Kingdom Rush (2011) and its sequel Kingdom Rush Frontiers (2013) are a pair of Tower Defense games developed by Ironhide Studios and set in a fantasy world, where you play as the general trying to stop the evil lich Vez'nan from taking over the world. It involves placing towers in allocated positions along set paths. There are four towers-Barracks, Artillery, Archers, Mages, each with their own disadvantages and advantages. Each tower has 3 upgrade levels, improvements in the tech tree, and two branching 4th upgrade levels—you choose one or the other. Better explained:
Archers typically form the backbone of the player's damage dealing forces, with a high fire rate and good damage, as well as upgrades in the tech tree allowing them to pierce armor. They are also capable of attacking flying foes at any upgrade level. Generally, the tower with the highest numbers on the field (though not necessarily a majority) is the archer tower. Their Level 4 options are the Ranger Hideout (which focuses on Damage Over Time, controlling foes with vines, etc. and high fire rates but low damage with individual shots) and the Musketeer Garrison (which focuses on precision shots which is hard hitting but have lower rate of fire, as well as some AOE abilities).
The level 4 options in Frontiers are the Crossbow Fort, (painful rapid-fire ability as well as granting other towers a passive range extension/critical hit chance) and the Axethrowers (totems that provide a Damage-Increasing Debuff and an Anti-Magic totem)
The level 4 options in Frontiers are the Assassins' Guild (focuses on damage, evasion and gold-stealing) and The Knights Templar, who have high health and armor like paladins, but attack with bleeding strikes that deal damage over time. They're also big shout outs to a certain stealth/action franchise.
Mages generally have the strongest individual attacks, and their primary role is to take out armored enemies. Their rates of fire are generally very slow, and they are thus best used when combined with Barracks troops to slow foes down. At higher upgrade levels, they can kill many foes in one hit, though many enemies later on have special magic resistance to counterbalance this. Their Level 4 options are the Arcane Wizard (which can teleport foes backwards on the map and have a Death Ray that instantly kills any foe hit with it) and the Sorcerer Mage (which focuses on Standard Status Effects and summons elementals to help with the melee fighting, as well as being able to cast a Baleful Polymorph.)
The level 4 options in Frontiers are the Archmage tower (charges up homing magic bolts that can explode, as well as using a tornado that forces foes backwards) and the Necromancer (turns dead enemies into meat shield skeletons, also causes a poison AOE and summon a skeletal rider into battle)
Artillery is the main Area of Effect tower. It deals very large amounts of damage to very large amounts of enemies and Splash Damage at the cost of fire rate, which is the slowest in the game. They are most effective when combined with Barracks which cluster the foes and allow the maximum number of enemies to be hit as possible. Their Level 4 options are the Big Bertha (hulking towers with a very powerful but very slow-to-reload bomb and who's abilities include a cluster bomb to strike many opponents and a heat-seaking missile that never misses) and the Tesla X104 (which can strike flying units but is weaker than the Big Bertha, and who's abilities include an overcharge that strikes all nearby enemies and a chain lightning attack that can also strike multiple enemies).
In addition, there are two "special abilities" that can be called upon: the Rain of Fire (which rains meteors down from the sky) and Reinforcements (which summons two villagers as militia to fight off intruders).The game's free to play and can be found here! The original and the sequel are also available on the iPad for $0.99 each.
Kingdom Rush includes examples of:
Action Bomb: Demonic foes will explode on death, doing big damage to any Barrack units near it. Rotshrooms and Myconid will explode into poisonous spores that deal damage over time.
Airborne Mook: The Gargoyles, Demon Imps, Rocket Riders and Black Hags. All four will fly over your Barracks defences and cannot be targeted by artillery (although splash damage still hits), making them dangerous foes. Gulaemons are a partial example- they can fly over a small group of soldiers for a short while.
Anti-Air: At the start of the game, only Mages and Archers can tackle flying enemies, as Artillery and Barracks are defenceless against them. However, the Barracks upgrade to Barbarians allows them to both attack and hinder flying foes, whilst the Artillery gains the Tesla X104, which can attack flying foes, and the Big Bertha, which has a heat seeking missile ability to target the flying foes.
