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Mush War: Waging War on the Player

On its surface, Mush War looks like a fun and attractive tower defense game. It deviates little from the format the genre is known for; a top-down view of a path leading from the enemy spawn point to the thing you’re in charge of defending, which is – as you might expect from a game called Mush War – a mushroom. During play, lines of enemies traverse these lanes in an attempt to reach your mushroom, requiring you to build and upgrade towers to keep them at bay.

mushwarHowever, Mush War also features a lesser-known mechanic common to many tower defense games; the need to blow up detritus between waves to make room for your towers. Generally this earns you currency and may even spawn ready-made towers, but is also fairly tedious – especially at the start of each level when the few weak towers you have must plink away at a nearby obstacle to make space. Despite this qualm, Mush War’s gameplay and presentation are solid. It’s a perfectly serviceable tower defense game, if a little unremarkable.

But the thing that makes Mush War the most heinous experience I’ve reviewed for iOS is definitely its in-app purchase and promotion strategy. You are bothered to sign up, invite your friends, and come back every day each time you launch the game. The game includes many optional areas and a few time-attack style levels as part of the main campaign that seem to virtually require investment to perform well in, or to complete without at least a few attempts… And did I forget to mention? Mush War leans on the grungiest of grungy iOS business practices, an “energy bar” that refills each day and must otherwise be refilled with real money, thus greatly limiting your daily playtime – especially as the levels grow in difficulty.

mushwarIn the end, it’s Mush War’s insistence on hounding and punishing the player for not investing in it that nullifies what little charm and uniqueness the game actually has. It would be trivial to find a better free tower defense game than Mush War and even easier to find one that has greater respect for the player’s time, and for those reasons I can not in recommend it in good conscience.

About Michael Dischleit

Mike Dischleit, aka Retneug, is a consummate gamer and avid congoer from Ontario, Canada. When he isn't playing or reviewing iphone games, he enters a state of suspended animation until reinvigorated by the release of a hot new iOS title. Should the industry falter he may never reawaken.

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