Tower defense is a subgenre of strategy games where the main mission is to defend a territory against waves of enemies by building structures. Due to its simple nature, the genre has been wildly popular with both casual and hardcore players alike. In this article, Gurugamer is going to showcase the best tower defense games for PC in 2022.

The tower defense games on mobile are also pretty popular as well.

1. Mindustry

Tower defense is a core part of Mindustry, though it has more freedom than the most typical tower defense games. Defenses can be built on almost any part of the map and building them needs usually multiple different resources. More advanced defenses and buildings need resources that are refined from other resources. So eventually level has a pretty complicated factory that makes resources for export and keeps defenses supplied with ammo. On top of that most things need electricity and keeping up with demand is its own challenge.

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The simplified version of that is already familiar from RTS games, but Mindustry takes it to Factorio level of complexity. I don't remember seeing a pure RTS game where resources have to be transferred with conveyor belts.

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Attack maps provide a pure RTS-like experience. That's where Mindustry goes via a more simplistic route. There's very limited control available for controlling the units and you can't control individual units. Even simple controls are not even available before you build the command center (which needs some of the bit more advanced resources). Basically, you can command your units to retreat, gather at the command center, or attack. Attack is the default mode and in attack maps, attacking is pretty futile without gathering a bit larger force. So what's available before building a command center is to build a large wall to block bots from advancing too soon or just ramp up bot production until enemy defenses start to break. Or maybe a combination of both. Maybe someday I'll actually learn how to play the attack maps...

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Mindustry also has a progression system. Technological advancements need a certain amount of resources and eventually, more advanced resources from later maps are needed. Researching everything is a bit grindy, though just ramping up production helps a lot, so it's not all pure waiting. The thing is to stay alive long enough that production has been built to a good level. At that point, you can just slowly update defenses and optimize the production even further (just remember that some of the waves are boss waves).

2. The Riftbreaker

This is a refinement of so many good ideas which inspired its predecessors. At first glance, it just looks like prettier Factorio. But it has defined itself by emphasizing gameplay elements which Factorio marginalized in order to do what Factorio is super good at: logistics. Factorio was defined by elaborate resource chains feeding intricately into complicated recipes, wrapped in a giant logistical metagame.

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Rift Breaker is all about the biters. The essential resource-acquisition expansion research metagame exists similar to a Factorio map, but the game has taken the emphasis off laying belts (and later railroads) and put it on exploring the map on foot while fighting packs of monsters in action sequences clearly inspired by the best ARPGs. Fighting the monsters is insanely satisfying in a way I haven't experienced since a bone sliver build playing Diablo III. It's so smooth and satisfying. You're scouting for resource patches, but also there are sites where you can get a lump of resources, mods for your weapons, or find bosses which unlock unique research options. Slaying enough monsters of a given type also unlocks research options and it feels weirdly but satisfyingly like level ups.

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And then you get the notification a horde is coming, and suddenly you're playing Dungeon Defenders in front of a wall out of They Are Billions. I've played 40 days on Hard and these packs are getting *monstrous.* I see the blob on radar and go, "wat." You fall back to your turrets and pray.

3. Kingdom Rush Vengeance

The first few minutes of Vengeance set the scene for the rest of the game. The evil wizard Vez’nan is resurrected to find his castle turned into an amusement park for curious elves and dwarves. This kicks off a campaign to reconquer his land with the help of orcs, goblins, demons, skeletons, and other baddies.

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The campaign consists of 26 level that takes you through several well-assorted biomes and maps. Five to ten waves of enemies are sent off early on, increasing to fifteen halfway through the campaign. Combined with not having an option to speed up the action, later levels feel rather long but it doesn't' stop Vengence from being an amusing experience from start to finish. While most levels aren't longer than thirty minutes, note that there's no "saving between waves" thrown in the game either.

The gameplay is certainly more than meets the eye. Strategically setting down the towers to create chokepoints is just as important as choosing the right type for the right enemy and upgrading each of them. The tower defense aspect which has thus far been ordinary is pleasantly merged with a hero system. Heroes can be moved around the battlefield at your command and give you a set of spells and skills which you need to cleverly put to use to survive hectic situations.

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You can level up your hero by gaining experience when fighting enemies. Fortunately, this experience carries over whether or not you successfully finish a level. As you continue to make your way through the game, Vengeance has plenty of unlockable heroes and towers. This allows you to mix things up should you find yourself getting stuck on any particular level.

