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Bloons TD 5 Towers Guide

/ Jun 20th, 2012 1 Comment

web - dart monkey

Bloons Tower Defense 5 is Ninja Kiwi’s latest release in their series of Bloons Tower Defense games. Having scoured the Internet for a concise, easy-to-read guide on tower strengths and weaknesses but finding none, I set out to create my own tower strengths/weaknesses guide. Keep in mind that the third upgrade of any upgrade path will lock you out of the third upgrade in the other upgrade path. For example, you can have a dart monkey with EITHER the Spike-o-pult or Triple Darts upgrade, but never both (except for special mission towers). Also, note that this is neither a walkthrough nor a hyper-detailed list of information on Bloons TD5. With that being said, on to the guide…

1. Dart Monkey

Game Notes: “Shoots a single dart that pops a single bloon. A good, cheap tower suitable for the early rounds.”

Writer’s Notes: “Suitable for the early rounds” indeed, and not much else. Cheapest towers in the game that generally aren’t worth the space they take up in the late game unless they’re placed in very specific locations when upgraded.

Path 1 Upgrades: Long Range Darts -> Enhanced Eyesight -> Spike-o-pult -> Juggernaut

The spiked ball launcher upgrades make this tower more useful when placed at the end of long straight paths. The Juggernaut upgrade can pop lead bloons and take off half of a ceramic bloon’s outer layer.

Path 2 Upgrades: Sharp Shots -> Razor Sharp Shots -> Triple Darts -> Super Monkey Fan Club

Triple darts is an upgrade that sounds pretty awesome but doesn’t do much except improve the Dart Monkey’s crowd control. Super Monkey Fan Club requires lots of other Dart Monkeys (Spike-o-pults don’t count!) to be useful.

Bloon Matchups:
VS Frozen Bloons: No Damage (A with Juggernaut upgrade)
VS Lead Bloons: No Damage (A with Juggernaut upgrade)
VS Ceramic Bloons: F (B with Juggernaut upgrade)
VS Regrowth Bloons: C
VS MOAB-class Bloons: F
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): C
VS Clusters of Bloons: F (C with Spike-o-pult, C with Triple Darts, B with Juggernaut)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: C

2. Tack Shooter

Game Notes: “Shoots 8 tacks spread in all directions, each tack can pop 1 bloon. Has short range and medium-slow fire rate.”

Writer’s Notes: Tack shooters are at their best when placed in corners or loops in the track. Since this tower doesn’t “aim” at anything and instead fires in 8 directions whenever detectable bloons are in its radius, a tack shooter’s power is greatly correlated to how much track it covers, more so than any other tower in the game.

Path 1 Upgrades: Faster Shooting -> Even Faster Shooting -> Tack Sprayer -> Ring of Fire

The Tack Sprayer spews out tacks in 16 directions instead of the usual 8. The Ring of Fire upgrades the tower to spray fire in all directions and can pop lead and frozen bloons. Great for thinning out crowds around corners and loops.

Path 2 Upgrades: Extra Range Tacks -> Super Range Tacks -> Blade Shooter -> Blade Maelstrom

Blade Shooter makes this tower shoot projectiles that are less apt to missing bloons, which is a pretty big issue with the regular Tack Shooter. Blade Maelstrom is pretty useful; it has tons of popping power and can even do serious damage to MOAB-class bloons. This ability works best on tracks with lots of loops, ensuring that bloons are on the track for as long as possible.

Bloon Matchups:
VS Frozen Bloons: No Damage (B with Ring of Fire upgrade [not A due to the fact that it thaws out frozen bloons…])
VS Lead Bloons: No Damage (A with Ring of Fire upgrade)
VS Ceramic Bloons: D
VS Regrowth Bloons: C
VS MOAB-class Bloons: D
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): D (C with Tack Sprayer/Blade Shooter, B with Ring of Fire)
VS Clusters of Bloons: D (All upgrades help with this matchup, culminating with a B- for Blade Maelstrom [not taking into account special ability] and a B+ for Ring of Fire)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: C

3. Sniper Monkey

Game Notes: “Armed with a high-tech long range rifle, pops 2 layers off of bloons with unlimited range.”

Writer’s Notes: This tower looks cool (It’s a frikkin’ monkey with a sniper rifle, man!) and is pretty useful… but only against isolated, strong bloons. The Sniper Monkey’s slow fire rate makes it a terrible choice for crowd control, but its ability to pop off multiple layers at a time makes it a great choice against pink bloons and up (and can even completely eliminate a ceramic bloon with the Deadly Precision upgrade!). Set the Sniper Monkey’s target preference to “Strong” unless you have bloons about to leak, in which case you should set the target preference to “First”. All in all, the Sniper Monkey is not a very spammable tower, but it works great as a support tower to take out some of the peskier bloons without the usual mob of bloons spewing out.

