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The best tower defense games for Android and iOS

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The popular tower defense game genre proved to be an unqualified success on Android-powered smartphones and tablets. In this article, you can find out just which are the best tower defense games on Android and iOS devices. 

As before, the tower defense genre (or TD for short) continues to go strong even today. It's also one of those genres that I feel having fun while playing is more important than incorporating the latest and most elaborate graphics spectacle. This means that we can still play tower defense games that are a decade old enthusiastically.

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Fortunately for us mobile gamers, many of these titles have been ported over to Android and iOS, making it on our list of the best tower defense games. You will find old luminaries in there that continue to keep us entertained a long time after they have been released.

There probably isn't any need to do a whole lot of explanation here, since the principle and game mechanics remain the same for fans of the genre. Some recommendations are not pure tower defense games, as they also contain strategy and RPG elements, which we will point them out to you. Without much further ado, let us get started!

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Grow Castle

Finally, a tower defense game that actually concerns defending a tower. You can choose from 120 different heroes that you can call upon to defend yourself. Everyone has a different skillset - while one hero can place curses on the enemy, the next hero will help drive enemies away with a company of archers.

There are rankings and a guild system, accompanied by in-app purchases as well. Apart from that, this is a fine representation of what a tower defense game should be. This title does well for itself in the Google Play ratings at 4.4 stars.

Grow Castle
You literally defend a tower, now who would have thought of that? / © RAON Games

Iron Marines

If you like the genre, you are probably familiar with the Kingdom Rush series, which we will also mention in this post. Ironhide Game Studio has now added another game into their collection with Iron Marines, presenting a very colorful TD spectacle that covers 14 campaign missions, in addition to ten special missions and an "Impossible Mode" for those who love a challenge.

You can unlock plenty of towers and heroes and of course, upgrade them to be more effective. The game is rated 4.7 stars on Google Play, and it relies on a good portion of strategy with an asking price of $2.99. Iron Marines is also included in the Google Play Pass subscription.

Unfortunately, there are in-app purchases to live with here. For instance, if you want to buy certain heroes you will have to cough up additional cash, but you can also play the game without having to dig into your pocket. 

Knightfall AR

This is a unique take in the world of TD games, since it is an augmented reality game. Do be aware that you must have an AR Core-compatible smartphone before you are able to enjoy this title. The game is then played on a flat surface using the smartphone's camera.

In this game, you are a bunch of Templars who have to defend the Holy Grail. The game is not particularly deep, but hey, it's completely free and that's something to look forward to. Basically, you enjoy a unique and fun title that offers a different perspective in this genre. 

Knightfall AR
With Knightfall AR, the battle sometimes takes place on the living room table / © A&E Television Networks Mobile

The extremely colorful "Radiant Defense"

Radiant Defense is an older game in this genre and I'm almost sure that it remains the most colorful. It is colorful in a pleasant manner, where you have nine different weapons (plus 3 "mass defense super weapons") and 14 missions  to indulge in, staving off more than 300 waves of invading alien to keep you on your toes.

The is a free game without any ads, so you can imagine just how you can progress at a faster rate - via in-app purchases! These purchases open up new tactical opportunities for you. In the later stages of the game, the difficulty level increases by leaps and bounds which will most probably require you to invest some money to keep up with the demands. The Google Play community has rated it 4.0 stars. 

Thing TD

Thing TD is more of a hybrid comprising of tower defense and RPG elements. If you feel at home with both genres, then you definitely won't go wrong here. You will have to defend yourself against demons and the undead, crushing over 50 different types of enemies in the process. It can be a cathartic experience.

Across 25 levels, you can prove your skills and fall back on eight different heroes to help you out. There are no in-game ads in this game (anymore), but there are still in-app purchases to help you out. Perhaps not the most original TD game idea, but it is definitely worth checking out with a respectable 4.1 star rating.

Thing TD
A bit old-fashioned but adorable, isn't it? / © Screenshot: NextPIT

Kingdom Defense 2

The second part of the Kingdom Defense series offers serious entertainment on the move. This free-to-play game comes with in-app purchases though, where loot boxes allow you to level up faster, but are not essential for advancement.

