If you'd told me this morning that I'd be getting excited about yet another game featuring zombies, werewolves or vampires on my iPad, I would certainly have raised a suspicious eyebrow. The good news is that Vampire Season is a thoroughly likeable tale of the undead that manages the unlikely feat of both standing out in the genre and being really rather charming in the process.
This top-down 3D title challenges you with protecting Dracula across a lengthy campaign, while an assortment of do-gooding vampire hunters spawn around the maps and head towards the coffin. Using a dual currency system of 'Style' and 'Fear', slowly accrued during gameplay, you need to summon in the right balance of allies to take on the threat at hand.
There's an almost League of Legends feel to the game, as Vampire Season eschews the more traditional static defenses of the tower-defense genre in favour of roaming units which chew and chomp their way through the incoming swarms of enemies.
There are thirty levels spread across three themed chapters, and throughout the campaign you'll be introduced to a pretty wild cast of units and enemies. If you'd rather dive into something a little more free-flowing, Survival mode lets you create a load-out of six ally types to take into battle.
Werewolves are slow but have a howl which boosts the damage output of other friendly units. The Imp provides some much-needed ranged support, while the Warlock can both attack from range and slow distant enemies, helping to stave off the assault while you deal with more immediate problems. All of these have different summoning costs, so picking the most economical tool for the job at hand is all part of the strategy.
As well as choosing allies you also get to choose from a selection of items that can be used only occasionally during each mission. These range from colas that provide a bonus to unit attack power, a 'Nuck Chorris Survival Guide' which confers invincibility for a few seconds, and even a disco ball which forces enemies to dance for a little while. In case you haven't guessed already, this is a game that doesn't believe in taking itself too seriously, and it makes for some welcome light relief in the genre.
Do make sure you stick around for the tutorial at the beginning. You may think you can move forward through each speech frame by tapping the screen, but it actually exits you from the tutorial immediately and throws you straight into the game where absolute confusion inevitably awaits.
There's an awful lot to like about Vampire Season: it's a beautifully drawn game, there's great variety in the cast of characters, and this is a game that knows better than to take itself too seriously. We did occasionally get annoyed with the rather out-of-control camera which can zoom into the action when you really don't want it too, but apart from that this is a very refreshing take on an increasingly stale genre.
Review code provided by 6waves Lolapps.
What's Hot: A refreshing change of pace from the usual defense games, and the humor is spot-on.
What's Not: The camera can have a mind of its own.