Path 1 Upgrades: Full Metal Jacket -> Point Five Oh -> Deadly Precision -> Cripple MOAB

Sacrifices shooting speed for sheer popping power. Deadly Precision completely eliminates a ceramic bloon in one hit and Cripple MOAB temporarily stops MOAB-class bloons, making this upgrade path great for dealing with the bigger baddies in the game.

Path 2 Upgrades: Faster Firing -> Night Vision Goggles -> Semi-Automatic Rifle -> Supply Drop

Want a little more balance with your little sniper monkey? Semi-Automatic Rifle makes your Sniper Monkey fire MUCH faster (although, of course, you’ll be locked out of getting Deadly Precision), making him slightly better at crowd control (but still not a prime option for CC). Supply Drop is an active ability that drops money; it costs a lot but helps greatly in the later levels.

Bloon Matchups:
VS Frozen Bloons: No Damage (A with Full Metal Jacket upgrade)
VS Lead Bloons: No Damage (A with Full Metal Jacket upgrade)
VS Ceramic Bloons: D (B with Full Metal Jacket, B+ with Point Five Oh, A+ with Deadly Precision [no extra bloons spawn!])
VS Regrowth Bloons: A… as long as you kill the bloon in one shot.
VS MOAB-class Bloons: D (B with Cripple MOAB)
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): B (never misses, but can’t deal with the resulting bloon spawn very well…)
VS Clusters of Bloons: F (D with Faster Firing, C with Semi-Automatic Rifle)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: A

4. Boomerang Thrower

Game Notes: “Throws a single boomerang in an arc back round to the monkey. Each boomerang can pop 3 bloons.”

Writer’s Notes: These towers are at their best when placed within range of crowded intersections and loops in the track. They start with the ability to pop multiple bloons at once, which is pretty awesome considering their fairly low price. Boomerang Throwers throw their boomerangs at a rather speedy clip, too, but their targeting often misses the faster bloons (without the Glaive and speed upgrades).

Path 1 Upgrades: Multi-Target -> Glaive Thrower -> Glaive Ricochet -> Glaive Lord

Glaive Ricochet makes crowd control an absolute breeze, provided the bloons are clumped close enough together to cause the ricochet to occur. Placement of Glaive Lords needs to be carefully thought out, as the two orbiting glaives have a shorter range than the regular Boomerang Thrower, necessitating closer placement to the track. The two orbiting glaives, however, provide great area-of-denial poppage, so it’s definitely worth planning your Boomerang Thrower placement ahead of time if you want to upgrade to Glaive Lords.

Path 2 Upgrades: Sonic Boom -> Red Hot ‘Rangs -> Bionic Boomer -> Turbo Charge

Bionic Boomer and Turbo Charge increase the rate at which boomerangs are thrown. Turbo Charge grants an active ability that makes the Boomerang Thrower throw boomerangs at an extremely fast rate; however, you can’t choose which Boomerang Thrower gets the Turbo Charge, which can be a problem if you have multiple Turbo Charge towers.

Bloon Matchups:
VS Frozen Bloons: No Damage (A with Sonic Boom)
VS Lead Bloons: No Damage (A with Red Hot ‘Rangs)
VS Ceramic Bloons: C (B+ with Glaive Lord, B+ with Bionic Boomer, A with Turbo Charge)
VS Regrowth Bloons: C+ (B+ with Glaive Lord, B+ with Bionic Boomer, A with Turbo Charge)
VS MOAB-class Bloons: D (B with Glaive Lord, B with Bionic Boomer, B+ with Turbo Charge)
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): C- (A with Glaive Thrower and Bionic Boomer)
VS Clusters of Bloons: C (B- with Multi-Target, B with Glaive Thrower, A with Glaive Ricochet, A+ with Glaive Lord, B with Bionic Boomer, A with Turbo Charge)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: C

5. Ninja Monkey

Game Notes: “Stealthy tower that can see Camo Bloons and throws sharp shurikens rapidly.”

Writer’s Notes: The Ninja Monkey comes with stealth detection and is the cheapest tower to have this ability without the need for upgrades, so there’s that. Also, each shuriken can pop 2 bloons before disappearing, which is pretty nice. Seeking Shuriken is a must-have upgrade with this tower to ensure each shuriken hits as many bloons as possible. The Ninja Monkey fares rather poorly against the higher-tier bloons simply because each attack only pops off one layer at a time. Decent crowd control, though, and it’s pretty fun to watch all those seeking shurikens flying around all over the place.

Path 1 Upgrades: Ninja Discipline -> Sharp Shurikens -> Double Shot -> Bloonjitsu

Double Shot, like its name suggests, enables the Ninja Monkey to fire two shurikens at once. Bloonjitsu increases that number to five. Make sure to get Seeking Shuriken from Path 2 to make the most of all these extra shurikens being thrown.

