Kingdom Rush Origins is the latest installment in the tower defence saga from Ironhide games. The previous installments Kingdom Rush and Kingdom Rush Frontiers were both great examples of high quality iOS gaming.

You can pop all the balloons you like, but for me, the original Kingdom Rush currently wears the envious crown of best tower defence game on any platform. I’d thought Frontiers was fun, but felt like a big DLC, rather than a game in it’s own right. So how does Kingdom Rush Origins measure up?

Kingdom Rush Origins Review: If you haven’t played Kingdom Rush before, or, by the gods, a tower defence/tower defense game, then you’re found a great place to start. My best advice is this: Go play the original Kingdom Rush. Then come back and we’ll pick up after you’ve survived the first rush *groan*.

Series Homogeny

The reason I say this is that I think the original is still the best. Of course, the Kingdom Rush Origins graphics are better, the towers are more diverse and enemies have gone and found even more infuriating ways to rush past. It happened in Frontiers, it happened again in Origins. Thing is, these stand alone games suffer from series homogeny. There isn’t sufficient difference between the games to warrant an outstanding review.

Game Mechanics

I have to admit it. I’m a huge tower defence fan. Kingdom Rush. Don’t Touch My Gems. Bloons. If there’s a genre perfect for touchscreen gaming, then tower defence is it. Place the towers, level them up and stem the flow of bad guys.

There’s a lovely deep world of tactics and mechanics beneath the cutesy layer of Kingdom Rush Origins that starts to emerge later into the game. Once you grind to a halt against those boomshrooms and have to shift tactics. That’s when it kicks in. That geeky energy that keeps you restarting the level, just to correct that one mistake. To prioritise AoE, or slow effects, or whatever it is that’ll scrape you through. If you’re nodding as you read this, then we’re in the same boat.

Heroes add a bit of spice and correct choice can seriously affect the game outcome. Pick well and pick clever. Oh, and level them all up, of course… not just the Fireball guy 😉

Gnolls, Drow and Spiders (oh my)

A big draw of the series and particularly Frontiers and Kingdom Rush Origins is the new baddies and the new towers. I’m not going to ruin it for you on here. Part of the fun is finding out and panicking as the sudden appearance of a new enemy throws your plan into disarray.

The new theme, that of Origins, is carefully played out through the maps, characters, heroes and bad guys. You have a bounty of ancient earth and elf magic to draw on and the variety that Ironhide have developed within this setting is really special. Druids, elves, ents and all sorts are on show. As mentioned, I won’t ruin it by explaining it all in this review. That would be damaging the fundamental rush *groan* of playing Kingdom Rush Origins.

The PayWall

One downside for the Kingdom Rush origins is in their in-app purchases. As the game opens up, you have three heroes to deploy in the field. There are six others (and more to come) and they are firmly behind a perma-paywall. I’m not a big in-app purchase fan and it doesn’t sit well with me that I’m being asked to pay up to have a minor addition to my arsenal. If I was made of money, then hey, I might open up those heroes. But I’m not.

There is an element here that has to be addressed. The feeling that without putting these micro-transactions on the table, I won’t have had the full Kingdom Rush Origins experience (or any of the previous games for that matter). Maybe that dragon hero would be great fun to play and change my whole game. But I’ll never know because I think there just isn’t enough incentive to buy into these add ons. It’s a disappointment. I wonder how much Ironhide make from these DLC characters. I really don’t think the majority of players will buy into these extra bits, but maybe I’m mistaken.

If you’ve bought the DLC characters, please let me know how you got on: @WhichButton

Conquering the Kingdom

I’ve had to slow down my play with Kingdom Rush Origins. I haven’t beaten the game yet and that’s why it earns a Keeper badge. I know it’s coming to an end and that the replayability for these games are low. I’ve paid my entrance fee and would like to stretch out my gaming time

I hope they do festive/timed releases for Origins, like the Halloween (free)DLC for Frontiers. And maybe turn the perma-paywall for the heroes into a PatienceWall that we, as gamers, can work towards. It would up the replay factor and provide actual goals to aim for in harder difficulty modes. But hey, I don’t work in Ironhide.

At the end of it all, this Kingdom Rush Origins Review was a double edged sword for me:

  1. It’s the same old Kingdom Rush formula of awesome tower defence strategy.
  2. It’s the same old Kingdom Rush formula of awesome tower defence strategy.


Big Plus Points:

  • Fun and interesting theme that infuses the game with a lovely fantasy vibe.
  • It’s the best tower defence game series out there.
  • Creating the perfect kill zone takes skill and careful tower placement. When it happens, beauty is born.

Big Minus Points:

  • It feels like a DLC rather than a whole new game. Frontiers had the same problem.
  • You’ll be through the game in a couple of days.
  • Frustrating to see that lovely line up of heroes crouched behind a PayWall.

Kingdom Rush Origins
4 / 5 stars