Typically, zombies, werewolves and vampires are looked at as villainous, evil creatures that should be eliminated at all costs, but in 6waves' new free-to-play tower defense game on iPhone and iPad, all of the above are actually the good guys. In Vampire Season, you'll play as a sort of overlord, working to assign troops to the battlefield to protect Dracula's casket while he sleeps.
Vampire Season offers levels of increasing difficulty, with each having a different layout, or path for the enemies (vampire hunters, for one) to take to reach Dracula's casket. You'll be able to spend two resources, Fear and Style, to purchase new troops, which can be deployed by simply dragging them into the battlefield. You'll earn these resources automatically over time from magical fountains, and will earn coins for defeating enemies, but it is easy to run out of resources in the middle of a battle, as your troops are falling fast and your enemies are gaining ground.
Each level is technically timed, with elapsed time going to fill a three star meter at the top of the screen. Once you reach the first star of progress, you'll have the option to use Dracula's ultimate power, killing everything on the field and ending the level immediately, or you can choose to try for the next star of points, earning more coins along the way. Again, once you reach the second star, you'll be given another choice, allowing you to risk it all for more coins or save your current profits and move on. You can replay levels if you want to increase your score, but regardless, you'll never really earn enough coins in a single level for it to be worthwhile.
You can upgrade your creatures in the game's store, but as you'll need at least 1,000 coins to purchase a single upgrade, these place far too much focus on purchasing coins with real money, instead of encouraging the replaying of levels to purchase them for free. In a free-to-play game, such monetization issues are often expected, but here, these items are so overly expensive that it's almost a slap in the face.
Technically speaking, Vampire Season is much better suited to playing on the iPad, even though it's available natively on the iPhone as well. When viewing the battlefield from an overhead perspective, the iPhone's screen simply can't display enough detail to make things very pretty, as text is absolutely miniscule and therefore incredibly hard to read. Even on iPad, the random switch between an overhead camera angle and an isometric one is odd, as the latter offers far too limited a view of the landscape, simply for the sake of showing off more detail.
Combine these visual issues with the dependence on purchasing coins to make fast progress and you have a game that may be worth trying, but only because it was free. While the fully animated cutscenes and unique theme are appreciated, this one may not have what it takes to earn a permanent place on your device of choice.
Click here to download Vampire Season on iTunes --->
Have you tried Vampire Season on iPhone or iPad? What do you think of this twist on the standard tower defense genre? Sound off in the comments!