Asterix is a very popular European comic book series that has spawned several animated movies and even video games over the years. But it’s not very well known here in the US. Asterix and his large friend Obelix are Gauls who defend their small village from the Roman army by using their wits and their magical super strength potion. I don’t know much about it myself, but from what I can tell, it looks like the European equivalent of Popeye. And now you can help Asterix defend his village from an army of Romans who want to take their secret potion with Asterix: Total Retaliation. It’s a strategy game that bears more than a passing resemblance to Plants vs. Zombies. It’s available for iOS devices, but reviewed for iPad here.
Gameplay is on a checkered field and Roman soldiers of all types will slowly approach from the right. If three of them reach the left side of the screen, it’s Game Over. You must strategically place village members (characters from the comics) in various locations so they can whittle down the approaching Romans. Each villager has a different kind of projectile attack or other abilities. You can also place blockades and other objects to slow the Romans down, too.
Placing villagers will cost you potions. They are thrown out onto the field at various intervals, similar to the sunlight drops in Plants vs. Zombies. If you can tap the potions while they are in midair, you’ll get a bonus (but it’s easier said than done). One thing that is different here than in Plants vs. Zombies is that you can only place one kind of villager at a time. But you can move them around the field once they are out there (it’ll cost you some potions, though). You can also use other characters (like Asterix’s pup Dogmatix) once a meter fills up and you have enough potions, and these special ones can clear out a row of Romans when you’re in a pinch. Between levels you may unlock new villagers to use.
The difficulty certainly ramps up quicker here than it does in Plants vs. Zombies, so I would only get this one if you love the Asterix comic characters and/or enjoy Plants vs. Zombies but want more of a challenge. Here’s a link to another Asterix iPad game I reviewed earlier this year called Asterix: Megaslap!
Violence is all cartoony stuff. You hit Romans with projectiles like music notes, and there are plenty of ‘smoke and fists’ fights. If you’re OK with your kids watching old cartoons like Popeye, they’ll be OK with the game, too. Reading skill is needed for the text, and younger gamers and less experienced players may get frustrated at the high challenge level.