomstick, a volley of arrows or stones from a catapult, The Wrong Book (which sucks the undead away from the battlefield), magic words (which can either heal you, bring troops to your defense or a tie a necktie around your neck) and the Deathcoaster, which just plows into the hordes and kills almost everything. These extras take time to recharge so you have to use them wisely.

Other options for your cash are the purchase of troops, which range from peasants and archers up to Duke Henry or Lord Arthur, who are all upgradable as well, and are purchased in game as your blacksmith makes metal, which is the in game currency. Like gold, they can be collected from the bodies of the vanquished.

The final upgradable option is the castle itself, where you can purchase archers for the walls or catapults, make the area housing the Necronomicon tougher or make the blacksmith work faster to get more troops in game.

The baddies are a bit of a treat. They range from simple skeletons with various armour and weapons to actual characters that can be identified from the film, like mini Ash's, pit demons, witches, flying demons, possessed Sheila, and of course, Evil Ash himself!

Over the course of the game, the baddies get tougher and tougher, so upgrading with gold is an essential part of the game, but you have to make sure you upgrade the right stuff, otherwise you have to start all over again! Mind you, repeating a level over and over again will increase your gold, or, like all iPad games, you can purchase more using cash from your wallet. Being tenacious and a tightwad, I opted for repeating levels over and over, which I admit I never found a chore, even though each level is repetitive!

After you have beaten all 50 levels, you get an unlimited level, which is just horde after horde of the undead, and you compete for a highest score rather than just completing a level. You still collect gold and can then upgrade everything you didn't upgrade which gives you an opportunity for different styles of gameplay, but essentially the game is beat and over.

The graphics are cartoony and a lot of fun, what I imagine an Evil Dead Hanna Barbera cartoon would be like, and those who are fans of the film or Bruce Campbell will enjoy his soundbytes that are played over the game, though they get repetitive after a while, and honestly, shat me so much towards the end that I played with the sound completely turned off!

Overall Army of Darkness: Defense is great, especially when you consider at the time I purchased it, it was a free app! It's a fun distraction that whilst repetitive, never becomes painfully so, probably because there is so much to do in the playing of the game ( buying troops, waiting for weapons to charge as the horde closes in). I imagine a fan of the film would get more out of it, but for me to enjoy it this much and not be a fan as a tribute to its gameplay.
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