Bloons never die

They just recycle and attack again

Spoiler alert! Bloons looks deceptively easy. Place a few weapons, blow up some balloons. No contest. Until every balloon in the world comes swarming your way and suddenly you’re dead a hundred times over. You can excuse your purchase by saying it’s for your kids. But you can still play when they go to bed. It’s your iPad after all.
If it isn’t, you have way too much disposable income.


I first tried Bloons Tower Defense 4, before it was Bloons Tower Defense 4 and it was still Bloons, because I read a description comparing it to Plants vs. Zombies for kids. Having played it, I can see why the writer made the comparison, but the comparison isn’t fair to Bloons.

Plants vs. Zombies is far easier to win. Sooner or later, you kill all the zombies and move on to the next level. The bloons never stop coming. Ever. They pound away at you until you’re dead. If you’re lucky, you killed enough of them to win a medal. If not, you’re SOL.

Unless, you spend an extra buck and unlock the special upgrades. One of those special upgrades is the Healthy Banana Farm. For every banana farm you plant (and enhance) you get additional lives. If you can earn enough lives you might stave off disaster long enough to win a gold medal in the tougher rounds.

The healthy banana farm bestows additional lives every round (depending on how many farms you plant and upgrade). Extra lives help stave off disaster longer.

You can also earn the upgrade for free with 15 gold medals, but I doubt you can earn 15 gold medals without it. It’s kind of a Catch-22, and since a dollar is pretty cheap you might as well spring for the super upgrades. Unless you’re a purist/masochist who must do everything the hard way.

Bloons does resemble Plants vs. Zombies in one respect. You have to lay out the defenses you think will stop the balloons before they overwhelm you. You have a variety of defenses to choose from and where you place them is as important as the weapons you choose. Past that, the games are nothing alike. Both are awesome games, and I’m glad I can keep both.

But if you do have to choose, Bloons is cheaper.

Your weapons range from blade flinging monkeys to cannons, mortars, planes and even flying super monkeys. Different weapons take on different bloons.

When you first play you are offered a handful of battlegrounds to defend. In the easiest battlefields, the bloons enter from one side of the screen and exit at another. This makes it easier to place your defenses, especially when the exit is close to the point of entry. Your defenses fire across a 360 degree radius so they can take bloons coming or going. As the courses get more sophisticated, the bloons enter and exit from multiple routes.

As your skills improve you unlock more and more battlefields to test them. You can play in several different modes, including apocalypse mode and deflation mode which limits avaiable funds. Each mode can be played at different levels of difficulty.

Nor are these your ordinary balloons, although you might think so at first. As the rounds progress, bloons get thicker skins, multiple layers of skins, hard shells and even cluster into zeppelins with titanium skins. Destroy the first bloom and it breaks into a cluster of smaller bloons. Destroy the next wave and they break into smaller, but still deadly clusters.

Each time a bloon makes it off the battlefield you lose a life, and sooner or later you run out of lives. Once that happens, it’s game over. To help protect your lives you can upgrade each weapon. For instance, the boomerang throwing monkey can be upgraded to take out multiple bloons and even shoot laser beams. The flying super monkey can be upgraded to an Aztec sun god.

Each bloon killed earns money to buy and upgrade more weapons. If you can survive long enough, you can earn a medal based on the difficulty of the round. Each medal unlocks a new battlefield. Increasing the difficulty makes weapons more expensive and reduces the number of available lives.

What sells you is the action. You can play with pauses between rounds, or, if you’re adventurous enough, play with no pauses at all. And once the bloons mass to attack, the game gets loud and explosive. You might have two dozen weapons shooting at hundreds of different bloons. And sooner or later the game will unleash a bloon you’re totally unprepared for.

Once the action gets going, the frenetic action on the screen could send your brain into sensory overload. You could experience hundreds of explosions at once. Or you can unleash the monkey storm and have a dozen monkeys wipe away everything at once.

Everything goes quickly and then it’s over just like that. And if you’re prone to seizures, avoid Bloons at all cost because all that flickering light could push your brain into sensory overload.

You don’t have to settle for a medal. Once you earn your award you can keep playing until it feels like you were the last guy at the Alamo being tromped on by 2000 of Santa Ana’s elite storm troops. But going out in that last wave of glory, as your lives remaining count down from 600 to 0 in two seconds, is a total rush.

In fact, continuing to free play past the medal is the only way to move up in the game rankings, which are based on total balloons slaughtered. The number of balloons required to move up a rank seem to double so that by the time you reach level 75 you need to blow up almost 10 million balloons (a leap from 4 million to get from level 74 to 75). There is no way you can burst all those balloons earning gold medals.

The sound effects are pretty good, especially with headphones, until the MOABs (mothers of all balloons) show up and you have three hundred explosions going at once. Then the sound is reduced to an annoying constant repetition of clicks that remind me of the old, old Atari games. If they would do away with balloon popping sounds, you might be able to hear the explosions again.

The graphics are delightful and the color palette delicious. This game really is perfect for kids, because nothing really dies, only balloons. They can burn off all the speed that flows naturally through childrens’ blood, and experience more violence than any childrens’ cartoon. And, unlike many games, it never seems to crash. How can you not love it?

Jenny Manytoes rates Bloons TD 4

Jenny Manytoes would make biscuits all over Bloons. It’s like chasing two hundred mice in two hundred directions at once. And if you spring the extra dollar for the super upgrades, I think it’s a Best Buy.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat

  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.
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About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 5 Stars + Best Buy, Arcade Games, Entertainment, Games, Strategy Games and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Bloons never die

  1. I looked for this game under baloons, and baloons tower defence with a 4 and without. could not find it or any thing that remotely sounded like it.

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