Tower defence and touchscreens go together like toast and jam, Sonny & Cher and Starsky & Hutch. However, it's also becoming increasingly important for these basic games to innovate and provide more than just the same old grind.
By using your own neighbourhood, streets and stomping grounds as the canvas for the action, Crackdown: Project Sunburst manages to stand apart from its peers as a Bing Maps tech demo as well as a solid title in its own right.
The familiar formula of deploying turrets, collecting cash and upgrading your firepower is reassuringly intact, and you'll need to ensure that your selection of guns are placed to take advantage of choke points and potential avenues of attack. Hordes of zombie-esque freaks and armoured enemy vehicles will test your defenses at regular intervals, and the slick touchscreen interface allow you to select individual targets or take direct control of your turrets in a pinch.
However, Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst has a nifty trick up its sleeve. You can use Bing Maps to place your base on real world streets or even your own current location; allowing you to defend your own back yard or pretty much anywhere you fancy. Enemies travel down the real-world roads, and the level of detail is extremely impressive.
Seriously, the thrill of defending your own house or school whilst making fire traps in your neighbour's garden never gets stale.
Crackdown 2 has been out for a while, but just in case you don't know, there's a lot of cross-functionality built into both games. Several achievements unlock content in the sister game and vice versa, providing significant bragging rights and extra kit (like helicopters and infantry support) in the Deluge DLC pack.
The major problem is that Crackdown: Project Sunburst is a little too easy and repetitive. Even the most basic turrets can make light work of the slow swarms of idiot freaks and incoming targets - and after a while, the experience boils down to sitting back and watching your cannons annihilate your foes without incident.
There are also a few technical issues that can spoil the fun from time to time. Friends lists don't work anywhere near as quickly as they ought, and numerous reports of glitchy achievements abound. The aforementioned infantry support and artillery upgrades are also extremely tricksy and difficult to unlock, and the Facebook links with the duck hunter minigame frequently fails to register.
- Accessible, functional tower defence shenanigans
- Bing Maps functionality is absolutely brilliant
- Loads of levels, unlocks and bonus content
- Can get very, very repetitive
- Occasional technical issues
Summary: Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst is a fantastic tower defence title that takes full advantage of Windows Phone 7's capabilities. Crackdown 2 owners will get the most out of the package, but beware that no tower defender is immune to the same old problems of repetition and grind.
Developer: Microsoft Game Studios
Price: £2.49 - Xbox Live Marketplace