Raise the bridges and reinforce the barricades, it’s time to check out the best Tower Defense games of all time!
Tower defense games are a perfect way to test your mind with some intense strategic battles.
It’s all about planning ahead of time, getting any units prepared, and placing them in the absolute best positions to counter advancing adversaries.
But that’s not all, there’s usually an economy to think about too, making your life that bit harder.
Due to games of this ilk not exactly being expansive in nature, especially when it comes to any possible world building, there are a lot out there.
So, with this being said, it can be somewhat tricky to wade through the masses to find the best tower defense games.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of 5 so you can pick one, or even a couple, to get a feel for the genre.
SteamWorld Tower Defense is actually the only console exclusive best Tower Defense game to make it into our top picks.
While you might think we’re talking about a home console release such as on the Xbox or PlayStation, it in fact launched on the Nintendo DSi.
It boasts the usual tower defense mechanics with unit placements and enemies following an assigned path, but that doesn’t mean the game isn’t challenging.
In fact, the developers have previously stated that it was the hardest game they have ever made which is perfect for those who are looking for a bit of a brain teaser.
In terms of gameplay, it works very nice over the two screens of the DSi.
You can see the upcoming enemies on the top screen and control your units via the touch screen.
Moreover, contrary to some other tower defense titles, instead of your units being solely automatic, you can tap the screen to fire at will making for some great interactivity.
If you’re looking for an interesting aesthetic and tight mechanics, SteamWorld Tower Defense could be worth a deeper look into.
With its intriguing combination of towers and elements, Element TD 2 comes in at number 9 on our best Tower Defense games list.
Contrary to other titles to make the roundup, the Element TD actually started out as a mod for games like WarCraft 3 and StarCraft 2.
Since then, it evolved into this game that we have today, building on all the features that were initially created.
At its core, Element TD 2 is everything that Tower Defense games are about – simplistic in nature, but challenging.
In this one though, the slight twist on the formula is that you’ll be utilizing 6 elements that combine to create 59 unique towers.
This makes for levels that keep you on your toes, especially since you’ll need to remember each of the tower’s strengths.
The graphics in this one really pop too, neatly wrapping it up as a pretty complete package.
Bloons TD is a franchise that’s been around for some time so the developers know a thing or two about the tower defense genre. We’ll talk more about another best Tower Defense game from the franchise later, but up first is Bloons Adventure Time TD.
A lot of game tie-ins with movies or TV shows fall a bit flat but this one just oozes fun, perfectly matching the same vibe from the series.
You’ll be able to play through 50 maps over 15 adventures, recruiting a bunch of different characters from both Adventure Time and the Bloons franchises.
Graphically it’s pretty stellar with bright colors and engaging visuals that should keep you concentrating for hours on end.
As for the gameplay, there’s no huge change-ups to the Bloons formula, just more of what it does best combined with a bit of Adventure Time to make for a crossover worth your time.
Releasing in 2020, Kingdom Rush Vengeance is the third, and best installment in our eyes, of the franchise.
Building on the previous entries, you’ll have 20 new towers that you can deploy in your defenses with each having its own unique abilities and special powers.
Not only this, but you’ll also have the chance to use 15 different Heroes, leveling them as you play, enhancing their abilities to make them even more powerful.
In our opinion, Kingdom Rush Vengeance, while being the best Kingdom Rush title gameplay-wise, it’s also on top graphically.
With its 2D/3D isometric looks paired with its aesthetically pleasing art style, its not just ‘another tower defense game’, it has a bit of life to it.
If you’ve played a Kingdom Rush game before, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t play this installment. And if not, even though it’s the third one, it’s a fantastic jumping in point.
There are a bunch of Gemcraft titles, but Gemcraft Frostborn Wrath makes it as our top selection in the series, and onto this best Tower Defense games roundup.
It utilizes the more simplistic top down view compared to other tower defense games, but this doesn’t detract one bit from the intense and engaging gameplay.
There are over 100 different fields of battle to take part in combined with a plethora of different conditions to keep you on your toes, making no fight the same.
Of course, Gems are a huge part of the gameplay, and need to be used strategically to aid you in the heat of battle.
There are a total of six Gems to craft and use in this iteration of the game, in conjunction with a dozen skills that you can unlock on the way, coming together to make for some really diverse tower defense strategies.