Path 2 Upgrades: Seeking Shuriken -> Distraction -> Flash Bomb -> Sabotage Supply Lines

This upgrade path turns your Ninja Monkey into more of a support tower. I never really found Flash Bomb to be all that useful, especially since it locks you out from the third and fourth upgrades in Path 1. In theory, though, the stun is best utilized when there are multiple towers firing at the stunned bloons, so make sure to have a few other towers near a Flash Bomb upgraded Ninja Monkey. Sabotage Supply Lines is incredibly useful for experienced players (and those who save and frequently…)if you know what types of bloons are incoming; otherwise, it’s a hit-or-miss active ability.

Bloon Matchups:
VS Frozen Bloons: No Damage
VS Lead Bloons: No Damage (Ouch…)
VS Ceramic Bloons: C
VS Regrowth Bloons: C
VS MOAB-class Bloons: D (C with Bloonjitsu)
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): C (B+ with Seeking Shuriken)
VS Clusters of Bloons: C (B- with Double Shot, B+ with Bloonjitsu)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: B

6. Bomb Tower

Game Notes: “Shoots a single bomb that explodes in a radius burst on impact. Good range, medium-slow fire rate. Can pop lead bloons but not black bloons.”

Writer’s Notes: Bomb Towers have great AoE AND solid range, making them a great choice against many types of bloons. The two upgrade paths available to Bomb Towers complement each other well, so if you decide to spam Bomb Towers make sure to upgrade a few into each upgrade path. The final upgrades for both upgrade paths are two of the cheapest available in the game, but they’re both very useful despite their low cost.

Path 1 Upgrades: Extra Range -> Frag Bombs -> Cluster Bombs -> Bloon Impact

Cluster Bombs greatly increases the explosion range of the Bomb Tower, but be warned: it loses the ability to pop black and zebra bloons! Bloon Impact reinstates this ability, but make sure to have some towers that can pop black and zebra bloons around since you usually won’t be able to upgrade straight into Bloon Impact immediately. Frag Bombs enables the Bomb Tower to pop up to 3 layers on a direct hit. This upgrade path is great for dealing with bloon clusters.

Path 2 Upgrades: Bigger Bombs -> Missile Launcher -> MOAB Mauler -> MOAB Assassin

MOAB Mauler does 10X damage to MOAB-class bloons, and MOAB Assassin gives you an active ability that can instantly eliminate a single BFB/MOAB and deal 1000 damage to a single ZOMG. Great upgrades for dealing with MOAB-class bloons.

Bloon Matchups:
VS Frozen Bloons: B
VS Lead Bloons: A
VS Ceramic Bloons: C (C+ with Missile Launcher)
VS Regrowth Bloons: B
VS MOAB-class Bloons: C (A with MOAB Mauler)
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): C (B with Missile Launcher)
VS Clusters of Bloons: B (B+ with Frag Bombs, A with Cluster Bombs)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: B

7. Ice Tower

Game Notes: “Freezes bloons in its burst radius for a short time. Frozen bloons are immune to sharp objects.”

Writer’s Notes: Be very careful if you decide to use these in early rounds. Make sure that the towers you have around the Ice Tower can pop frozen bloons; otherwise, the Ice Tower can end up hurting more than it helps. Ice Towers can’t freeze white bloons, zebra bloons, and MOAB-class bloons. They’re great for stopping clusters of any other type of bloon so that your other towers will have more time for popping.

Path 1 Upgrades: Enhanced Freezing -> Snap Freeze -> Arctic Wind -> Viral Frost

Arctic Wind greatly increases the Ice Tower’s freeze radius and slows down freezable bloons within its radius, making it an absolute monster at slowing down clusters of bloons. Viral Frost takes this to another level by making it so that contact with a frozen bloon will cause adjacent bloons to become frozen as well. This upgrade path focuses purely on getting as many bloons frozen/slowed down as possible.

Path 2 Upgrades: Permafrost -> Deep Freeze -> Ice Shards -> Absolute Zero

Ice Shards is great at getting some additional AoE in when frozen bloons are popped. Absolute Zero is an active ability that freezes all bloons on-screen (except MOAB-class bombs). I never really used this upgrade path, so I don’t have much to say about the usefulness of the third and fourth upgrades.

No Bloon Matchups; the Ice Tower doesn’t have a standard attack.

8. Glue Gunner

Game Notes: “Shoots a glob of monkey glue [what’s the difference between monkey glue and regular glue? …Do I even want to know?] at a single bloon. Glued bloons move more slowly than usual.”