Enemies get progressively tougher while different types are introduced as waves pass. You can choose up to five towers at the same time from a list of eighteen to keep enemies at bay but they generally fall into an either physical or magical type of damage. However, that will change once a tower is upgraded several times. At the max level, a few attributes unlock that are unique for each tower. Upon purchasing them by the gold you earn from defeating enemies, the functions of that tower extend into greater abilities such as healing nearby allies, slowing/stunning enemies, or performing area damage.

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Once you've cleared the last stage in each biome, a boss fight will take place right afterward. Bosses are visually well-varied overall but they are abysmally implemented to the game. They pose an even lesser threat than regular enemies given that their movement is truly slow. By the time they step into the scene, towers are most likely fully upgraded and will autonomously attack, therefor not a pinch of strategy is required to beat them.

4. Legion TD 2

Legion TD 2 is one of those games where a tutorial is fundamental to start playing properly without having to do hours upon hours of trial and error: luckily the game has one that covers all aspects of the game in a bearable amount of time which, considering the amount of stuff it has to explain, is not the easiest of feats. This is a title with an extremely simple concept, that is instead very complex under the hood, thanks to its many different mechanics. The grand goal of a Legion TD 2 match is easy: protect your king and kill the enemies’ one. In order to do this, you have to hire fighters to protect your lane against increasingly harder hordes of enemies. In order to recruit them, you will use gold that is earned by killing the attacking enemies and by completing waves. Pretty easy right? This is where things get messy.

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Besides defending, you can also attack your opponents. This is done by hiring mercenaries using mythium, another resource that, unlike gold, is earned in time by training miners. Mercenaries will attack one specific opponent (decided at the start of the game) and, once trained, will boost the gold you earn by completing waves for the rest of the game. This opens up a myriad of possibilities since the game offers a lot of different mercenaries that can be used in very different scenarios: the snail is the very first mercenary you’ll hire in every game, offering basically no power but boosting your initial earnings. There are tank mercenaries, and some that give you reduced income but are more powerful in terms of attack, hp pool or even special abilities. Basically, every match follows a loop: spend gold to train fighters, which defeat enemies and earn gold. Plus, spend gold to train miners, which earn mythium, which you can use to hire mercenaries that attack your opponent AND give you a permanent gold boost on each wave.


Another important concept in Legion TD 2 is leaking. This game heavily relies on coordination with your teammate(s), so much so that a slightly underperforming ally can doom your game: this is particularly true in the mastermind mode (the 2v2 ranked playlist), which at times can be very frustrating. Thus, before buying Legion TD 2, I would really think about convincing a friend to get it too. But let’s get back to leaking: we say that a lane leaks when the invaders destroy all defending forces. Your lane could leak, or your friend’s or your enemies’. The important aspect of leaking is that, if properly managed, it’s not a tragedy: the different lanes do in fact converge into a single one before getting to your team’s king. Here, all the fighters that cleared their lanes are gathered, so that they can make one last defense against the leaked waves. This opens up the strategy that I was talking about in the last chapter: one player can focus on attacking the opponent and making him leak. While he does this, he focuses less on defenses because the other teammate can catch leaks for him.

5. BloonTD 6

Bloons TD 6 is a highly addictive, top-down, 3D, tower defense game. It might look like a flash or mobile port at first glance, but has way more depth and strategy than expected.

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Each fight starts off in a map with a path running through it, your goal is to position monkeys to ensure that none of the enemy balloons make it to the end of that path. There are several different monkeys, all with their own special ability and upgrade trees. As you make progress the enemy balloons get harder to pop and some balloons later in the waves can only be killed by monkeys that have the right upgrades.

There are special monkeys in the game too which are called Heroes, those can be bought with monkey money which is an in-game currency. This currency can be bought with real money but is also earned by completing missions. Heroes are special monkeys that you can bring into play, but unlike the standard monkeys, you are limited to only one of them in the fight at a time. These special and strong heroes automatically upgrade each round until level 20, with each level unlocking a new buff or skill.

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At level 30 you unlock Monkey Knowledge, which is another skill tree to make your monkey troops even stronger. Together with the tons of maps that vary in difficulty, challenges, events, achievements, and CO-OP mode, there is enough to do to keep you busy for many hours.

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