Review: Bloons TD (DSiWare)

Full of hot air?

There are few things more terrifying than sentient balloons. Just close your eyes and picture them: living, moving latex orbs, floating down a path in your direction. Such is the basic premise of Bloons TD, which takes the charming, monkey-populated world of puzzler Bloons and moulds it to a tower defence formula. And, like its predecessor, it's already seen life on multiple platforms in a number of versions with smaller price tags attached – but while it's hardly an original formula, it works quite well.

The game follows the simple but solid design of laying out a path along which enemies proceed from one end to the other. You'll set up defences and obstacles along the way to stop them, attempting to survive 50 progressively challenging waves without letting a number of them cross the finish line. You can place or upgrade your units during or between battle as well, spending money that you earn by popping your foes. You can even change their behaviour and specify which balloons you want each to target; it's quite nice to have the option, though casual players can get by fine without it. The variety of weaponry is just enough to get the job done and feels fulfilling, with a few fun bonuses for those who persist long enough.

15 levels make up the package, though you'll have to unlock nine, and you can play on three difficulty settings. Thanks to this accessibility and the fun, warm presentation – bright and welcoming, though dated in appearance – Bloons TD is a great choice for new, young and casual tower defence players. Similarly, the interface is easy to master albeit a little difficult to navigate initially. Helpful instructions pop up along the way, but they frustratingly disappear after a very short amount of time, forcing you to speed-read through them. If you can't make it through an entire match in one sitting, you can save your game and come back later even after exiting the program, which proves quite the welcome option.


Bloons TD presents a simple, smooth, charming take on tower defence. 15 levels and three difficulty settings mean that it's accessible and substantial enough to make your purchase worthwhile. On the other hand, it does next to nothing that we haven't seen in just about every entry in the subgenre ever, nor is it the prettiest of them. Still, if you're looking for an introduction to this brand of strategy game and don't mind it not pushing the boundaries, this gets the job done well.

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