We check out the upcoming PSP Mini title based on the popular tower defense game from developer Subatomic Studios.
Fieldrunners is a popular tower defense game that should be familiar to iPhone and iPod Touch users. The game was released in 2008 to critical and commercial success on Apple’s platform. Your goal is to stamp out waves of enemies before they make it across a themed battlefield map and escape. The game was recently announced as one of the first wave of upcoming PSP Minis–modest-sized downloadable games for the PSP–which are expected to hit at the PSP Go launch on October 1. We had a chance to get some hands-on time with a work-in-progress version of the game at Sony’s recent PSP press event, and it’s looking good.
Who’s Making This Game: Subatomic Studios, which was responsible for the original game.
What The Game Looks Like: Fieldrunners has a cartoony look to it that’s bright and colorful. It’s a little tough to appreciate the visuals if the view is zoomed out too far, but when you bring the camera in close, the crisp 2D art shines. For those who have played the game on the iPhone or iPod Touch, the visuals in the PSP Mini version may offer a surprise, because the graphics have gotten a detailed face-lift and look sharp.
What There Is To Do: Your goal is to stop enemies from making it across one of three maps: grasslands, drylands, and crossroads. The work-in-progress game we tried featured the two modes from the previous versions, regular and endless. In addition, Sony reps noted that they are working with Subatomic Studios to see about some new content, such as maps and towers.
How The Game Is Played: While the original Fieldrunners relied exclusively on the iPhone and iPod Touch’s touch-screen functionality, the PSP Mini version of the game maps actions to the buttons, D pad, and analog stick. You’ll use the D pad to move your onscreen cursor around the playfield grids. The analog stick will let you zoom your view in and out. The Select button pauses the action, while the X button lets you place and upgrade towers. The left and right shoulder buttons let you cycle between the six different tower types. The key to success is laying out a good mix of towers, which have different strengths and weaknesses.
What They Say: Sony reps on hand noted that the Fieldrunners conversion to the PSP is a good fit for the platform and should be a good showcase for what’s possible in a Mini title.
What We Say: Fieldrunners is a fun game on the iPod Touch and iPhone, so we’re happy to see it wind up on the PSP looking good and playing well. The only loose end for the game is price. The original game is currently 2.99 on iTunes, but there’s no official word on how much it’s going to cost on the PSP. Hopefully it will end up costing about the same when it launches this October.