After you hit play, you'll get a screen like the one above. You need to select a map. Here, you'll see a variety of things. In the largest area, you'll see a picture of the map. To start in Grub Guardians, monsters enter through one Spiral door and head to the dish of food, but in more advanced levels, they come from a multitude of different Spiral doors, all headed for the bowl of food! In the top right corner of the map picture, you might see a medal. You can earn Bronze, Silver, or Gold based on your score. To the right, you see the number of waves of monsters the level contains, as well as the amount of silver to purchase towers that you start out with. It also lists the difficulty and your high score if you've played the level before. Mastering certain tracks will unlock others. You can select what you want to play for, and it will calculate the cost below. If you play for pet experience, it costs energy based on the level of your pet. Your energy amount is centered at the bottom. You're also limited on some of the types of towers you can use. Below the picture of the track, the symbols of available towers are shown. Select your settings, and get ready to play!
While most of this is explained to you, I'll go over it. First, you place your pet. Your pet will help your out quite a lot depending on the school and level. You pet is a 2 by 2 square, so on courses where everything is one space away from everything else, placing your pet becomes difficult. I'll go over school specialties in a moment. Despite the fact that it looks like there are blocked areas because of terrain, it's just decoration.
You'll then have the option to set up your defenses. The amount of silver that you start with varies based on the level. When you click on any square, all available tower types for that level are shown. In the specific level shown above, all tower types are available. When you hit the "GO" button, the waves will begin. Unless you pause, they will come continuously, so be ready to upgrade your towers! Wait, how do I do that?
As you can see, when you mouse over a tower, you see several new things. At this current point in time, there's an "X" over the Fire symbol, which means you don't have enough money for the upgrade. The price is below the symbol. The rank of the tower is shown, as well as what you'll get when you upgrade. You can also click on the coin below this bar to sell the tower for a partial refund. You can only upgrade a tower a certain amount of times. You also see a blue circle outside of a black one in some cases. This is the increase in attack distance that comes with the upgrade. When something is fully upgraded, it will look something like the pictures below, and the ending diameters and effects will not be the same on towers of different schools. When you upgrade a tower, it has a slight downtime while upgrading, so don't upgrade one while it's busy attacking!
Each tower has its specialty. Here's what I have observed so far.
ICE towers not only attack you enemy, though very weakly, but they also slow them down quite a bit. The higher you upgrade them, the more drastic this effect becomes. Ice towers have the smallest range, and should be used for curves and turns, where they're attacking several corners and sides. This is a great way to keep towers in one place while your major damage towers go to work, plus it helps them out a bit. Ice pets will do the same thing, and their age determines how powerful it is.
FIRE towers are like in-game spells. The damage is quite great, and the fact that it does splash damage, and continues to do damage over time makes these towers extremely appealing. The towers, however, do cost more than Storm towers, I believe they are the second most expensive, at least in the long run.
STORM towers send out a bolt of electricity. While, when at maximum power, it is extremely damaging, the towers are relatively expensive, and and sometimes be so inaccurate as to miss a shot or two. These towers have the greatest range.
LIFE towers do no damage, but increase the firing rate of towers near it. You'll know that a tower has the effect by its sparkle, similar to the Life tower. At full upgrade, you double the damage rate of all towers within range, making this an extremely useful tower.
MYTH towers are the "starter" tower, but perhaps one of the best. They cost only 10 silver to purchase, and their first upgrade costs half of that! They end up, however, with decent damaging abilities. These can be surprisingly useful.
DEATH towers are very crafty. They attack, but as you upgrade them, they do so less frequently, because each shot has a chance to instantly kill the victim. By the time it's fully upgraded, it attacks rarely, but instantly kills anything it hits without a doubt. Epic Death pets will do the same.
BALANCE towers are perhaps the best, but likewise, the most expensive, and not available on all levels. They have a chance to create magnificent chain explosions, which can wipe out and entire row of enemies.
Secret weapons, you ask? Of course you've got one! See the little fire symbol in the top left corner? That's Ambrose's gift to you. It slowly fills up over time, and when it catches on fire like in the picture above, it's ready to use, not that you want to use it right away. Doing so will instantly damage all enemies on the board a great deal. It's good for bosses or tough spots, but be careful, you won't always have it to back you up. Also beware of varying paths. Many times, there will be different paths, and monsters will take either one as they please. While this fire does do great damage, and will kill all of your beginning enemies, bosses and tougher monsters will only be damaged. Here's the special in action!
You'll soon see bigger enemies, which are tougher to kill. Like monster in-game, each one has its own health level and resistance. Ice monsters are tough to kill!
Strategies, you're wondering? I do have a few now, though I'm not claiming to be any master of the game! First, place towers in areas where they'll get all or most enemies, and when doing so, watch for varying paths so that you keep them all covered.
Second, Ice minions are great variations of "glue" from "Bloons Tower Defense." They tend to keep your enemies in place while Fire towers or whatever else do some major damage.
Third, try this if you have a long path - place some Storm towers at the end, fully upgraded, and put some Ice towers at the other end. This will trap your opponents near the beginning while the Storm towers fire away, blasting through every enemy down the line.
Fourth, try Balance minions, escpecially on tracks with long roads. I placed a pet and two fully upgraded Balance towers, and their chain reactions were unstoppable, they killed everything through massive sandstorms and explosions, and quickly helped me obtain the maximum amount of gold, plus complete the level with no lost food. You get the most points for keeping all your food, but you do get a bonus for leftover money. I don't have an Epic Balance pet, but I imagine they'd be pretty nice!
In the above picture, I'm using one of my troll strategies. Trolls are on of the cheapest things around, and they gets you started on great terms. They cost 10 as a Bloodbat, and 5 to upgrade to rock-throwing trolls. Why don't I upgrade them to Medusa form? Because the attack rate of one Medusa is much less than that one five trolls. Sometimes you need more hands than power, especially in the above level when everything is coming from everywhere!
Next, try using basic trolls or another minions paired with a few Skeletal Dragons and a fully upgraded Life minion. Thr Life minion will do all of your towers good, doubling the attack rate. That means you'll be getting extra rocks, plus the skeletal dragons will be sending out double the instant kill shots!
The Spiral doors announce the wave you're on, and it counts down backwards, so keep that in mind. If you're on Wave 1, and you've got a boss, you won't get any more money before killing it, so upgrade your towers the best you can and place more where needed.
Remember "Super Monkeys" from BTD? Their awesome dart powers could get easily sidetracked. The Storm minions is the same way. Keep him somewhere where he'll be shooting down a line, not turning to try and keep up with one enemy - that throws your whole strategy off.
If you do well on a level, you'll probably unlock one or two more. The above picture shows two maps being unlocked. Here's a shot of the screen when you lose.
During gameplay, you can pause to place more towers, or speed up everything so that it goes faster. There are also sound and reset options.
After completing a game, or scoring high enough, you'll get a code if that's what you wanted, or some pet experience, only up to four though. You can also then feed them one of your snacks from your backpack.
More coming tomorrow! Want tips or strategies for a specific map? Let me know! Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!