Tower defense is one of the most popular genres in all of gaming. In this list, we rank fifteen of the best tower defense games for iOS. From fantasy realms to alien planets, these games require strategy and perseverance to beat. With well-designed graphics and interesting sound elements, there are also lots of surprises and challenges to unlock while you play. Best of all, many of these games are free to enjoy. Try just one of these games, or try them all. Either way, tower defense might just be your new gaming obsession.
- Price: $0.99
- Contains ads/in-app purchases
- Great rewards
- Well-integrated mobile hero combat strategy element
Protect your throne from your enemies and bring peace to your frontier kingdom in Empire Warriors, a well-reviewed tower defense game for iOS. Fun and only $0.99 to buy (what’s better than that?) Empire Warriors has more than 120 maps, a good amount of towers to choose from, and eleven heroes to keep gameplay fresh and exciting.
To be successful requires strategy and tactics, and the five power-ups and varied unlockable achievements keeps players engaged. Empire Warriors belongs at the top of the list of best tower defense games according to some, but others find it a bit too close to Kingdom Rush for their liking.
- Price: $2.99
- Problems with the tutorial screen reported
- Super cute graphics and music
- Too hard for some
Jelly Defense is the next tower defense game for iPhones and iPads in our ranking. In this game, players defend Jelly nation and the Diploglobe from any and all invaders. In doing so, they build towers and lead armies in battle. Gameplay is smooth, even when things get intense, with beautiful graphics in a game that’s overall very straightforward to play. The sound design is also notable.
Fans of the game call it arguably the best tower defense ever made, with a well thought-out scoring system. It even holds up well in replay. Some report that the game won’t fit correctly on the screen of newer phones, and that some of the controls are out of reach.
- Price: FREE
- High quality game
- Some prefer earlier versions
- Strategy required
If strategy and deck building are your favorite part of a tower defense game, then you’re in luck — these qualities are exactly what Clash Royale is known for. In this game, players battle in the arena with their deck of cards, including troops, spells, and defenses. The objective is to defeat the king and rescue the princess from her tower. Blending elements of tower defense with collectible card games, Clash Royale now has new Tower Skins and a multiplayer online battle arena. A new season pass is also available.
Gameplay includes sharing cards in a clan to earn even bigger rewards. Overall, it’s a really fun game with lots of attention to detail, and otherwise good design elements. Some do report that this game is pay-to-win, while others claim it’s fun to play without spending money. The matches could be longer, but on the plus side, there are multiple arenas to explore.
Sentinel 4: Dark Star
- Price: $6.99
- Better on a big screen
- Permanent upgrades to your towers, gates, etc.
- Multiple difficulty levels and limitless play modes per level
Next up in our ranking of the best tower defense games is Sentinel 4: Dark Star. There are more than thirty maps set on an alien planet to explore, with Endless Play mode available for all of them. The landscapes are large and multi-screen, which we always enjoy. And to help keep things interesting, there’s also a good selection of enemies and a good selection of weapons to choose from.
Some do prefer Sentinel 3 over the latest version, saying it can be a little too easy on normal mode. Others commented on the challenging maps, tower updates, and fresh enemies to conquer. Don’t miss the new commander abilities!
- No pay to play
- Too hard to win elixirs
- Excellent graphics and gameplay
The eleventh pick in our ranking of iPhone tower defense games is Castle Creeps. In this classic tower defense game, players battle goblins, ogres, and warlords, among other enemies, while building towers and using projectiles to beat back the hordes. The list of foes includes dark elves and assassins, with infantry acting something like barracks from which foot soldiers are deployed to aid in the defense. That’s while heroes are able to move freely, choosing from special moves to fight with.
