While real-time strategy games emerged from the PC ecosystem, the tower defense sub-genre within that space is one I’ve come to more often associated with mobile devices since their scope can be manageable even on smaller screens. Ancient Islands, to me, swims upstream a bit with its style, looking to add back in some complexity with resource management in order to make for a more challenging experience as a whole. While I’d agree that trying to manage your various structures and spells as you fight off foes is a bit more difficult when having to consider more types of resources than normal and the buildings that produce them, I didn’t necessarily feel a sense of reward or accomplishment to go with the added frustrations that would help the effort feel justified. Instead, for me it just felt like a distraction that would sap my attention and an added source of sitting and waiting to get everything needed for the next unit or upgrade. In addition, it’s very much worth noting that if you’re planning to play this on-the-go on the small Switch screen it could be a bit of a challenge as some of the much smaller units will be much tougher to spot even though they’re quite capable of chipping away at your gate (and generally being obstructed while they do so as it is). If you’re a real genre fan give it a try, but if you’re just looking for a solid tower defense game in general there are more polished options out there.
Justin Nation, Score: