Super Sanctum TD (iOS) Review


A towering achievement.

Many of you may have heard of the Sanctum game, available on PC and Mac. What you may not have known is that Coffee Stain Studios has made a version of the game for iPad. Super Sanctum TD is a Tower Defense game in the traditional sense, one that doesn’t push the genre in any sort of new direction, but does what it aims to do very well.

As with most Tower Defense games, the aim here is to try to stop enemies, in this case, aliens, from getting from their spawn point to the player’s power generator. Let too many enemies reach the generator and it’s game over. Defeating the foes will require the building of placements across the map, which will not only determine the Aliens’ route, but allow players to place turrets on them. The game has a straight forward tutorial to get started and from there on in, the game is incredibly easy to pick up. It starts out with the machine gun turret and employs a leveling up system that allows the unlocking of better and more powerful weapons as the player levels up.

The game rewards the player with XP at pretty much every turn and also allows the earning of XP when replaying levels. This makes for a fair way to progress through the game. Get stuck on a level? No problem, replay another level or switch to Survival mode and level up to get more of an advantage and aid progress. This style of leveling up has become a thing of the past lately, with developers and publishers preferring the ‘pay to play’ model, even when I paid for the game in the first place. It makes a refreshing change to know that once players have paid for the game, you don’t have to worry about micro-transactions in order to get the back half of the game.

Each level has a varying amount of waves of enemies to deal with. Killing an alien will be met with cash as a reward, as will completing the wave. Between each wave, the game gives the player the option to spend some of that hard-earned cash to add new turrets, or upgrade existing ones. This can, of course, also be done whilst in the middle of an advancing wave, but having the time between waves to do it allows for advance planning and strategy.

This helps with the harder levels, as they will require a lot of thought over the placement of the weapons. Before each mission starts, the player will get to pick their weapons of choice out of the selection of unlocked towers. There are also skills that can be unlocked and used. These skills are powers that operate on a cool-down timer and give the player the ability to unleash a powerful attack against the oncoming wave. These range from a missile attack to giving built towers a power boost.

Super Sanctum TD ditches the first person view of its counterpart and opts for an isometric look, similar to most games in the genre. The game also has a lovely visual design that harks back to the 16-bit era of gaming, giving it a clean and appealing look. It follows a similar theme with the audio; simple sounds and music just add to the style and quality of the game.

The game only has two modes: the campaign, where levels are unlocked and tackled one at a time, and the survival mode which allows the replay of any previously played level, just with unlimited waves. It may not sound like a lot, but the campaign is lengthy and the survival mode gives the game replay value. And seeing that the game is priced quite low, I certainly feel that there is plenty of value for money here.

Super Sanctum TD may not push the envelope when it comes to Tower Defense, and it’s safe to say that the iOS App Store is a mass with other games in the same genre. But with other games desperate to part you from your wallet, Super Sanctum TD stands out as a well made game with nothing but love for the genre baked right in.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Solid TD game play
  • No micro-transactions
  • Lengthy campaign
  • Challenging
  • Tired genre on iOS
Written by
News Editor/Reviewer, he also lends his distinct British tones to the N4G Radio Podcast. When not at his PC, he can be found either playing something with the word LEGO in it, or TROPICO!!!