Area of Effect: The Artillery make a living off this. Musketeers also have an upgrade that allows them to fire a cluster of shots at an enemy and all its surrounding buddies. The Player-controlled Rain of Fire spell also has this.
Asteroids Monster: Myconid doesn't have much health, but he splits into 25 rotshrooms upon defeat. If you're relying on Mage towers to kill him, you'll be in for a rude awakening unless you have Splash Damage or Rain of Fire ready.
Black Knight: Highly armored foes, ironically introduced exactly when the Paladins are.
Came Back Wrong: Every time one of your human soldiers dies in the Rotten Forest or Fungal Forest, a Husk forms from the green pool of slime. Every time an Earth Golem is killed, a Swamp Thing is formed from the pool.
Contractual Boss Immunity: All bosses are immune to upgrades such as Wrath of the Forest, Teleportation, Polymorph, Death Ray, and Sniper Shot. They could be immune to all non-damaging abilities.
Cool Gate: The summoning circles in Vez'nan's Dark Tower which allow enemies to bypass some of your defences.
Critical Hit: Archers have a universal upgrade that leads to a chance for this.
Damage-Sponge Boss: Sarelgaz. Aside from summoning her children, she has no special tricks, not even an area attack. She does however have lots, lots, lots of health.
Death Ray: The Arcane Wizards have this, complete with the enemy crumbling into ashes.
Dem Bones: One of the possible enemies. They are either summoned by necromancers, or pop out of the graveyard every time a humanoid foe dies. Elite Mooks will produce Skeleton Knights instead of regular ones.
Dungeon Bypass: Some enemies have this ability, sometimes, there are also tunnels the enemies can use to bypass your defenses and allowing them to appear further in. High level mages also can be upgraded with the ability to do the reverse.
Enemy Summoner: The Necromancers, whilst supposedly raising the dead, are able to summon skeletons from any place, even where there should logically be no dead, so they are little more than this. The Juggernaut fires Golem Heads to distract your towers from him. Spider Matriarchs can lay eggs that spawn three Spiderlings, who are lightning fast and are a considerable threat.
Myconid is also one compared to other bosses, with only 4000 HP compared to at least 6000 HP, like other bosses. He also does less damage compared to others. (150-350, comparable to the GiantMooks.) However, he moves very, very fast for a boss and regularly spawns flunkies with a quite a good bit of health.
Giant Mook: Ogres, Marauders, Spider Matriachs, Troll Chieftains, Yetis, Dark Slayers, Demon Lords, Magma Elementals, Sons Of Sarelgaz, Forest Trolls, Tainted Treants, Swamp Things, Pillagers, Troll Breakers, Gulaemons, and Cerberus.
Giant Spider: There are normal ones, fast but weak spiderlings, and then there's the Matriach who have the ability to create spiderlings. And of course, we have the boss Sarelgaz who's even more massive. Also, we have her sons, which are Nigh Invulnerable. Don't forget about the Noxious Creepers, which are Spider Matriarchs with even more health, that spawn mutant hatchlings, which are tougher spiderlings.
Bandits, as early game enemies. They have about as much health as a orc and wear no armor, but their attack does 4-5 times the damage of an orc. Needless to say, upgrade your barracks or these nasties will tear through them.
Vez'nan's first form. 6666 hp compared to at least 10000 for other bosses, but his attack does at least 666 damage and kills all soldiers except Earth Elementals in one hit.
Holy Hand Grenade: The Paladins' Smite ability upgrade gives them a chance to do holy damage on their attacks, in an area.
Improbable Weapon User: Most enemies use swords, axes, spears, tridents, or clubs. Except for the Forest Trolls, Troll Breakers, Troll Pathfinders, and Troll Chieftains. They use a freaking TREE, a log, a sled, and a drumstick, respectively.