Writer’s Notes: Slowing down bloons is always a good thing; it gives your attacking towers more time to pop those pesky bloons! Glue doesn’t slow down ceramic and MOAB-class bloons, though. Place these towers near bloon entrance points to get glue on the bloons as early as possible.

Path 1 Upgrades: Glue Soak -> Corrosive Glue -> Bloon Dissolver -> Bloon Liquefier

Glue Soak works well with the three subsequent upgrades due to its ability to cause all layers of a bloon to get glued, which ultimately means continued popping across multiple layers of a bloon. Bloon Liquefier pops 10 times a second… pretty impressive stuff! Damage from Corrosive Glue eats through ceramic bloons as well but still does nothing to MOAB-class bloons.

Path 2 Upgrades: Stickier Glue -> Glue Splatter -> Glue Hose -> Glue Striker

Glue Splatter is pretty much a necessity regardless of which upgrade path you ultimately take your Glue Gunner due to its great AoE. Glue Hose makes your Glue Gunner shoot out glue globs much faster, helping get as many bloons glued as possible. Glue Striker provides an active ability that glues all bloons on the screen (again, does nothing to MOAB-class bloons).

No Bloon Matchups; the Glue Gunner doesn’t have a standard attack.

9. Monkey Buccaneer

Game Notes: “Monkey Buccaneers can only be placed on water. Shoots a single, heavy dart that can pop up to 5 bloons each.”

Writer’s Notes: In general, if the track you’re playing on has water, you should place at least a couple of Monkey Buccaneers. They have good range and are pretty cost-efficient but have limited valid placement locations in most maps (Archipelago being a notable exception).

Path 1 Upgrades: Faster Shooting -> Longer Cannons -> Destroyer -> Aircraft Carrier

The Monkey Buccaneer has apparently straightened out and joined the regular navy with this upgrade path! Destroyers are alright for thinning crowds of bloons, but the real gem in this upgrade path is the Aircraft Carrier upgrade. The three mini-Monkey Aces launched from an Aircraft Carrier fire two streams of darts forward as well as a swarm of darts in 8 directions. The Aircraft Carrier loses its heavy dart but still fires grape shot if the Grape Shot upgrade from the second upgrade path is purchased. The mini-Monkey Aces launched from the Aircraft Carrier fly around all around the track, so placement near the track isn’t as important for a fully upgraded Aircraft Carrier. The upgrade itself is pretty expensive, but it’s worth it for the unlimited range bloon domination that it gives you. Aircraft Carriers don’t fare very well against MOAB-class bloons, however, unless you have multiple Aircraft Carriers on the map.

Path 2 Upgrades: Grape Shot -> Crow’s Nest -> Cannon Ship -> Monkey Pirates

The Grape Shot upgrade is a must-have with the Monkey Buccaneer due to the much firing area that it gives. Cannon ship allows this tower to (finally!) pop open lead bloons. Monkey Pirates adds an active ability that instantly takes down a MOAB or BFB (if there are no MOABs or BFBs on the track, it will instead take down the strongest bloon). When a MOAB or BFB is taken down in this manner you receive no money, but no additional bloons spawn from the MOAB/BFB either. Only use this ability if you know your other towers can’t handle an incoming MOAB/BFB; otherwise, you’ll be missing out on quite a bit of money by not killing the MOAB/BFB normally.

Bloon Matchups:
VS Frozen Bloons: No Damage (B with Cannon Ship)
VS Lead Bloons: No Damage (A with Cannon Ship)
VS Ceramic Bloons: C (C+ with Destroyer, B with Aircraft Carrier)
VS Regrowth Bloons: C (C+ with Destroyer, B+ with Aircraft Carrier)
VS MOAB-class Bloons: F (D with Destroyer, C with Aircraft Carrier, insta-kill with Monkey Pirates ability)
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): C (B with Destroyer, B+ with Grape Shot)
VS Clusters of Bloons: B- (B+ with Destroyer, A with Aircraft Carrier, B with Grape Shot, B+ with Cannon Ship)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: B

10. Monkey Ace

Game Notes: “Patrols the skies above the action, regularly strafing the area with powerful darts in 8 directions.”

Writer’s Notes: Monkey Aces in BTD 5 can no longer be placed anywhere on the map, unlike Monkey Aces in BTD4. This limits placement of Monkey Aces (as well as their spammability), but it also makes it easier to click on them to upgrade them (Monkey Aces in BTD4 were notoriously difficult to select individually if you had multiple Aces stacked in the same location). This tower is best utilized on large, spread-out maps due to its ability to move around and fire in multiple directions. Monkey Aces are rather unreliable when it comes to taking out specific bloons since they don’t target any bloons (unless you get Neva-Miss Targeting) but they’re decent support fire towers and can take out hordes of bloons when multiple instances are placed on the track.

