You may be asking, “Fang-tan, why are you doing a review of an iOS game? And not even a very new one? And one you haven’t yourself actually beat?”
Well, my good nameless and faceless chum, that is because I have sunk hours upon hours into this wretched game and I figured it better to share my story with the world rather than let it disappear into the abyss, letting the embers of embarrassment and what’s left of my tarnished dignity smoulder away into the night.
This isn’t really a review at all.
This is the tale of a simple game and the reasons why I hate it.
Defense Witches is strategy game where your object is to protect your Stone Seal from monsters that come at you wave after wave. You place tiny witches, each with their own abilities, on your allocated spaces to try and stop these monsters. Sounds simple enough, right?
I was looking at the page for it on itunes and it says, and I quote, “All stages are designed to allow a player without any power-up items clear with no damage.” I’m gonna be real with you right now. That is untrue and is a bold claim to make.
“Well, Fang-tan, maybe you just aren’t that good at this game?”
You’re right. This isn’t normally a game I’d enjoy. The only thing I’ve ever played that comes close is PatchCon and even that’s a stretch. Still, with the amount that I played it, I gained some experience with it specifically.
I don’t recall when I downloaded this. It was years ago and it had only been because I saw other people on Twitter mention it. I started playing it for whatever reason at the end of last year and got really addicted. It took the place of P&D and I started to play it exclusively.
At first things went easily. Too easy. The difficult soon went up a couple notches but it was nothing a little trial and error over the course of a few days couldn’t fix. But the more time I spent with this game, the more I thought I deserved to have some of the special characters.
How do you get these special characters? With crystals. And how do you get crystals? Well you can win them but you don’t get very many unless you meet the requirements of the stage or perfect it. And even then it’s only one crystal per thing. So, since I worked two jobs back then and had a little extra cash burning a hole in my pocket, I thought SURE I’ll spend $10. That seems fair considering this game is free and has given me hours of entertainment.
You can buy special characters that are only unlocked with crystals OR you can unlock characters early. I did just that. Iris can attack both ground and air enemies and she’s one of the most useful character by far so I didn’t feel bad unlocking her this early. I can’t recall who else I unlocked at that time. As it stands, at the time of writing this and forevermore since I refuse to spend another dollar on this game, I have four characters yet to be unlocked. So the timeline of when I got who is a little hazy.
So ten dollars. Big whoop. What does one big purchase hurt, right?
It’s the little ones that get you. You can use crystals for various things like power ups that give you various effects like more hearts/hp to your Stone Seal, more attack power, more speed, more MP, etc. Or for 90ish crystals you can get the Mighty Witches power up that makes you OP as hell and perfect levels that you couldn’t even get to round 10 in otherwise.
Little impulse purchases here and there when my patience with a level reached its end. It added up. I found myself buying 100 crystals for 99 cents more and more often. When I got a $25 itunes card for christmas, I spent most of it on DW and a little teeny bit on Puzzle & Dragons.
So, okay. I had a problem. That’s how these games make money. It was my fault, as the player and consumer, for being so weak! I’ll just stop buying them, I thought. I can play without powerups to save my butt, right?
This is where the problem is though. With this new mindset, I continued to play. It was a bit trickier and most times I got by just barely. Until now. For weeks, months even, I have been stuck on one level. I have tried every combination of witches and tactic available but I can always just barely make it half way through the total waves before one super-powered rush of enemies comes through and annihilates me. If I used Mighty Witches it would be a cinch. If I paid, this level would be a cinch. But without paying? By playing legitimately with skill and thought? It seems downright impossible.
Maybe it’s just in my head. You play something for so long that you become worse and worse at it as it goes on. But to try and defeat it without using any of my special characters (to prove what they said about every level being beatable without the use of powerups) or the very recently introduced XP and speed up boost (to see if it was doable before that was introduced since it does make a big difference) is just driving me insane.
But I guess none of this is surprising. This is how iOS games are. It’s just this one feels like such a rip. P&D and even goddamn Spirit Stones are more lenient and less intrusive about it.
One character I did throw down crystals for is one who seemed to have a really cool special ability on top of adding an additional x3 game speed. I bought her for that special but when I went to use said special? It required crystals to use. To use a character you paid for, you had to pay for. But iirc no where at all in her description did it mention that. I would like to think that’s when thi
Which is such a shame. This really is an addictive, fun and cute little game that I poured a lot of time and energy into playing. But because of this, I let myself fall into a trap. I saw somebody mention the term “school money” on twitter. Money you have to spend to learn not to spend. Something like that, I think?
It may be that I suck at this game worse than I though (unlikely) or it really does amp the difficulty to such levels to force you to dole out the cash. I may never know. I’d delete this game and leave it in the past if it weren’t for how much I’d actually spent on it. I like to keep it around as a reminder. Like, me: Don’t do that again. Ever.