The game is currently plagued by a bug that prevents you from progressing beyond level 18. Until then, you can have several hours of great fun with this excellent tower defense game for Android.

Realm Defense

In this tower defense game, you unlock your heroes before training them to be better and more powerful. You can make in-game purchases in order to advance at a faster pace. Critics are particularly enthusiastic about the audio quality of this game.

You can basically have your fill of fun until level 200 thereabouts, where in-game purchases become essential in order to progress.

The perfect free tower defense game: Plants vs. Zombies 2

If there is perfection in a free-to-play game, this is it! This free tower defense game is characterized by its detailed and colorful graphics in addition to a slew of available tactical options to stem the tide of zombies.

There are also many varied environments and situations in which the player is given numerous tasks to complete, while the title itself also offers a range of mini-games to complete ala tower defense.

Here, you can call upon a wide variety of plants to help keep the zombies at bay, ranging from energy-giving sunflowers to pea cannons and carnivorous plants that protect your 5 x 9 tiles backyard. A herd of trampling zombie football players, newspaper reading grandpas, and crazy gardeners will come at you in waves, of which you have to dispose of in the most appropriate and hilarious manner.

plants vs zombies ea 02
The best tower defense games for Android: Plants vs. Zombies 2 / © EA

Tower Defense with RPG elements: Kingdom Rush

Kingdom Rush is a free tower defense game that has a lot to offer and will not only appeal to tower defense fans but also those who have a slant for RPG titles. In addition to the absolutely immersive gameplay, this game also pays homage to RPGs where you continue to level up your hero and equipping him with better equipment in order to progress.

As a result, Kingdom Rush Frontiers is often reminiscent of a classic MOBA, augmented by tower defense elements. All in all, this is a very desirable amalgamation that no fan of the tower defense genre should miss.

Tower-Defense for hardcore fans: Defense Zone 3 HD

This free tower defense game known as Defense Zone 3 for Android relies on a realistic look and “modern” military equipment in contrast to the more cartoony variations in the genre. Instead of defending your base against cute animations, tanks and anti-aircraft guns come into play here.

Not only does it look really good, but it also plays great. The many tactical possibilities and settings might overwhelm beginners at first, but those who are familiar with the genre will probably find their way around immediately and appreciate the subtlety of its mechanics.

Tower Defense for young gamers: Bloons TD 6

In most tower defense games, soldiers or knights attack wave after wave, but in Bloons TD 6, the enemies are... balloons! They don't differ too much from other attackers though, as they also have different special abilities. In order to repel the masses of balloons, the defenders (who are monkeys) must be used correctly, with special attacks dispensed in a tactical manner to keep the attackers at bay.

Since the title has numerous levels to go through, as well as the obligatory extras such as a co-op mode, different game modes, and special missions, this is one fun title that should last you for a very long time. The $4.99 price seems justifiable for the amount of gameplay in return. But of course, you are welcome to check out the gameplay before deciding whether you want to pay the full amount. 

Tower Defense for card collectors: Defenders 2: Tower Defense CCG

Defenders 2 is a hybrid between a tower defense and card-collecting genres. Here you have to collect cards in order to unlock towers, which you can then use for defense. That already indicates the freemium aspect, where you can obtain special towers by forking out more money and gain an advantage in defending them.

However, it should take dozens of hours of gameplay before you even arrive at the point where you have to spend money. The game includes 40 different towers, 20 spells, 29 bosses, and even a PvP mode thrown in for good measure. In addition, there is also a selection of challenges that make the game all the more difficult.

Retro-style tower defense: Dungeon Defense

This Dungen Defense game is reminiscent of Plants vs. Zombies: You construct your defense with various heroes located on the left side of the display, while enemies will attack from the right side of the screen. Unlike other TD games, there is more action here and the player is expected to be more involved than simply indulging in strategic building placement. 

You can collect various weapons and upgrades during the game to make the defense effort easier. There are also achievements to unlock if that is your cup of tea. Dungeon Defense is a good game by itself, especially considering how it was developed by a single developer and has a charming retro design for just $0.99.