Path 1 Upgrades: Rapid Fire -> Sharper Darts -> Neva-Miss Targeting -> Spectre

Neva-Miss Targeting actually CAN miss bloons after a dart hits its first bloon, but at least it enables the Monkey Ace to make the most of the 8 darts that it fires out with every attack. Spectre fires a stream of darts in a single direction rather than the 8 of the previous upgrades, but it fires the darts much faster and adds on an explosive mortar attack which does AoE damage.

Path 2 Upgrades: Pineapple Present -> Spy Plane -> Operation: Dart Storm -> Ground Zero

Operation: Dart Storm makes the Monkey Ace send out darts in 16 directions instead of the usual 8. Lots more darts means better crowd control, but it still leaves the Monkey Ace with a tendency to completely miss bloons, especially if the bloons are far away from the point of release. Ground Zero destroys all bloons on the screen except for MOAB-class bloons. Not too shabby.

Bloon Matchups: (Neva-Miss Targeting helps all matchups)
VS Frozen Bloons: No Damage (Pineapples from Pineapple Present can pop these, B with Spectre)
VS Lead Bloons: No Damage (Pineapples from Pineapple Present can pop these, A with Spectre)
VS Ceramic Bloons: C (B+ with Spectre)
VS Regrowth Bloons: D (B+ with Spectre)
VS MOAB-class Bloons: D (B with Spectre)
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): C
VS Clusters of Bloons: B (A with Spectre)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: D

11. Super Monkey

Game Notes: “Throws darts incredibly fast. Has long range and lots of insanely powerful upgrades.”

Writer’s Notes: The most powerful tower in the game, as well as the most expensive. It starts off as a Dart Monkey on steroids with its MUCH faster firing rate and larger attack radius. While a Super Monkey with no upgrades is pretty fearsome in its own right, an upgraded Super Monkey will simply decimate any bloons thrown at it. Make sure to upgrade this beast of a tower as soon as you can, you won’t regret it.

Path 1 Upgrades: Laser Blasts -> Plasma Blasts -> Sun God -> Temple of the Monkey God

Lasers fired with the Laser Blasts upgrade can’t pop leads, but they do fire faster than a 0 upgrade Super Monkey and can pop 2 bloons instead of 1. Plasma Blasts allows Super Monkey to finally pop lead bloons. Sun God isn’t a very good upgrade when compared to the third upgrade in Path 2 (Robo-Monkey), but the subsequent upgrade, Temple of the Monkey God (the most expensive upgrade in the game), is borderline overpowered with the right sacrifices. See http://bloons.wikia.com/wiki/Temple_of_the_Monkey_God for more information on sacrifices for Temple of the Monkey God

Path 2 Upgrades: Super Range -> Epic Range -> Robo-Monkey -> Technological Terror

The Robo-Monkey upgrade allows this tower to target in two different directions at once, but for the most part it seems to target only one bloon anyway, albeit with twice the streams of destruction. Technological Terror further increases popping power and grants an active ability that destroys bloons near the tower and deals 1000 damage to MOAB-class bombs near the tower. Solid upgrades for most situations, but if you have more money than you know what to do with (>$100000), Path 1 offers a far superior 4th upgrade.

Bloon Matchups:
VS Frozen Bloons: No Damage (A with Laser Blasts)
VS Lead Bloons: No Damage (A with Plasma Blasts)
VS Ceramic Bloons: B (All Path 1 upgrades help with this matchup, culminating with A+ for Temple of the Monkey God)
VS Regrowth Bloons: B (All Path 1 upgrades help with this matchup, culminating with A+ for Temple of the Monkey God)
VS MOAB-class Bloons: B- (All Path 1 upgrades help with this matchup, culminating with A+ for Temple of the Monkey God [depending on sacrifices])
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): B (0 upgrade Super Monkey can’t track yellows and up at long range, however)
VS Clusters of Bloons: B- (All Path 1 upgrades help with this matchup, culminating with A+ for Temple of the Monkey God)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: A

12. Monkey Apprentice

Game Notes: “Trained in the arts of monkey magic, the Monkey Apprentice weaves magical bolts of power that pop bloons. Each shot can pop 2 bloons. Can upgrade to cast additional spells.”

Writer’s Notes: Versatile tower that has two very different upgrade paths, allowing the Monkey Apprentice to eventually become either a support specialist or a damage specialist. Without upgrades the Monkey Apprentice isn’t much better than a Dart Monkey with range upgrades and pierce upgrades, so make sure to upgrade the Monkey Apprentice as soon as possible to unleash its full power.

