They say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but Ironhide Studios might be taking that idiom a little too seriously.
The next Kingdom Rush game - a prequel to the entire series, called Kingdom Rush Origins - is curiously similar to the last one.
Like Frontiers, this is still a tower defence game about placing and upgrading turrets, to fend off waves of tiny creeping enemies. You still have powerful hero warriors on the battlefield, and a toy box of special powers to help turn the tide.
Even the four tower types - now archers, warriors, mages, and chaps who lob boulders - are practically identical to the last quarter of defenders. And the new lightning power isn't much different from Frontiers's rain of fire.
Even entire screen layouts have been lifted from the last game, though everything has been given an extra lick of polish to make it look better than ever. Check out these menu comparisons:The victory screen - Frontiers on the left, Origins on the right The upgrade screen - Frontiers on the left, Origins on the right The encyclopaedia screen - Frontiers on the left, Origins on the right
So if all that is the same, what is new?
Well, the enemies are fresh, and this time you'll be fighting gnoll tribesman, sea serpents, evil sorcerers, giant spiders, and the Twilight army - which is sadly not a militia of screaming tweenage girls fighting for Team Jacob.
Like before you can upgrade your towers, but the new powers are different. And the heroes you can choose (or buy) are new, and each has its own ability now - like a volley of arrows from archer Eridan, or spiky root attack from living tree bloke Bravebark.
Also, the all-new stages have extra dynamic props. On one battlefield, blue-tipped trees hurt nearby warriors, and enemies can sneak into a waterfall and pop out further down the path, bypassing many of your traps and turrets.
Ultimately, Kingdom Rush Origins keeps everything that makes Kingdom Rush so good. It's polished, well balanced, and compulsive, and sports an intuitive interface that makes it easy to get to grips with.
But it also shares some of its predecessors flaws, like the lengthy 20 minute matches that wear out their welcome and an unsettling reliance on multiple currencies and in-app purchases.
And, most worryingly, Ironhide is essentially trying to sell the same game for a third time, only with a few new features. Remember when this sort of thing was called an expansion pack, rather than a follow-up or prequel?
If you absolutely loved Kingdom Rush Frontiers and just want more of it, Origins will suit you nicely. But if you're done with tower defence, there will be nothing here to entice you back.
The game's coming out next week, on November 20th
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