Bloons TD5 Review

Let's pop some balloons!

Posted by B1ueSeptember   23rd April 2017

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Bloons TD 5

Xbox One

Ninja Kiwi has finally brought its popular balloon-popping series to consoles. Bloons TD5 (aka Bloons Tower Denfense 5) debuted on Xbox One last month with a download price of $14.99. So, is it worth the price of admission? In a word – abso-banana-lutely!

Bloons TD5 is based on a very simple mechanic – pop as many balloons as you can as quickly as you can. The entire goal is to prevent the balloons that come onto the screen from escaping. Each balloon that gets past you costs you one life, and if those lives reach zero, you lose.

The tools you have at your disposal are limited initially. As you win medals and earn ranks, more and more towers become available. Two types of weapons are available, those purchased with dungeon-specific funds or general game funds. With each dungeon you begin, you start with a set amount of money with which to build towers. You raise more money for building by popping balloons and/or setting up banana factories (bananas are the currency here). After a dungeon is complete, you then receive tokens and a cash prize. This cash can be used to level up your abilities in the Specialties section or buy permanent upgrades in the Monkey Lab (such as the all-important Double Cash). You can also buy Special Agents in a dungeon with cash, such as a banana farmer to pick up your bananas, a bee-keeper to attack enemies with his bees, or a pontoon to set towers on in water. Several are available from which to choose. Tokens are also used for permanent upgrades in the Monkey Lab.

The graphic style of the game is cartoony in a nice way with fun music attending each dungeon, making the game appropriate for players of all ages; this is a game that you can enjoy with your kids. If you get tired of the music, you have the option to turn it off in the game’s Settings or even mid-game with the Pause menu. When the game begins, it seems rather simplistic as balloons float onto the screen, but it very quickly becomes addictive as you start learning how different towers work and attempt to unlock them all in order to stem the ever-faster flow of balloons.

The game throws a large number of balloons at you that become increasingly difficult to pop. The basic balloon soon gives way to different colors, each of which contain the previous colors, so popping one can spawn two more. These numbers climb with additions such as lead balloons (which can only be popped with certain towers), ceramic balloons (require several hits to break after which they release a large number of other balloons), heart balloons, MOABs, BFBs, and finally the enormous ZOMGs. A ZOMG will burst into numerous BFBs, which breaks into multiple MOABs, which disintegrates into a plethora of ceramics, etc. You get the idea. These bloons aren’t messing around as each successive bloon is full of other bloons with the latter ones full of literally thousands of smaller ones.

The game provides an enormous amount of content. Sixty maps are available with five medals to be won for each map: Reverse (completing the map in the opposite direction), Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Impoppable, won on Easy, Medium, Hard, and Impoppable respectively (Reverse can be won on any difficulty). Impoppable is more difficult than Hard with the added challenge of giving the player only one life. Yup, that’s right – just one. The maps are divided into different ranks, as well – Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, and Extreme. As the ranks increase, the maps become smaller, the paths shorter, and balloons can enter the screen from different directions at the same time, making them successively harder. If I had one complaint about the game, it would be that the medals don’t stack. Once someone has become proficient, it would be nice not to have to earn each medal individually. For example, if I can beat a map on Hard, it would be great if that earned me the Bronze and Silver medals, as well, but the title doesn’t work like that. Each medal has to be nabbed individually (except Reverse), and that makes for a ton of extra playing. While it’s good for collecting tokens, it makes for too much repetition. Even with Fast Forward and Auto-Start to speed up rounds, getting all the medals takes a very long time,

As you play your way through the maps, your character will rank up, and earning ranks is how you unlock new towers as well as the better abilities of your towers. Each tower has two learning paths, and each learning path has a total of four abilities once unlocked. For each tower you build, you must decide which path you want to take. You can choose the first two abilities of both paths, but as soon as you choose the third ability on either path, the opposing path closes, so you can never have more than six abilities learned at a time on any particular tower. Keep in mind that towers don’t rank up unless you use them, so once you max out the rank on a tower, you’ll want to try using some others so that you can learn what they can do, too. Part of the fun is discovering just how tough some of these towers are.

It’s a large undertaking to win all the medals on all the maps, and when you do, even more content is opened. The same maps are now available to be beaten again on Mastery Mode, which provides a whole new set of medals to be won with higher rewards. Additionally, the game has several different modes in which to play – single player, local co-op, online multiplayer, Deflation mode (think Endless mode), Apopalypse mode (think Survival mode), and Sandbox. These are just the main game options. Additionally, Random and Special Missions are available. These are missions with set parameters. For example, you might have to beat the Switch map on Medium difficulty with only Ninjas, Cannons, and Bee Keepers. With 260 Random and Special Missions, a wide array of challenges awaits. The number of ways you can play is impressive.

Impressive, too, is how stable the game is. At times, the activity on the screen is so busy that one literally can’t see everything that’s happening, yet in 80+ hours of gameplay, I’ve never once had the game crash on me, which is amazing. As a reviewer, I’ve played lots of games early, and it’s a very rare treat to come across a game that is so free of bugs, glitches, and crashes.

Finally are the game’s achievements. Here, too, one has a lot of variety but a very long row to hoe, as the expression goes. To get them all will take a quite a long time. Several of the achievements require you to level up the upgrade options in Monkey Lab to their maximum level, such as Pierce, Starting Cash, etc. This doesn’t seem so bad until you discover that maximum levels can’t be reached until you’ve unlocked all the Mastery levels, and this can only be done by winning every medal on every map. Even after they’re all unlocked, you’ll have a lot more playing to do to collect enough tokens to pay for those upgrades. Additionally, there are achievements for winning all 250 Random Missions and each of the Special Missions (only ten of those). Others are earned for winning Gold and Impoppable medals, destroying a certain number of particular types of Bloons, and winning Golds in co-op play for a total of 47 achievements.

All in all, Bloons TD5 is a wonderful ride with plenty of variety, tons of content, and addictive fun for all ages. With the game’s stability, challenges, various modes, you’ll get more than your money’s worth. It’s abso-banana-lutely great!

Score: 9 out of 10

Price: $14.99 / €14.99
Release Date: March 3, 2017
Platform: Xbox One

Written by B1ueSeptember

    Administrator Stealth David 23 Apr 2017 01:17 pm

    You really put the hours into this review also just like pixel :)

      DoutorRicardo 23 Apr 2017 06:21 pm

      this game looks very cool, unfortunately it's not available to purchase in my region... gonna buy it eventually when i grab some US Gift Cards

        Administrator Stealth David 23 Apr 2017 07:23 pm

        this game looks very cool, unfortunately it's not available to purchase in my region... gonna buy it eventually when i grab some US Gift CardsDoutorRicardo

        Regional exclusive games are really dumb.

          DoutorRicardo 23 Apr 2017 08:41 pm

          this game looks very cool, unfortunately it's not available to purchase in my region... gonna buy it eventually when i grab some US Gift CardsDoutorRicardo

          Regional exclusive games are really dumb.Stealth David

          yep, even more when the rating in my region (Brazil) is free... but fortunately Xbox is region free, i still can have those games thru game code or using a valid payment options in the region i want to buy (Gift Cards or CC issued in that region)

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