Path 1 Upgrades: Intense Magic -> Lightning Bolt -> Summon Whirlwind -> Tempest Tornado

Support upgrades galore. Lightning Bolt “chains” from one bloon to the next, providing great crowd control (it only pops one layer at a time though, so it’s not great for dealing with regrowth bloons. Summon Whirlwind blows bloons away back towards a bloon spawning point (but also removes any glue or ice on the bloon, a trade-off that most will probably find more than acceptable), greatly increasing the amount of time that bloons spend targeted by bloons. Tempest Tornado takes it a notch further by popping bloons as well as blowing them further away.

Path 2 Upgrades: Fireball -> Monkey Sense -> Dragon’s Breath -> Summon Phoenix

Want to deal huge damage with your Monkey Apprentice? This is the upgrade path for you. Dragon’s Breath is great for popping hoards of non-MOAB class bloons. Summon Phoenix, naturally, makes this tower even better by granting an active ability that summons a phoenix to fly around and pop bloons. The phoenix’s damage is roughly equivalent to the tower’s own Dragon Breath. Because the phoenix flies around the track, it doesn’t do much sustained damage to a group of bloons but it does decent burst damage to multiple bloons scattered across the map.

Bloon Matchups:
VS Frozen Bloons: A
VS Lead Bloons: A
VS Ceramic Bloons: C (B+ with Dragon’s Breath)
VS Regrowth Bloons: C (B+ with Dragons’ Breath)
VS MOAB-class Bloons: D (B with Dragon’s Breath)
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): C (A with Lightning Bolt, A with Dragon’s Breath)
VS Clusters of Bloons: B- (B+ with Lightning Bolt, A with Dragon’s Breath)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: B

13. Monkey Village

Game Notes: “Monkey Village does not attack bloons but instead lowers cost of all towers and upgrades in radius by 10%. Has many useful upgrades that help nearby towers.”

Writer’s Notes: Even though this tower does not directly affect bloons in any manner whatsoever (unless you get the High Energy Beacon upgrade in Path 1), it provides tons of useful effects for towers placed near it. To make the most of the 10% cost reduction, place Monkey Villages before you invest in an expensive upgrade (especially the Super Monkey upgrades). For example, a Temple of the Monkey God will only set you back $90,000 on Medium difficulty compared to $100,000 without a Monkey Village nearby, saving you $10,000! Monkey Village effects do not stack with effects from nearby Monkey Villages, so don’t bother creating a village of Monkey Villages (ha!) just to improve bonus effects; it just doesn’t work that way.

Path 1 Upgrades: Monkey Beacon -> Jungle Drums -> Monkey Town -> High Energy Beacon

My upgrade path of choice simply because Monkey Town is too useful to skip, especially in later rounds. More money earned per pop is always a good thing. Make sure to have a lot of attacking towers nearby to make the most of Monkey Town’s effect. High Energy Beacon reduces the cooldown of nearby towers’ active abilities and adds an energy beam attack which can actually be pretty useful considering the Monkey Village never has an attack otherwise.

Path 2 Upgrades: Monkey Fort -> Radar Scanner -> Monkey Intelligence Bureau -> M.I.B Call to Arms

Monkey Intelligence Bureau can be fairly useful depending on what towers you have around the Monkey Village (i.e. only Dart Monkeys or Bomb Towers with no Frag Bomb upgrade), but for the most part it’s not worth getting since it locks you out of getting Monkey Town from the first upgrade path. M.I.B Call to Arms makes towers in range gain ridiculous bloon popping power, but only during the 10 seconds that the ability is active. Great for increasing burst damage but in the long run I prefer having the High Energy Beacon.

No Bloon Matchups; the Monkey Village doesn’t have a standard attack. Yes, High Energy Beacon is a direct attack, but I haven’t done enough testing with it to give out grades for matchups. Stay tuned!

14. Banana Farm

Game Notes: “Banana Farms grow bananas that you can collect to turn into cash. When your farm produces some bananas, collect them by moving your mouse over them. Don’t leave them too long however, or they will spoil!”

Writer’s Notes: Buy and upgrade these as soon as you can (once you have a strong enough defense to repel the next round of bloons, of course) because this tower generates more total money the longer you have it out on the map. Don’t bother getting Banana Farms past round 39 on Easy, round 52 on Medium, and round 71 on Hard; you won’t be able to recoup the cost of the Banana Tower in time for the last round (unless you plan to keep playing in Freeplay Mode). Path 1 upgrades are better for instant cash during a round, while Path 2 generates more money in the long run if you’re able to hold off withdrawing banked money until it’s at or near full capacity.

Path 1 Upgrades: More Bananas -> Banana Plantation -> Banana Republic -> Banana Research Facility

Upgrade to More Bananas first and as soon as possible; it only costs $320 on Hard difficulty and increases the number of bananas produced by 50%! Always get the first two upgrades in Path 1 before getting any in Path 2 (unless you have serious trouble moving your mouse cursor near the bananas before they expire… and if that’s the case, may God have mercy on your soul) regardless of which upgrade path you ultimately decide to take.

