Fieldrunners 2 review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC
Publisher: Subatomic Studios
Developer: Subatomic Studios
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Considering that a) tower defense is a pretty popular mobile genre and b) the Vita’s touchscreen makes it well-suited to that particular kind of game, you would think it would logically follow that c) there’d be plenty of tower defense games on the Vita. But that’s not really the case; you can probably count the number of them on one hand. If you’re just counting the ones worth playing, there’s a Pixeljunk Monsters port that’s not too bad, and basically nothing else.

Enter Fieldrunners 2. Or, as I like to call it, the best tower defense game on the Vita. Admittedly, this isn’t a huge accomplishment; when your competition is stuff like Day D Tower Rush and Fort Defense, it’s not a very crowded field. Still, it’s easy to imagine that even if there were a few more challengers, Fieldrunners 2 would still fend them all off.

Fieldrunners 2To a large extent, this is because the game just works exactly like it’s supposed to. You wouldn’t think simple competence would be a selling point for a game, but, then again, you probably haven’t played some of those aforementioned competitors. In Fieldrunners 2, it’s easy to figure out what each tower does, easy to place them exactly where you want them to go, and easy to upgrade them whenever you want. There’s no fumbling around on a hard-to-read map with weapons that don’t look very different from each other; here, you just see everything laid out in a clear fashion, and go from there.

In other words, we’re able whittle the list of the Vita’s worthwhile tower defense down to 2 just by setting up a very low bar. And what sets Fieldrunners 2 apart from Pixeljunk Monsters HD, you ask? I’ll admit, a lot of it just comes down to aesthetic preferences. Fieldrunners 2 looks crisp and clear on the Vita’s screen in a way that Pixeljunk didn’t, with characters and vehicles and weapons that look bright and shiny. On top of that, there’s the fact that Fieldrunners 2 doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to gameplay. It’s designed to be playable by gamers of all skill levels, rather than ramping up the difficulty early on; it gives lesser players the chance to play on casual difficulty, while people who want more of a challenge can try the harder difficulty levels.

Fieldrunners 2_2

Obviously, the fact Fieldrunners 2 is so good shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The first Fieldrunners game was a highlight of the PSP’s library, while this one has already shown how good it can be on both mobile devices and PC. Still, it managed to come over to the Vita without losing anything that makes it special, and consequently it’s a definite must-play.

Grade: A