Tower defense games like Plants Vs. Zombies for Mobiles

Tower defense games that are like Plants Versus Zombies for Mobiles

If you have arrived here from the main article you may want to skip over this section.  The introduction and the first two entries are a straight copy and paste, sorry.

One of the best things about Plants VS Zombies is that it can be played on your mobile without an internet connection. Has your boss dragged you in to do mandatory overtime? Fed up of putting covers on those TPS reports? Why not just whip out your phone and stop the apocalypse via photosynthesis? It’s what I do. There are loads of tower defense games that you can play anywhere without an internet connection, so these are the perfect games for long-flights or overnight spelunking expeditions. Or anywhere else you experience low reception.

Kingdom Rush Series

(iOS – Android – Web-based)

Kingdom Rush is one of the biggest tower defense franchises, and may actually be more synonymous with the genre than Plant Versus Zombies. Armour games have released three Kingdom Rush games: – Kingdom Rush (free for download), Kingdom Rush Frontiers and Kingdom Rush Origins. Origins seems to have the higher Google Play Score coming in at 4.8, whereas the other two are a measly 4.7.

Even though there is a distinct lack of plants and zombies, I personally love the Kingdom Rush Games. It maybe because I’m a big role-playing fantasy geek and these games are very much grounded in RPG fantasy . There is magic, there are elves, there are dwarves, there are orcs, and big bad monster bosses. And lots of things to level up. Heaven.

You are trying to defend your kingdom’s roads from an army of marauding monsters that are flagrantly disobeying the green-cross code by jay-walking into oncoming carts. They’re threatening your kingdom’s traffic management system and increasing the number of commuters petitioning local earls about road safety. How very dare they. They must die. And something has to be done about the monster problem too. I like to think of my king as a mad tyrant type. As the levels progress you are given new road systems to protect from new foes that may be resist to one type of tower, or move faster. These new locations and foes present an increasing need to develop new strategies to clear the level.  These levels can be very challenging on times so you do need to think tactically about tower placement and upgrades.

The strategy is enhanced by the role-playing elements. You get to upgrade your towers through multiple paths that effect damage, area of attack and other things. You also have heroes that you can place on the map and customize through various means. These heroes and their abilities can be a life saver.

The games also has some truly epic boss fights that are highly enjoyable.

The games are so popular they have also spawned a lot of clones that are fun, but haven’t quite lived up to the original: –

  • Realm Defender (iOS -Android)
  • Castle Creeps (iOS – Android)
  • Tower Defence King (iOS – Android)
  • Castle Defense 1 and 2 (iOS – Android)
  • Tower Defense: Castle and Kingdom War (Android)
  • Tower Dwellers (iOS -Android)
  • Myth Defense Two (iOS – Android)
  • More games like Kingdom Rush

All these are great fantasy based tower defense and highly recommended.

Tiny Guardians

(iOS – Android – Steam)

Is another fantasy-based tower defense game with a twist – it has no towers… It may seem like a total failure in generic concept and as if the developers have missed the point – it is a TOWER defense, but it actually works extremely well. It is what makes this game so special and separates it from the Kingdom Rush clones. Many quip that it is more of a master defense game.

Instead of building towers, your main character is centered in the road and summons guardians from cards. These summoned heroes act as the tower and protects you from swarms of enemies.  The game features quests that allows you to buy more cards. There are a diverse range of cards to collect that contain a lot of different guardian classes.  This allows for a versatile style of play, and there are a lot of strategies you could adopt to beat levels. This give it infinite replay value.  There are also a variety of modes to play through.

There are over 40 enemy types as well as boss encounters that make it an interesting and challenging game to play.

It has quite a compelling story going on in the background – the quest to find a missing mentor told through cartoon graphic very similar to Plants VS Zombies. The artwork on the cards are particularly amazing.

Even though Tiny Guardians is available on Steam, as it’s a mobile port it does feel slightly lacking on that platform. It is a great mobile game though.

To my knowledge there are no similar games available on mobile platforms – although on Steam and PC you could try these: –

  • Orcs Must Die 2 (Steam)
  • Deathtrap (Steam)

Tiny archers (iOS and Android) is another game that takes a unique slant on the tower defense genre if you are looking for something different. And Digfender is another weird entry (iOS and Android) that blends Digger and tower defense.