Castle Creeps also allows players to earn elixir, construct towers, or just improve the ones they’ve already built using currencies and other kinds of resources earned through gameplay. We learned that the game gets pretty difficult in the upper levels. But overall, Castle Creeps belongs among the better, non-grid based games out there, with non-intrusive ads and good replay value.
iBomber Defense Planet
- Price: $4.99 – $17.99
- Visually interesting graphics
- Smooth and cohesive experience
- Feels “unfinished” at points
Not all tower defense games are set in some mystical realm. For example, iBomber Defense Planet takes place on the battlefields of World War II. There are two modes of gameplay: Campaign and Quick Play. Campaign mode offers the choice of fighting for the Axis or Allies. Quick Play mode lets players revisit specific points of the campaign without the ability to upgrade, nor the freedom to adjust enemy wave patterns.
There are two kinds of maps on which to play: land and sea, with upgradeable towers up to three times per mission. Campaigns are linear and can’t be dropped into or out of (although pausing is always an option). The lack of upgrade options in Quick Play mode make certain stages harder to beat. Upgrades include machine guns, comms, and X-weapons, among many others.
- Price: $2.99
- Some UI elements get cut off at edges
- Buggy coin buying, according to reports
- Items could be cheaper
With over twenty explorable levels ranging from grassy fields, deserts, cities, and even a volcano, Fieldrunners 2 is an update on one of the most beloved tower defense games of all time. In the new edition of Fieldrunners, there are puzzles to solve, time trials to compete in, and sudden death penalties to keep things interesting. Airstrikes, explosives, and other imaginative weapons can both be used to combat the enemy while players build trenches, bridges, and tunnels.
There’s even a tower that launches a beehive — how cool is that? Fans call the game great, but not for the casual player, as it does take a fair amount of commitment to play it perfectly and win. Otherwise, gameplay is smooth, with a useful tutorial that helps you get started without giving too much away. A lot of strategy is required to beat the game, with puzzles and mazes to keep things interesting.
Toy Defense 2
- Price: FREE (with in-app purchases)
- Bugs fixed from earlier version
- Bit too basic for some players
- Fun to play; works well
Toy Defense 2 is a nice, free-to-play update on the first edition of the game. The graphics are nicely updated and there are lots of new features to explore, as players recreate some of the most famous battles from World War II, such as Iwo Jima and Operation Overlord. In total, there are more than 200 missions to complete, with vehicles from both the Axis and Allies with which to contend.
For an additional challenge, there are PVP battles, as well as tournaments and a brand-new ranking system to see how well you measure up against other players. Those who’ve tried the game like that the game uses true-to-history campaigns for inspiration, and each one has different paths to explore. The fact that towers have “health bars” is a nice update on the traditional tower defense formula.
Epic Monster TD
- Price: FREE (with ads and in-app purchases)
- Few audio options
- Bit “money grabby”
- Great well-balanced and casual game to play long term
Returning to realms of fantasy, Epic Monster TD is set in a world full of monsters, but also sci-fi style robot armies, in a realm based on classic RPG classes. In the game, players command the United Monsters alliance, the members of which can be upgraded through resources earned, while important items are unlocked. Offline gold earnings and a twice-weekly PVP tournament are also available.
This is by far the isle-defense game available, based on feedback. It’s even a good choice for casual gamers, we learned. There are a limited number of maps, and for this reason, some find gameplay a bit tedious and repetitive. Even though there are ads, it pays off to watch them. Although you can progress quite a ways in the game without paying, there’s a point where the game becomes pay-to-play to keep going.
Plants vs. Zombies 2
- Price: FREE
- Few too many ads
- Many fun new levels
- Fight other players in the arena for crowns
Neither World War II or fantasy realms strike your fancy? If that’s the case, try Plants vs. Zombies 2, the sixth pick in our list of the best tower defense games for iOS. In this update on one of the most popular tower defense games in history, players build a plant food-fueled plant army to defend against hordes of adorable zombies (yes, we called these zombies adorable). All your favorite plants and foes make an appearance, like Lava Guava, Zombie Chickens, and Jetpack Zombie, among others.
Otherwise, this update has amazing new worlds to defend and explore. It is free-to-play, but some money will be needed to acquire objects and move beyond certain points in gameplay. The ads in the new version are a bit more intrusive than they once were, but there are also more free plants to play than there were in the first edition. Try the new “Piñata Party” and “Thymed Events,” as well as new arena and rift trials.
