We reclaim the cornfield in Namco's action defense title.
Of all the ridiculous concepts I've come across in mobile gaming (and I've come across more than most), the idea of taking an army of little corn pieces into battle against an insectoid army is enough to leave me thinking 'Good grief, is it really only Wednesday?'
Fortunately, and daft title and setup aside, Corn Quest won me over in fairly short order. The story is laid out in a comic strip intro which tells the tale of a peaceful field of corn that's been destroyed by what we're led to believe is an invading army of space insects. Never mind! The corn has rallied its forces together in order to see off the usurpers.
Like many tower-defense games, you get a short amount of time to place your initial units on the battlefield before the swarming waves arrive. Once that happens you'll need to continually replace any that perish from a supply of points which gradually replenishes over time.
Enemies come in different flavors, from the rather bog-standard insects that match-up evenly against your basic corn grunts, to larger, far deadlier boss units that represent a miniature battle all by themselves. Here, you'll need to focus stronger precision fire, all the while continuing to make sure that the spawning forces at the entrance points are still being taken care of. If invaders manage to grab your towering cob of corn at the other end of the map, then it's back to the drawing-board.
Placement is key, and you'll need to position your heavy-damage, but comparatively vulnerable, units carefully behind the meatier meat-shield grunts. Flamethrower units are particularly fragile but do a fantastic job of setting multiple insects ablaze with a damage-over-time effect. Sniper units deliver near-lethal blows but have a long re-load time. Engineers can be called in if you need to repair structures.
The cash-shop does rear its ugly little head which is a pity as this is a paid-for app. Your initial purchase of the game comes with a few handy little bonuses which can be topped up for more cash once they've been exhausted. There's the airstrike power-up which rains fire down upon an area of the battlefield. Scarecrows are useful for drawing enemy fire while you replenish your forces, and then there's Shuck Norris who wields a enemy-splattering chain-gun. Regretfully, there's no way of even grinding for these consumable power-ups.
If we had any other complaint about the game, it's that the music drove us absolutely bonkers after a very short amount of time, although Corn Quest compensates with a generous selection of levels, spread across some pleasantly varied environments. If you grow tired of the campaign, you can head into Survival mode which offers an endless assault, or take on the hardcore Sudden Death mode.
Corn Quest is a pleasant surprise then. With a far great focus on action and reaction, rather than deep strategizing, it's a very different take on the tower-defense genre. Disappointing though it is that consumable advantages are available for cash when you've already bought the game outright, it's still fun enough to play without them.
What's Hot: A fast-paced tower-defense title with some fun units, broad selection of levels, and great artwork.
What's Not: Consumable cash purchases on top of a paid-for game. The music grates rather quickly.