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5 Best Tower Defense Games of All Time, Ranked

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Best Tower Defense Games

Sometimes the simplest concepts are the most fun. A perfect example of that is tower defense games. The goal is simple: use the defenses at your disposal to stop the wave of invading enemies from getting to your castle, home, base, or whatever it may be. However, the waves of attackers become more challenging the more successful you are. Eventually, you'll reach a point where you are under a constant barrage of enemies coming at you from all sides. But in the end, it's the growing difficulty that makes tower defense-style games a consistently fun experience. That's why, if you truly want to put your strategic defense skills to the test, these are the five best tower defense games to do it with.

5. Dungeon Defenders II

Dungeon Defenders II - Launch Trailer | PS4

Most tower defense games give you a birds-eye view of your base and the area in which you need to defend. Utilizing a grid-based layout to strategically set up your defenses. At least, that's what most people think of when they hear tower defense games. However, Dungeon Defenders II doesn't follow the stereotypical style of tower defense games. Instead, it incorporates RPG aspects, that put you right in the heat of battle. Which, really takes the whole tower defense concept, to the next level.

By yourself, or in four-player co-op, you can set up defenses like turrets, barriers, quicksand, and even a wall of flamethrowers. After that, arm your group of heroes—who could be Wizards, Knights, Robots, Dark Sorcerers, and more—and join the fight. Dungeon Defenders II is a fantastic option if you're looking for a less passive tower defense game that puts you in the heart of the action. And, evidently, the reason we have it as one of the best tower defense games of all time is due to its innovative approach to the genre, which is endlessly entertaining.

4. Mindustry

Mindustry V7 Trailer

If you want a tower defense game, that subs out the brawns for brains, then turn to Mindustry. This open-world tower defense game heavily focuses on RTS and factory management as its main two elements. Consequently, because Mindustry is a factory-building game first. Where you develop your factory from scratch, then further use it as a production line to supply your defenses and army. Then, once you have a well-oiled factory up and running, and your defenses and army at the ready, you'll need to capture other enemy bases all while stopping the hordes of enemies who are looking to destroy your defenses and factory.

Think of Mindustry's RTS almost in the same vein as Starcraft, but in an 8-bit, open-world setting. As a result, you can bank on the fact that Mindustry is not an easy-to-learn tower defense game. It has a lot of steps to learn and factors to consider with each decision. All of which will always have you strategizing the best new way to set up your defenses. But as we said from the begging, the best tower defense games get increasingly harder as you go; that's the fun. And well, evidently Mindustry is one of the best due to its degree of difficulty, which you'll find is equalling rewarding.

3. They Are Billions

They Are Billions - Official Trailer

They Are Billions does tower defense on a massively proportionate scale. In They Are Billions, you must manage human colonies, who are on the brink of extinction due to the viral zombie outbreak. And, with only a few thousand humans left, and quite literally billions of zombies, you can bet you'll be taking on massive swarms of enemies. That's why if you haven't yet, take a look at the official trailer embedded above to get a sense of the massive onslaught you'll be fending off in They Are Billions.

So one thing you can bank on, is that They Are Billions takes the concept of tower defense, to the extremes. However, that's also in our eyes, what makes it one of the best tower defense games of all time. The game features over 48 missions and more than 60 hours of content. Near the end, some waves of zombies can reach up to 20,000 units, on screen.

2. Bloons TD 6

You've most likely heard of Bloons TD before, that's because it's the most well-known tower defense game for mobile devices. This evidently is reflected by its series that consists of six games. However, if you want the most refined experience of the game, turn to Bloons TD 6.

This game is arguably the simplest take on the tower defense genre. Evidently, because it employs the simplest strategy possible—enemies approach your fortress via one primary route, and you place fortifications along that path to thwart them. However, it's because Bloons TD 6 has mastered the simplicity of tower defense that it's such a joy to play.

The goal is simple as can be, but as we said, it increasingly gets more difficult. To the point where you won't even be able to make out how many waves of enemies are approaching your base, or if they will ever stop. Thus, Bloons TD 6 is one of the best games for introducing players to the tower defense genre, and getting them hooked on it.

1. Plants Vs. Zombies

Plants vs. Zombies Game Trailer

No question about it, Plants Vs. Zombies is one of, if not the best tower defense game of all time. At the very least, it's the most well-known. And that's because the game has a hilarious take on the genre. Which, you won't understand exactly how wildly absurd the game can be until you give it a shot. It may play like Bloons TD 6 or another straightforward tower defense game, but it has a steady learning curve that always puts tactics first. Even if it frequently hides it behind comedic efforts.

In the adventure mode of Plants Vs. Zombies, there are over 50 levels where you battle 26 distinct kinds of zombies. On the other hand, you have more than 50 plants at your disposal to assist in warding off the walking dead. So, if you want a tower defense game, that isn't as mind-bending as Mindustry, but not quite as simple as Bloons TD 6, Plants Vs. Zombies is the ideal tower defense game, that has the perfect balance of both.

So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there other, best tower defense, games that we should know about? Let us know in the comments below or over on our socials here!

Riley Fonger is a freelance writer, music lover, and gamer since adolescence. He loves anything video game-related and grew up with a passion for story games such as Bioshock and The Last of Us.