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Defense Zone 3 HD Review

/ Jan 17th, 2017 No Comments

As you might expect from a sequel, the third entry in the Defense Zone series from independent developer Artem Kotov aims to expand and improve upon an arguably solid defense-based formula that’s helped the series gain notoriety in the mobile marketplace.

Defense Zone 3 HD succeeds in improving and even expanding on an already solid game, but it is actually a disappointing setback for the series.

Lock and Load!

Defense Zone 3 HD maintains the simple, easy-to-play design of the previous two games. Like before, you begin with a small amount of in-game money. This is used to purchase stationary offensive and defensive weapons placed in specified areas next to, or sometimes in the path of, enemy routes.

You start the game in a relatively small battlefield. Don’t worry, it gets much bigger.

Once you set down your initial units and elect to start, that’s when the fun begins. You must prevent wave after wave of enemies from successfully leaving the screen by strategically buying new units, upgrading existing ones and using support weapons like air strikes. Failure to do so results in you losing health — and once the health bar has been reduced to empty, it’s game over.

The controls, as in previous Defense Zone games, are very simple to use. The drag-and-tap interface remains, allowing you unprecedented control over the deployment and maintenance of your units. You can even, with just a single tap, pause the game to do so and speed up gameplay should you find yourself getting tired of waiting for a wave to be annihilated.

But it’s the new additions that make this entry in the series a tremendous improvement. You can upgrade units to higher levels, enjoy all manner of new weapons and, if you’re a glutton for punishment, take on the unbelievably challenging nightmare difficulty mode.

Blowing up enemies has never looked so pretty.

It’s now possible to program units to focus on specific enemy units instead of shooting indiscriminately and set the special hellfire mode of units to go off automatically.

There’s also a terrifically composed in-game musical score that sadly only boasts a few tracks. However, they all fit in perfectly with the game’s military theme and mesh with the high-quality sound effects.

The presentation is the biggest improvement to the series thus far. Levels and enemy units are now larger, making the game more difficult and creating an amazing spectacle to watch unfold. It’s even more pleasing to watch as the graphics, specifically your units are more well-drawn and realistic compared to the previous two games.

Uneven Battlegrounds

But all of this progress is undermined by Defense Zone 3 HD’s adoption of a freemium gaming model. It’s a model that is unrelentingly aggressive in trying to goat players into making in-app purchases. Players will quickly discover that it’s nearly impossible to win stages perfectly without paying money. This is especially blatant when playing on a high difficulty setting.

Players who reach mission 5 will find that the game’s rigged nature is very evident.

For instance, the amount of in-game money you are given at the start of each stage is far lower compared to the amounts you get in previous games. You can boost this by getting 100 coins to spend in the game store by watching an ad. Once you do, you’ll be forced to wait a long period before you can do so again.

The gameplay is also very unbalanced and designed specifically to overwhelm players. No matter how many times players upgrade their units and no matter if they use all the bonus weapons acquired from killing enemies, it’s impossible to win stages perfectly and with quickness unless you pay.

What might’ve been a genuinely great game is sadly undermined by the greed of its developers.


Defense Zone 3 HD is an above average defense-based game that’s challenging, polished and well-made. But its blatantly rigged gameplay undermines what might’ve been a truly excellent experience.

The developer Artem Kotov says future updates are planned for the game. Here’s hoping that the devs take the time to upgrade the ethics of this game because the noticeable lack of them towards players kneecaps what could otherwise be a terrific game.


Jonathan Anson

Jonathan Anson

Jonathan has been a lover of video games since his father brought home a Windows 95 computer. When he's not doing that he indulges in his other passion: writing. Jonathan holds an AA degree in Journalism from Saddleback College in Southern California.
Jonathan Anson
Jonathan Anson

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Gaming Illustrated RATING



The game is built on a solid, easy-to-use system, but its deliberately unbalanced nature is designed to wring money out of players.


The visuals are much better than previous entries in the series, and the battle is a spectacle to watch unfold.


The game has a very impressive soundtrack and high-quality sound effects.

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