King Mook: Most of the bosses, particularly the ones that are found in bonus campaigns. Your own Heroes tend towards being based off the 6 upgrade paths (4 towers, reinforcements and rain of fire) as well.
Sir Gerald is the "Barracks" hero, and works well with your other troops in a defensive line, and despite his lower hp for a melee hero, is very tough thanks to his skills and high armor.
Alleria is the "Archer" hero, and is extremely effective at DPS, much like most archer towers and can take down enemy air units.
Bolin is the "Artillery" hero, with powerful area abilities that let him take care of large crowds and can slow (and thus crowd up) enemies for Artillery pounding.
Magnus is the "Mage" hero, with powerful abilities to delay and harm enemies as well as a fair ammount of raw damage from his own attacks.
Malik is the "Reinforcements" hero, like reinforcements, he's best used to add extra muscle to your forces and deal with large crowds.
Ignus is the "Rain of Fire" hero, like rain of fire, he's absolutely devastating on concentrated groups and can be sent in wherever you need extra firepower.
One-Hit Kill: J.T and Sarelgaz can devour your soldiers, Vez'nan can turn them to dust with a spell, Moloch can crush them with a headbutt, and Black Hags turn them into toads. On your side, the Arcane Wizards have a Death Ray that does this, the Musketeer tower's Sniper Shot skill has a chance of doing this, and Hacksaw's Tiiiimber! instakills a mook (and prevents revival against Fallen Knights).
Our Zombies Are Different: Husks in the rotten forest. "Fallen warriors, their bodies claimed by the forest. They are now only husks of their former selves." Every time one of your soldiers dies, these are formed from the pool of green slime.
Savage Wolves: Wulves, which are fast but weak units that can evade melee attacks, Worgs, which are tougher, magic-resistant wulves, and Winter Wolves, which are even tougher. Then we have Demon Hounds, which are not only as tough as Winter Wolves, but they explode on death too! Taken Up to Eleven with the Cerberus, a giant three-headed hound, with a lot of health (compared to other Giant Mooks), high physical armour, and runs fast.
Shout-Out: Most of the game's non-informative writing.
Splash Damage: The Artillery attack allows for this, and so it's primary advantage over other towers is its ability to wipe out Zerg Rushes
Stone Wall: The role of the Barracks troops in general, but this especially applies to the Holy Order's paladins, who have the highest armor available for the player's side and have access to even more damage resilience upgrades as well as healing spells to stay alive.
Dark Is Not Evil: The necromancers are now on your side, and are an upgrade to the mage tower.
Dem Bones: The Necromancers (who are on your side now) can summon skeletons from dead bodies. An upgrade allows them to summon a Death Rider - a skeletal knight on a horse with an aura that buffs nearby skeletons.
Furthermore, these skeletons can get facehugged by Parasytes, but will not hatch into Reapers when they die from it (essentially, they make a meat (bone?) shield against Parasyte swarms).
Dungeon Bypass: There are of course the same caves as found in the first game. One noticable other example is your first encounter with an Executioner in the level Buccaneer's Den. Instead of comming down one of the two already established paths, he cuts a lane through the swath of forest at the eastern path, adding another path for enemies.
Evil Is Not a Toy: After summoning Umbra, the force of the crystal explosion knocks Malagar to the edge of a cliff. He pleads for Umbra to save him... and Umbra just zaps Lord Malagar off.
Expy: Several of the Mooks in are equivalents to those in the first game.
Desert Thugs and Dune Raiders to Goblins and Orcs/Bandits and Brigands.
Sand Hound and War Hound - Wulf and Worg
Immortal - Marauder
Fallen - Skeleton
Desert Archer - Shadow Archer
Giant Wasp - Gargoyle
Sand Wraith - Necromancer (plus Shaman)
Executioner - Ogre
Witch Doctor - Shaman
Jungle Matriarch - Spider Matriarch
Gorillon - Yeti
Face Hugger/Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Parasytes in Frontiers, fast-moving critters that hatch from pods that resemble xenomorph eggs. These will latch onto the faces of barracks soldiers and slowly drain their health- when the soldier dies, they burst into deadly insectoid aliens called Reapers. Get them off your soldiers before they suffer such a fate.