- Price: $9.99
- Easy? That’s debatable
- Leaves you wanting “just one more wave”
- Good variety of offensive & defensive upgrades available
Blending roguelike elements with deck building, Core Defense puts a twist on the classic tower defense formula. Using a simple grid, gameplay is relatively easy and straightforward — simply defend the core from attackers as they make their way from the outside of the grid. Players get seven walls to begin with and the choice to randomly place some of their towers, with each game consisting of fifty waves and lots of variability and choices to keep things interesting.
The game does lack the ability to build a campaign, which pushed it a bit further down our list. But overall, the game is effective and well designed with no real tutorial required to start playing. It’s also easy to play in short sessions. The levels are seed generated, which means you can play them over and over again until you complete them, with a good selection of cards.
Bloons TD 5
- Price: FREE
- Lots of variety
- Can be played co-op
- Controls a bit awkward, some say
Another classic in the iOS genre is Bloons TD 5. If you’re a fan of Bloons TD 4, you’ll be happy to hear the newest edition offers eight upgrades, with some tower types that were not previously available. There are also new Bloon types, daily rewards and challenges, and loads of new tracks and tunnels to explore. In the game, you fight with a monkey army as bloons seige your towers (something like a balloon, “popping” the “bloons” is an addictive part of the game.)
As a player, you’ll start out with in-game cash of your own to upgrade your tower, and there are lots of great monkeys to choose from (like the ninja monkey, which can target the camouflage bloons). Each tower also has a nice series of available upgrades, and it’s in these upgrades where players truly master the game. Be sure to check out all the tower upgrades, and the different modes in which the game can be played.
Green the Planet 2
- Price: FREE (with ads and in-app purchases)
- No pay to win
- Lovely pixel art
- Sme asteroids are unbreakable (bug?)
In a really cool twist on the tower defense formula, Green the Planet 2 is up next in our ranking. Across all the different versions of the game, this is widely considered to be the best tower defense game of all time. Instead of protecting your tower against oncoming hordes of monsters, the object of Green the Planet is to strategically “re-green” an alien world all on your own.
How exactly is that done? Using lasers to decompose comets, of course. And that’s a surprisingly relaxing experience! The guns players can choose from are unique and fun to select. All the different comets and backgrounds are aesthetically pleasing. There are also little adorable characters, and the ads are never obtrusive. Some find the game just a bit too simple, however.
- Price: FREE
- Great music and sound effects
- Run flawlessly
- Tactically challenging
Returning to the fantasy motif, Kingdom Rush is one of the most well-reviewed tower defense games in the genre. In it, players defend their kingdom against all manner of enemies, from evil wizards, to orcs, and trolls. In doing so, you’ll fight across all kinds of landscapes, including imaginative wastelands, mountain ranges, and forested areas.
There are also eight tower upgrades in the game to keep things interesting, with eighteen different tower abilities, and twelve heroes to play. Overall, players love this classic tower defense game. It’s based more on strategy and generally pretty simple to play, with towers that are limited to archers, barracks, mages, and artillery. The art style is clean, and challenges unlock at an adequate pace.
Clash of Clans
- Price: FREE (with in-app purchases)
- Certified classic
- Some crashes and glitches reported
- 100% recommended
And topping our list of the 15 best tower defense games is Clash of Titans. In the game, troops — including barbarians, wizards, and other choices — defend their village, fight within their clan, and form alliances with millions of players from all over the world. Success requires some strategy, whether utilizing spells, troops, or heroes, while resources are gathered (or stolen) for village upgrades.
Another notable thing about Clash of Titans is the freedom to develop your own spells, and even your own siege machine. Keep playing to unlock the barbarian king, grand warden, or battle machine, among other heroes. The overall battle system is a well-reviewed part of the game, and so, too, are the graphics. It’s easy to log into and out of your account, and the ability to team up with friends is another nice feature.
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