Sentinel 4 Dark Star

(iOS – Android – Steam)

The sentinel series is a science-fiction based tower defense game that revolves around an interstellar war. The latest installment takes place on an alien planet that is swarming with new enemies.  You can make observations about the enemy forces in your bestiary which will give you the strengths and weaknesses of your new foes. These enemies have varied abilities that call for different tactics and towers to defend against.

There are 26 level (31 on Steam) that you fight across to earn upgrades and learn about the secrets of the Dark Star. It is very much this mystery that drives the story of the game forward.  The also has a secondary campaign and an Endless mode after you’ve beat the main game.

The maps in Dark Star also continue across multiple screens giving it a more in-depth and tactical experience. There are a lot of tactics you can employ as well, such as calling in drones to strike the invading army, upgrading towers, placing defenders in their path or calling in orbital strikes.

You get to choose a commander at the start of the game too, which introduces an RPG element, as they will level up and gain more abilities with experience.

The Steam version has extended content and levels, and is not just a port of a mobile game.

Similar Science Fiction games you could try are: –

  • Anomaly 2 (iOS and Android)
  • Tower Madness 1 and 2 (iOS and Android)
  • Alien Creeps TD (iOS and A1ndroid)
  • Space Run Galaxy (PC – Steam)
  • Infinium Strike (Xbox One – PS4 – MAC- PC -Steam)
  • OTTTD  (iOS and Android)

Although not true sci-fi there are also a nice collection of steampunk games you can try: –

  • Steampunk Tower (iOS and Android)
  • Steampunk Defense (iOS and Android)
  • Steampunk Legion (iOS and Android)

Element TD

(iOS – Android -Steam)

Element TD is a direct homage, and faithful reproduction of the tower defense custom maps that were created in Warcraft 3. For nostalgia reasons alone Element is a great tower defense game that is well worth the low price tag. If your a game nut you have most probably already played a custom map version of this game somewhere as it tends to pop up as a mod.

It comes with a huge array of towers and defenses that change depending on the element you have selected to play.  There are six elements in total. And towers are upgraded through collecting these elements by defeating monsters. There are five difficulties setting a huge array of tactics you can deploy to win.

However, Element has only got four maps from which to choose from – which kind of leaves it slightly lacking in content. It is acceptable given its low, low price and lack of in-game sales. It’s a good choice for true tower defense veterans and for nostalgia purposes, but it is a far cry from being an excellent game in its own right. I’m just hoping some of the Dota 2 maps make the leap in the future.

If you are into more classical tower defense games than the Field Runners (iOS -Android) series is highly recommended and so classic I should have done more of an overview. It is also a very highly recommended game.

Toy Defense

(iOS – Android)

The toy defense series are solid tower defense games that are free to download and play. The game setting is more of a historical military setting, the first being very reminiscent of World War One, and the Second more modern warfare field. Both games pull off the setting amazingly.

There are some unique quirks to this game, such as a fast forward button that speeds up the action or the fact you can only upgrade towers outside of battle.  The levels are challenging, some people complain too challenging in an effort to make you spend money. So it may suffer from the freemium model of gaming. There is a wealth of content in each game with over 70 levels which is great for a free game.

The third in the series is actually based around a more fantasy setting – and may be better suited as a Kingdom Rush clone.

Although it is a good series, it does suffer from pay to win elements like a lot of freemium games, which include Facebook sharing, adverts, and challenging levels that require money for upgrades or special items.

Here are some alternatives for you to consider: –

  • Gun and Glory WW2 (Android)
  • Toy Soldiers (PC -Steam – Xbox)
  • Toys Versus Nightmares (Web-Based)
  • Tiny defence (iOS – Android)

Grub Guardian (iOS – Android)

Is a tower defense game that is related to Wizardy 101, a pretty kick-ass online role-play game styled after Harry Potter.  It helps train your pets, and is fun to play if you are a fan of Wizardy 101, though not something recommended for the hard-core tower defense crowd.


So, this is the tower defense on mobile platforms section of my Venn-diagram.  I’ve purposely left off reviews of plant-based and zombie like tower-defense for a later section which will review the best games out there to fill that void.  So, do any of these tower defense sate you, or leave you unsatisfied wanting more? Missed off your favorite then please get in touch.



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