A charming tower defense game: Swamp Attack

Swamp Attack stands out due to its colorful and detailed graphics, but the tower defense game also has a lot to offer in terms of depth in gameplay. The focus is on a “redneck” seated comfortably on his verandah, who is being attacked by a variety of crazed animals.

Among the bestiary include beavers with chainsaws, confused crocodiles, and various monsters. They are repulsed with various firearms such as machine guns, Uzis, flamethrowers, or even an atom bomb (!). Sounds crazy, but that is how it is!

Tower Defense in a cave: Digfender

As the name suggests, Digfender has a mix of tower defense and digging. Digging? Yes, that exactly what I said: at each level there is a basic map, where you have to dig out the path to escape from the attackers. Of course, this path will also need to be defended. 

The game offers over 70 levels, a survival mode in which you fight your way to the top of the leaderboard, unlockable achievements, and a variety of upgrades. Another plus point: There is no paywall or any recharging resources that prevent you from playing, allowing you to always play at your leisure. 

Tower Defense with RTS elements: Guns’n’Glory WW2

In this successful free-to-play game, Guns'n'Glory WW2 takes the popular tower defense gameplay and mixed it up with the real-time strategy genre. Instead of setting up towers or defenses, the player commands tanks to keep opponents out and ultimately, annihilate your opponents.

This combination works extremely well and provides well-known game mechanics with pleasantly dynamic gameplay. Since there are many items to unlock with numerous game modes, you are assured of long-lasting fun.

Tower Defense in a WW2 setting / © NextPit

Tower Defense with a twist: Element TD

Element TD is a classic tower defense game where your opponents run from one end of the level to the other and you place units to prevent them from doing so. It is characterized by simple graphics and easy-to-understand gameplay with a special twist. 

Hence, the gameplay mechanics and various elements give it its name. The element that you choose determines which towers you are able to place. This creates an additional level of strategic play that spices things up a little bit more. You can choose from 44 towers, 50 different villains, 30 achievements, and five levels of difficulty. It's worth taking a look, especially at an affordable $0.99 price.

element td android tower defense game element studios 01
The best tower defense games for Android: Element TD / © Element Studios

Tower Defense with massive maps: Infinitode

With Infinitode, there are no tiny men or machines that roam around the map, suffering an early pixelated death before they arrive at their destination. Rather, circles, triangles, and other shapes compete against each other here. But that's not the only special feature of the game.

What makes this game really special are the huge maps that are up to 1024 tiles in size, which are paved with countless towers to prevent these damned spheres from arriving at their destination. There are also hundreds of upgrades that can affect the game's outcome. There is no end, because the farther you advance, the greater the reward. 

Honorable Mention: The Anomaly series

With "Anomaly Korea", "Anomaly Warzone Earth" and "Anomaly 2", these are three very good tower defense games from 11 bit studios. The unique thing here is the fact that you play the role of the attacker. That means you have to adapt and upgrade your combat squad as well as different vehicle types in order to sneak past the defending towers.

Unlike in many other tower defense games, you can also change the route on some levels after deciding which defenses you have the best chance of breaching. There is also a multiplayer mode where you can begin your defense against the opponent's attacking team.

Then why do the three tower defense games only receive one Honorable Mention? This is because they haven't received an update in about four to five years. Therefore, problems do arise especially with newer Android versions and devices. In addition, the games are not free, and if such a bug only occurs after the return window has expired, that would mean incurring additional costs. Buy and download at your own risk.

That's all for our recommendations for the best tower defense games for Android! What are some of your favorites? Share them with us in the comments - and don't be afraid to tell us any TD gems even if they are older!

As usual, this list is a selection of personal favorites from the NextPIT editorial team and chart-topping titles from the Google Play Store, which will continue to be updated regularly.

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  • 1
    rustyhaidu Oct 19, 2022 Link to comment

    What is the game called, in the image with the sony tablet?

  • marychap 5
    marychap Jul 5, 2021 Link to comment

    I think that you have to pay to attention for this apps