Graphically you’re not going to be wowed, but tower defense games aren’t known for their visuals in the main anyway, so Frostborn Wrath isn’t an outlier in this regard.
If you end up completing all the levels available, there’s an additional Endurance mode, allowing you to play endlessly, if you’re up for the challenge that is.
Dungeon Defenders is one of the oldest best Tower Defense games in our picks, but it definitely hasn’t lost its charm.
In this third person, more action-RPG take on the genre, you’ll be able to take control of one of four classes in order to fight back the hordes coming for your lands.
You’ll be using your wit alongside a plethora of defensive units to successfully push back those advances.
While tower defense is its core, the RPG elements really shine through.
With customization and leveling for your characters, as well as forging equipment, gathering loot, collecting pets and more, there’s a bunch to explore.
It is four player co-op too, allowing you to dive in with your friends in some tower defense action.
Next up in our list of the best Tower Defense games of all time is Clash Royale, a game that has been around for a while now, releasing way back in 2016.
It offers the chance to build a deck of units to deploy when the time is right, directly against your opposition.
To play these cards and deploy units though, you’ll have to manage your economy well as they cost each time.
This almost makes it like a tower defense Hearthstone hybrid that is both seriously fun and challenging at the same time.
This doesn’t make it a pure blood tower defense game, but there are enough elements there that line up with others within the genre for it to slot right in at number 4.
Whether you play it solo or in 2 player co-op, Orcs Must Die! 3 is an experience you can’t miss out on if you think about Tower Defense games every time you walk up a set of stairs.
Drawing a few comparisons to the aforementioned Dungeon Defenders with its third person look, the third installment of the Orcs Must Die! series builds on its predecessors to become the best of the lot.
You have a plethora of traps and weapons at your disposal to counter the horde of incoming orcs, allowing you to come up with creative and complex solutions.
Additionally, this iteration has a new feature called War Scenarios which offer even more larger scale battles if you really want to up the brain teasing element.
While there’s a story mode with individual levels, there’s also an endless mode that never stops, keeping you entertained forever, if you can survive that is.
If you haven’t heard of the Plants vs Zombies franchise before, you’re in for a right treat.
And also, where have you been living since 2009?
Taking second in our best tower defense games picks is the first entry of the series, as we believe this is the top title in all that has been released under this umbrella.
The premise is that zombies are invading your home and you need to push them back with your arsenal of plant weaponry.
Its simplistic look and feel is a massive part of its charm, with a simple five lane system that can be enjoyed by even a tower defense rookie.
There are 50 levels to feast on in the main ‘story’ taking place in a few different locations to keep you on your toes.
That’s not all though. There are also five different game modes, even including mini games, so if you finish up the initial levels, the fun doesn’t stop.
Overall, the original Plants vs. Zombies is a true tower defense classic and one you should definitely pick up if you haven’t already.
The results are in, the the final bullets have been fired, and Bloons TD 6 has officially been crowned the best Tower Defense game of all time!
First released in 2018 for Windows, iOS, and Android, it became a quick favorite among fans of the genre with its fun and vibrant aesthetic, catering to a variety of ages.
It then got a subsequent release on Steam in 2020, breathing new life into the game, bringing in even more tower defense lovers.
The game itself, even with its cute looks, is very in-depth with its mechanics, requiring you to really think about your unit placements.
When you make your way through the levels and up to the later stages, this is especially true with bosses requiring some serious thought.
There’ll be many a time where you’ll need to restart these levels, requiring you to get almost perfect strategy in order to take them down. If this isn’t a testament to its depth, we don’t know what is.
And that wraps up our best tower defense games list. You should have been able to find at least one game of this genre that either you haven’t played before, or completely forgot that it was on your backlog to get around to.
Regardless of which takes your fancy, you’ll definitely have fun with these strategic affairs!
And if you’re looking for even more strategy, why not check out our selections for the best Total War games!
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Jacob has been an avid handheld enthusiast ever since the original Game Boy was placed in his hand at an early age. From that point, he’s become engrossed in all aspects of gaming, owning most consoles that have been released, and enjoying titles from a wide variety of genres. When he is not playing the latest game releases, he’s spending far too much money modding retro systems.