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 to try out in 2023.

1. Mindustry

Imagine a simplified version of Factorio that is also a tower defense game. The game involves mining resources, building factories, towers, support structures, and units to either defend from waves of enemies or attack an enemy base. Each area presents different challenges with regard to available space and accessible resources.

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There is a campaign that revolves around securing zones on a planet and capturing various enemy bases while researching new units, resources, and buildings. There are also custom games to play with or again other players or bots. It is a very fun game if you enjoy resource management, tower defense, or puzzle games.

The game supports up to 16-player multiplayer and has very good support for community content (schematics, custom maps, etc.) Definitely worth a try if you're into this kind of game.

2. Creeper World

Creeper World is somewhat of a tower defense game, though I think the strategy genre fits it better. Your mobile city cannot withstand much damage, so it must be protected from the enemy known as creeper. The city is typically in the furthest corner, but some missions are a bit sneaky and have long-term threats that can encroach on it over several minutes. From this city, you'll build a network of energy nodes. Each unit will draw energy from the ground around it, expressed by the green perimeter. The less bare dirt you see, the better. This energy is needed to build and fuel weapons, which must be connected to the network in order to receive more ammo. Plus, as you advance your units, they may take some damage, which can be repaired if they're attached to the network.

Creeper World 4
Creeper World 4

Missions will include a few objectives that you need to connect to your network, as well as a few enemy units that create creepers. Creeper is essentially a fluid that pools up and spreads across the map, acting as an acid that destroys energy nodes on contact, and heavily damages your weapons. Since it acts like a liquid, and each map includes differing height levels, where you choose to attack it can influence how well you restrain it. Any creeper that's cut off from a source will eventually dissipate.

3. GemCraft - Chasing Shadows

At first glance it may work and look like a standard TD game - monsters enter the map in waves, walk to our base along predefined paths and we have to defend it by building towers and traps, as well as occasionally using some spells. However, not only Gemcraft does it superbly but it also offers depth and complexity you won't find in most TD games.

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GemCraft - Chasing Shadows

The most unique and fun feature of the game, in my opinion, is the wave angering. Players can spend some mana to make monster waves stronger (by increasing monster numbers and stats), which allows you to gain more mana and experience from killing the monsters... IF you can kill them that is. This one feature changes the gameplay from simple defense to the "how far can I push it" competition.

Another feature, which adds extra replayability value, is the ability to customize levels. It's pretty fun to return to some of early levels later in the game to see how much stronger you have become by beating the level with some extra difficulty settings. You can add more waves, make monsters stronger, faster, tougher or tweak some game rules to get a harder map with higher experience multiplayer.

4. 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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BloonTD 6

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, which have powerful abilities and automatically upgrade each round until level 20, with each level unlocking a new buff or skill. 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.

5. Broken Universe

Broken Universe is a fun tower defense with plenty of gameplay considerations to help it feel nice and modern, and little tweaks to the typical Tower Defense formula including mission goals that balance risk versus reward and encourage strategic play. Highly recommended if you're looking for a good classic tower defense. It is fairly difficult for a TD, but that's a plus in my book.

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Broken Universe

There is a LOT to unlock as you play, and interactions between towers that you continue to get the whole time (fun Fusion mechanic turns two compatible towers into one tower with aspects of each, typically much stronger as you would expect since it costs two for one). It has an engaging gameplay loop.

6. Element TD 2

Most creeps and towers belong to one of six elements – light, dark, water, fire, nature and earth. Each element is strong and weak against another element. So for example fire creeps will take double damage from water towers, but only half damage from nature towers.

Element TD 2

If you have ever liked tower defense games this is for you. It has everything; a challenging campaign with achievements, hints if you work for a living and can't devote endless hours to devise the best strategy, and hints that you can also turn off if you like the hard path. You can change the modes from easy to insane, multiplayer with leaderboards, a variety of maps, and they are changeable to your style and preference of play.

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