Who doesn’t love a good tower defense game? It’s a great way to pass time when you’re sitting around waiting for a phone call and TD games have come a long way since their creation in 1990 with the Atari game “Rampart.” However, today’s modern version of the tower defense we know and love was made in the early 2000s and got its start in games like Starcraft, Age of Empires II, and Warcraft III.
What’s so great about tower defense? Glad you asked! What makes tower defense addicting in the first place is the simplicity of the game. The basic objective is to defend yourself from a wave of enemies while each new level builds on that goal, bringing in new elements like better weapons, new terrain, or stronger enemies. Since you’re on the defense, you’re forced to think strategically and use your resources effectively within a timeframe. The farther you get in the game the more you learn complex strategies to achieve your desired outcome.
There are so many versions of tower defense games available for the PC. There are ones with preset maps and others where you create your own paths. TDs have become so popular that they have even made their way to tablets and smartphones, so you can destroy hordes of enemies while sitting around at the dentist’s office. Booyah!
So you’re probably wondering what tower defense has to do with kids. Well, think about it. Tower defense games fall under the genre of Real-Time Strategy which often requires players to manage their own resources and units in a fast-paced environment. With tower defenses, your child can learn about time management and prioritizing tasks. Once your little gamer learns to micro-manage towers in a game, they can learn to apply those skills (minus the towers) in their day-to-day life. And people say video games are bad for kids. Ha!
So what TD games are suitable for the young gamer crowd? Let’s take a look at these three.
Bloons TD! What better tower defense to start off with than one where balloons are your worst nightmare? Kids can set up towers along the path that throw darts, tacks, bombs, or even ice in order to pop the balloons. Some balloons are harder to pop than others and towers can be upgraded along the way. There are awesome features like daily challenges and special missions that your kid can complete as well. Overall, it’s a good start in tower defense for your youngster.
Ever thought ketchup, mustard, and honey would be useful in a tower defense game? Me either. In Picnic Basket Defense, the player uses condiments to prevent ants from taking food and reaching the picnic basket. You have twenty lives to start out with and you can place the “towers” (the ketchup, mustard, etc.) wherever you want, thus creating your own paths for the ants to follow. It’s a little tougher because there are no preset maps, but it’s easy to get a hang of. Besides, it’s all about prioritizing and learning to manage money and time. Those sound effects are pretty adorable too. You’ll have to play it in order to know what I’m talking about.
Dungeon Defenders takes a different approach to tower defense. This game is more of a TD action-RPG where you create a hero and participate in the action through a first person perspective. It’s definitely more for kids 10 and up since it has some fantasy violence, but it’s a unique approach to the TD genre. Your child can level up their character and they can even play with their friends in multiplayer mode. With multiplayer and co-op, kids can learn about teamwork and strategize together to defend their base. What more could you want in a video game?