By incorporating real-time strategy and tower defense conventions, Battle Shock rises above other castle defense games on the iPhone/iPod Touch platform. This flick-based title features 100 waves of increasingly tough enemies to thwart, multiple upgrades and an attractive presentation; all for less than the price of a candy bar.

The concept of Battle Shock sees players assuming the role of a young wizard whose mentor has recently passed away. Your castle’s enemies are using the opportunity to attack and it is up to you to defend it and save the townsfolk by unleashing powerful plasma balls, placing archers and managing your castle’s repairs.

The enemy onslaught begins with waves consisting of a few infantry rushing towards your castle from the top of the screen. These initial waves are easily dispatched by using the core mechanic of flicking plasma balls towards enemy soldiers. As you defeat soldiers you will score points, but more importantly you will gather resources which can be used to upgrade your magic attacks, purchase archers and make repairs to your castle.

As you upgrade your plasma ball, it will not only become more powerful, but it will split into smaller balls which makes clusters of enemies a little easier to deal with as Battle Shock ramps up in difficulty. A Shockwave attack can be also be purchased and is particularly effective against closely grouped foes. This attack is executed by simply holding your finger in the place you want the attack to be triggered.

The Last Resort can be used to electrify your castle walls and damage any invaders near it and becomes a necessary tool as knights, horsemen, battering rams and catapults begin to appear in the enemy waves. The flipside is that the castle also suffers damage when executing the Last Resort defense by touching your castle with two fingers.

Archers are an effective way to thin out enemy waves as well, though it should be noted that you receive no score for any enemies killed by your archers and only half the resources of those killed by plasma ball or shockwave attacks. Despite the drawbacks, archers also become necessary as the game progresses. They can be upgraded to have more strength, defense and a greater attack range, with the highest level reaching across the entire battlefield.

The battlefield itself presents a number of obstacles like trees and rock formations that can help or hinder you depending on their placement. Though the battlefield remains the same from wave to wave, it seems to be randomly generated every time you start a new game of Battle Shock, helping the title feel fresh after multiple plays and adding a layer of strategy normally absent in castle defense titles.

Another thing that really sets Battle Shock apart from competition like Defend Your Castle and StickWars is its top-down view. While I found the linear or isometric view in those games tended to make things frantic and chaotic, Battle Shock feels more familiar and manageable, like an older real-time strategy game.

The presentation of Battle Shock also evokes classics like Command & Conquer or Warcraft. Though small, all of the enemy types are richly detailed and easy to distinguish from each other. Each enemy unit also has a health bar and despite there sometimes being dozens of them on the screen at once, the game hardly ever stutters or slows down.

The music is cinematic in quality and suits the feeling of an epic battle, though it does loop frequently. As of version 1.1 there is no option to listen to your iPhone/iPod Touch music library while you play. The sound effects can become a bit grating, if only for the fact that there seems to be one enemy death sound and it is repeated all-too often.

At $0.99, Battle Shock is easy to recommend to fans of strategy and defense games or those looking for some fast-paced action. It feels different every time you play thanks to the robust upgrade system and randomly generated battlefields, creating a great value. There is also a lot of potential here and I’d love to see future updates or sequels include things like online leaderboards or a multiplayer mode in which you both defend a castle as well as launch attacks on your opponents’.


+ Overhead View is Unique in the Genre
+ Upgrades and Random Battlefields Keep Things Fresh
+ Detailed Graphics


– No Multiplayer Modes