Fake Difficulty: Nazeru the Red Efreet. He can summon three lesser efreets right in front of your exit, where you don't have anybody to guard as the rally point is too far. You'll need reinforcements and your hero to stop them, and a Rain of Fire to take care of this- if he does it again, you're screwed.
Giant Spider: The spiders and Matriarchs are back, and their Jungle counterparts are even stronger than the Forest versions.
The Goomba: Desert Thugs, although they are stronger than the first game's goblins.
Heavily Armored Mook: Dune Raiders, Immortals, Giant Scorpions. The Earth Shamans provide heavy armor to all savages around them. The Rising Tides update gives us Bloodshells, which are souped-up Dark Slayers that are also immune to artillery.
Humongous Mecha: The Battle-Mecha upgrade for the Artillery. It can't be damaged, and rains bombs, missiles and oil (slows foes) on hapless targets.
Hungry Jungle: The jungle area. The plants eat you, the savages eat you, the giant spiders return, and there are facehuggers too.
Immune to Bullets: Ghosts and Phantom Warriors are immune to non-magical attacks by virtue of being ghosts.
Instant Death Radius: Vasile's second phase has a rapid life-draining aura that makes short work of units and heroes alike.
Invisible Monsters: At half their health, Saurian Nightscales will stealth cloak and become invisible to your towers. They can still be hit by Splash Damage, though, and Furnace Blast is a great way to burn a whole bunch of them.
Lightning Bruiser: Unlike most bosses who tend to be unarmored and quite slow, Xyzzy is fast, has a Medium amount of armor, and sports a One-Hit Kill where he eats your soldiers and a painful AOE hammer attack that hits 8 times and even targets flying heroes.
Long-Range Fighter: Saurian Deathcoils in the Darklight Depths fire very painful crossbow bolts with a range of nearly half the map. They suck at close-range fighting, though, so reinforcements can temporarily draw their attention for a while.
Man-Eating Plant: Snapvines along Snapvine Bridge. These will devour both ally and enemy alike, should they get too close. You can get an achievement for letting the plants eat 50 people (ally or enemy).
Sand Worm: Dune Terrors in Frontiers. They are immune to damage when burrowed underground, and move very quickly. Use some barracks troops to lure them out.
There's also the giant sand worm in the Dunes of Despair that eats a good number of your troops (or even your hero) should you fail to heed the Worm Sign. You get an achievement for not letting the worm eat any of your units. In the Heroic and Iron Challenges, you can see its huge carcass.
Savage Wolves: Sand Hounds and War Hounds are pretty much Wulves and Worgs with a different name.
Scary Scorpions: Giant ones in Frontiers. These can poison your troops, and have heavy armor.
Schizo Tech: How could these saurians have possibly acquired plasma guns and energy whips?
Shout-Out: The Parasyte and Reaper are obvious ones to Alien, in terms of how they breed. The Parasyte looks very similar to a headcrab. The Reaper's description also makes a reference to Alien vs. Predator.
Also, Ghouls in the Shadowmoon campaign eat troops after killing them, regenerating their health. Lampshades by the "OM NOM NOM" sound clip that plays when they do this.
Ashbite can also do this with his Feast skill, though it's often used on Giant Mooks, which, barring Executioners, aren't human. Usually.
Xyzzy does this when encountering your troops, using his chameleon-like tongue.
Turns Red: When a Poukai Rider's rider is killed, the bird flies faster and rushes towards the exit.
Saurian Broodguards become faster as they lose health, because "their wounds fuel their combat rage". Saurian Nightscales use an Invisibility Cloak when they drop to half their health.
Turtle Power: Blacksurges in the Rising Tides mini-campaign. These are nasty enemies that can temporarily disable your towers, as well as get into an invulnerable defensive stance where they regenerate health rapidly. Using barracks is a must.