Path 2 Upgrades: Long Life Bananas -> Valuable Bananas -> Monkey Bank -> Banana Investments Advisory

Long Life Bananas is pretty useless in most situations. The only logical reason I can see for getting Long Life Bananas before getting at least 2 upgrades in Path 1 is if you have a lot of Dartling Guns on the map, since they’ll get redirected every time you move the cursor towards the bananas on the ground. Valuable Bananas is nice, but if you plan on going all the way down Path 1, make sure to get Valuable Bananas after getting all 4 upgrades in Path 1 (it makes more financial sense this way, trust me on this). Banana Investments can inject $20,000 back into your available money fairly quickly if you don’t withdraw money for 7 – 8 rounds.

No Bloon Matchups; the Monkey Village doesn’t have a standard attack.

15. Mortar Tower

Game Notes: “Targets a specific bit of ground anywhere on the screen. Launches explosive mortar shells to that spot. Useful for placing far away from the track to make room for other towers.”

Writer’s Notes: Since these towers have unlimited range (like Sniper Towers), feel free to place them away from the actual track so as to make room for towers that do have limited range. The splash damage from Mortar Towers makes them great for bloon crowd control but their explosions are unable to any direct damage to black and zebra bloons (the Burny Stuff upgrade can help pop them indirectly, however). It’s generally not efficient to change targets mid-round unless you’re about to have some bloons leak, so aim the Mortar Tower at crowded intersections or loops to make the most of its explosion radius.

Path 1 Upgrades: Increased Accuracy -> Bigger Blast -> Bloon Buster -> The Big One

Big, powerful, and methodical. That’s what this upgrade path is all about. Bloon Buster takes off 2 layers of bloons instead of one, making the Mortar Tower’s large explosion radius even more effective against higher-tier bloons. The Big One increases the explosion size (big enough to cover the entire center crater on Mount Magma!) and furthers the amount of layer popping to 5 as well as making black and zebra bloons vulnerable to the Mortar Tower’s explosions. This upgrade path gives the Mortar Tower incredible crowd thinning capabilities.

Path 2 Upgrades: Rapid Reload -> Burny Stuff -> Signal Flare -> Artillery Battery

Signal Flare is pretty unique in that it’s the only ability that can remove a camo bloon’s camo status. If you decide to actually make use of Signal Flare, make sure to aim at a spot early in the track so you get rid of the camo bloons as soon as possible. Artillery Battery shoots mortars 3x as fast as before and grants you the Pop and Awe Ability, which bombards the screen for 5 seconds. Every non-MOAB bloon is popped 1 time per second and all bloons are immobilized during the 5 seconds, except for ZOMG bloons.

Bloon Matchups:
VS Frozen Bloons: B
VS Lead Bloons: A
VS Ceramic Bloons: D (C with Bloon Buster, B with The Big One, B with Artillery Battery)
VS Regrowth Bloons: C (B+ with Burny Stuff)
VS MOAB-class Bloons: F (D with Bloon Buster, C with The Big One, C with Artillery Battery)
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): D (C with Bigger Blast, B with The Big One, C with Rapid Reload, B with Artillery Battery)
VS Clusters of Bloons: B (B+ with Bigger Blast, A+ with The Big One, A with Artillery Battery)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: B

16. Dartling Gun

Game Notes: “Shoots darts like a machine gun, super fast but not very accurate. The Dartling Gun will shoot towards wherever your mouse is, so you control how effective it is!”

Writer’s Notes: Unique tower in that it doesn’t target any bloons directly but follows your cursor instead (while it’s in the game window). Fires darts at a fast rate and is great for area of denial burst damage (especially when aimed at the end of a straight path) but has difficulty firing through bloons (unless you get the Ray of Doom upgrade). Dartling Guns are pretty decent towers overall, but you need to make sure you’re aiming where the most burst damage support is needed.

Path 1 Upgrades: Focused Firing -> Faster Barrel Spin -> Laser Cannon -> Ray of Doom

The Laser Cannon upgrades allows the Dartling Gun to pop frozen bloons (but not lead bloons). Ray of Doom can pop all bloon types and can pop up to 100 bloons at once. Note that Ray of Doom makes Depleted Bloontonium Darts from the second upgrade path obsolete. In most cases, however, you won’t be able to upgrade from Faster Barrel Spin to Ray of Doom within a single round, so feel free to get Depleted Bloontonium Darts anyway if you need help popping lead bloons.

Path 2 Upgrades: Powerful Darts -> Depleted Bloontonium Darts -> Hydra Rocket Pods -> Bloon Area Denial System

Instead of firing darts or lasers, this upgrade path allows you to fire rockets, giving your Dartling Gun a much greater AoE. The Hydra Rocket Pods can still pop black bloons, unlike most explosive projectiles. Bloon Area Denial System fires three Hydra Rocket Pods at a time instead of one and grants an active ability that sends out missiles toward the nearest 100 bloons. Great at thinning out crowds of bloons all over the map due to the number of explosions that come out from this tower.

