HexDefense by Gotow Creative Studios is an intense arcade-style tower defense game for Android that brings subtle but effective innovations to the genre. HexDefense differentiates itself from others like Retro Defense, Guns'n'Glory, and Robo Defense by using hexagonal tiles and status-inducing panels. This gives players strategic freedom to create more innovative paths of destruction when tackling enemy waves, but introduces new challenges as well.
Build towers by sliding one of four tower icons to a tile, or tap an existing structure to upgrade its attributes. HexDefense's hexagonal grid provides strategic options and flexibility by adding diagonal directions, but it also gives the computer additional routes by which to avoid the firestorm. Special-effect tiles appear in later maps to help or nerf enemy waves, including rocks that reduce creep speed and health tiles that regenerate enemy life. Figuring out how to force enemies into choke points or around effect tiles to rack up the most damage kept us busy and entertained.
HexDefense lacks fancy sprites or unit designs, but compensates by adding some fantastic particle explosions and lighting effects thanks to its OpenGL-based graphics. Destroying multiple enemies at once creates a fireworks-like spectacle that's dazzling for a few seconds, but causes slowdown. Luckily, Gotow provides an option to disable the effects and improve performance on slower phones. The sound effects were rich and vibrant, complementing the metallic, techno-industrial soundtrack. We recommend playing the game with a pair of headphones to experience the auditory explosions and the hard-hitting music.
HexDefense fails to distinguish between scores earned in Normal and Hard modes. The game automatically records the highest score taken from either difficulty, but at least more points are rewarded for killing enemies in Hard mode. HexDefense completely lacks any online presence or features: no online high scores, no OpenFeint achievements, and no additional modes outside of the two difficulties. The tutorial for the game was just a redirect to an information page on the developer's main site, which we found to be odd and inconsistent with the menu.
HexDefense offers a solid and polished single-player experience. At 15 levels with 20 waves, each map felt long enough to build up to a challenge but short enough to play in digestible doses. Despite the lack of features, the open-area map designs are still fun to play and the high scores offer enough replayability that the game merits purchase or download.
The Lite version has three maps with all 20 waves and is available in the Android Market.