By DAVIN ARUL
IT'S all in the execution, baby. As casual games go, Army of Darkness: Defense doesn't offer anything that's innovative or shut-my-mouth awesome.
What sets it apart is that a) it's really easy to get into and keep playing; and b) most of all, it's so full of fan-favourite moments that you're compelled to try and try again - if only to savour those nuggets of dialogue.
Oh, and it will also remind gamers just how much Duke Nukem borrowed from Ash, the irrepressible hero of AoD.
The premise is simple: Ash, time-displaced defender of the Book of the Dead, or Necronomicon, must keep it from falling into the hands of the Deadite army, undead nasties led by an evil version of himself.
The setup for the game is told (mostly) in the game's prologue, in case you're one of those deprived legions who have never watched the movie.
Long story short, the book is secured behind a protective gate while Ash and his allies - whoever he can afford, in this case - defend it against wave after wave of Deadites.
The game ends if the Deadites capture the book, or kill Ash. Both are distinct possibilities, but Ash has a few things on his side: attitude, special abilities and upgrades! Get through Wave 50 and you'll unlock Endless mode where the score can literally run into the millions.
In addition to the thrill of defeating Evil Ash, Possessed Sheila and their cohorts, there are also 52 Achievements to strive for.
Be warned that some of these - like One Man Show, defeating a wave without summoning any allies - seem possible only in the initial 50 waves. So, if you're the kind who thrives on Achievements, don't be in such an all-fired hurry to send the Deadites back to the pit that spawned them.
Backflip Studios, maker of Ninjump, has spared no effort to make AoD:D attractive to fans of the movie. Music, villains and much-loved sound bites from the film abound, and the game's cartoony rendition of our jut-jawed hero is just right.
To be really true to the movie, perhaps Backflip should have inserted an option after Wave 50 for the gamer to play through to a "good" or "bad" ending for Ash - a nod to the movie's alternate endings which have divided fans for years. (But that's what app updates are for.)
Still, Backflip is to be congratulated for turning an almost-20-year-old property into an addictive and highly replayable game. One that's still free for the moment, I must add. So
shop smart, shop Apps-Mart ... Store ... whatever. Come get some!
ARMY OF DARKNESS: DEFENSE
Castle defence game for the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad
PRICE: Free for now, with in-game purchases