Bloon Matchups:
VS Frozen Bloons: No Damage (A with Laser Cannon, A with Depleted Bloontonium Darts)
VS Lead Bloons: No Damage (A with Ray of Doom, A with Depleted Bloontonium Darts)
VS Ceramic Bloons: B (B+ with Laser Cannon, A with Ray of Doom)
VS Regrowth Bloons: B (B+ with Laser Cannon, A+ with Ray of Doom)
VS MOAB-class Bloons: C+ (B- with Laser Cannon, B+ with Ray of Doom)
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): User determines accuracy
VS Clusters of Bloons: B- (B+ with Laser Cannon, A with Ray of Doom, B+ with Hydra Rocket Pods, A+ with Bloon Area Denial System)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: User determines accuracy

17. Spike Factory

Game Notes: “Generates piles of road spikes on bits of nearby track. Each pile can pop 5 bloons, and unused spikes disappear at the end of each round.”

Writer’s Notes: Spike Factories don’t target bloons at all, but instead place spikes at a random location on the track in the Spike Factory’s radius. Spikes don’t do any good behind bloons, so in general you want to place Spike Factories as far back as possible on the track to ensure that spikes are always laid ahead of the incoming bloons. The more time bloons take to reach the Spike Factory’s spikes the better, since a longer time period gives the Spike Factory more time to lay down more spikes. Depending on how you’re planning to use this tower, increased range from a Monkey Village may actually work against you; all increased range does for the Spike Factory is give more track area on which the Spike Factory can lay down spikes, increasing its spread and possibly putting spikes behind bloons on a track!

Path 1 Upgrades: Bigger Stacks -> White Hot Spikes -> Spiked Ball Factory -> Spiked Mines

White Hot Spikes enables the Spike Factory to pop frozen and lead bloons. Spiked Ball Factory pops 20 bloons per spiked ball and does 3 damage to ceramic bloons. Spiked Mines increase the rate of production, and each mine can pop 16 bloons before exploding. The explosion from these mines can pop 4 layers and sets affected bloons on fire (like the Mortar Tower’s Monkey Napalm). Does great AoE damage due to the explosions and can even hold its own against MOAB-class bloons (Spiked Mines with the first 2 upgrades from the second upgrade path are as effective as MOAB-SHREDR Spikes against MOAB-class bloons). Note that spiked mines explode automatically after a set time, so a Spike Factory upgraded with Spiked Mines can’t just keep up a never-ending wall of mines. All-in-all, this path is geared towards the popping of crowds of bloons (ceramics especially).

Path 2 Upgrades: Faster Production -> Even Faster Production -> MOAB-SHREDR Spikes -> Spike Storm
The MOAB-SHREDR Spikes upgrade doubles the rate of spike production and enables each spike to do 4 damage to MOAB-class bloons instead of the regular 1 damage. Not a bad upgrade by any means, but if you decide to go with this path you’ll probably want to place the Spike Factory closer to the beginning of a track than you would with an 0 upgrade Spike Factory (since you don’t want a MOAB-class bloon to come anywhere near the end of a track). Spike Storm spreads short-lived spikes all across the track, making it even more useful on longer tracks. Since MOAB-SHREDR is a prerequisite upgrade, Spike Storm can take out MOAB-class bloons very quickly.

Bloon Matchups:
VS Frozen Bloons: No Damage (B with White Hot Spikes)
VS Lead Bloons: No Damage (A with White Hot Spikes)
VS Ceramic Bloons: C (A- with Spiked Ball Factory)
VS Regrowth Bloons: A (as long as you have enough spikes to deal with a regrowth bloon, it will not have time to regrow)
VS MOAB-class Bloons: C (B with Spiked Mines, B+ with MOAB-SHREDR Spikes)
VS Fast Bloons (Pink, Rainbow, Black, White): A
VS Clusters of Bloons: B (A with Spiked Mines, A+ with Spike Storm)
VS Single (Spread Out) Bloons: A

James Ku

James Ku

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
James Ku has never been particularly skilled at any video game (except Dance Dance Revolution, to which he attributes his preferred username as well as his somewhat respectable legs), a quirk that has nevertheless failed to quell his passion for games of every creed (yes, he loves Assassin's Creed) and race (Need for Speed Underground 2 is his personal favorite). He is currently studying Computer Science at the University of Oklahoma.
James Ku

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  • Rita

    i know this is kinda old, but to anyone who reads this: Specter is GOD against non moab-class bloons. It alternates between a bomb and a dart.

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