I think all of us remember a time when, as kids, we wanted to play something new and novel, but Mom and Dad weren’t willing to pull out the wallet for yet another video game. They certainly wouldn’t have let us have some Vegas casino online real money. If you were anything like me, you probably did the same thing I did: Googled for some free games. These Google searches would lead to all these amazing flash game sites like Miniclip, AmourGames, and Newgrounds.
These sites would have a plethora of games (of varying quality) but were free nonetheless. And as a kid with no standards, sites like these were a goldmine! One of my favorite games of this era was Bloons Tower Defense 3 and 4. They were the kind of games you could quickly pull up during computer class, quickly tab away from when the teacher was looking, and then quickly tab back in once she wasn’t.
These games are from a time before I gained independence, adult responsibilities, or disposable income. So when I saw Bloons Tower Defense 6 on sale for a couple of bucks, I figured, “Why not? Let’s take a trip down memory lane….”
Like all the classic games, the premise has to be simple and quick, to sum up. In Mario, the Princess has been kidnapped by a giant turtle, so go rescue her. In Pac-Man, there are ghosts hunting you, and you just gotta survive. In Asteroids, there are… well, asteroids, and you’ve gotta blow them up without them colliding with you and blowing you up.
In Bloons Tower Defense, wave after wave of balloons march single-file towards you, and you have to stop them by equipping as many monkeys as you can afford with catapults, glue guns, cannons, rockets, submarines, and eyeball lazers to stop them. Why are a constant stream of colorful dirigibles trying to invade various themed monkey habitations?
For what reason does such animosity exist between rubber and primates? Unfortunately, we are not privy to the geopolitical background behind the Latex-Cerecapithoid Conflict, nor the details of the exterior effects of this devastating crisis.
The Core Gameplay Loop
If you have ever played tower defense games before, then Bloons Tower Defense 6’s basic gameplay loop should come as fairly standard. Wave after wave of balloons move along predefined paths, and you must purchase monkey “towers” and position them in such a way as to fend off the waves of invaders from one or more directions.
The challenge lies in figuring out where to place each tower, what towers are worth buying, and deciding whether or not upgrading instead of getting a new tower is better, all while increasingly more difficult balloons to pop are sent at you.
The Extraneous Features
Now, Bloons Tower Defense 6 wouldn’t fit on the mobile landscape (although I played it through steam on PC) if there weren’t a ton of extra ways to suck cash out of you. Like most mobile games, Bloons has an in-game currency called “Monkey Bucks” that can be acquired in three ways.
The first, whenever you win a game, you get some depending on the difficulty of the map and the difficulty of the waves you selected at the start, you get some bucks.
The second is to acquire various achievements, like “destroy 25,000 balloons” or “give a friend 10,000 cash in co-op”. The third, and significantly faster way, is with real money.
Those Monkey Bucks can then be converted into all sorts of things- the first being “continues”. Basically, if you lose a game of Bloons Tower Defense, you are given the option of paying some monkey bucks to get some lives back and continue the game. It’s not original, and I’ve never even used the one free continue that the game offers.
Alternatively, you can spend those monkey bucks on “Monkey Knowledge”, a series of upgrades that make your towers slightly better across all games. Some of those upgrades are fairly simple, like “increase tack shooter speed by 8%”, but some of the later ones can be quite significant- like the Mana Upgrade, which gives your health a 25 hit point shield that regenerates over time (giving you significant leeway when it comes to how many balloons you can let through without dying).
The last thing you can acquire with all this cash is Heros. The heroes are a mixed back for me. They are single towers that are significantly stronger individually than other towers. They upgrade themselves over time (in-game) and grant you passive or active abilities to deal with threats.
They have a lot of personalities and are quite fun- but expensive, and quite honestly, I have no idea how much they actually impact the games I have played. Oh, and you can get alternative skins and accessories for them. Yay. Still, new heroes are added fairly regularly, and when I logged in today to double check something, I realized that the developers had changed the menu significantly. It’s a point in the game’s favor that the developers are continuing to actively work on the game instead of just abandoning it and raking in cash.
I guess I should also mention the various challenge modes. There’s an Odysee mode, where you are challenged to play multiple games in a row with a shared set of lives. There are boss rush modes, challenge events, and a whole bunch of extra stuff that I have never really delved into.
The Bottom Line
There are a lot of things I could get very annoyed about with this game. I have never been a fan of microtransactions and will never spend money on such things, especially in a game that I have already paid money for. There’s a lot of extra stuff that I have never been particularly interested in.
Yet despite that, I keep coming back to this game because underneath it all is a core experience that I still really, really enjoy. While there are lots of ways to blow money on this game, it doesn’t feel obnoxious the way other games of this sort do when they shove ads and other garbage in your face to try and get you to spend more money. Bloons is thankfully free of most of that and, at the end of the day, is still a lot of fun to play.