Flash Element TD

By Shamus Posted Monday Jan 15, 2007

Filed under: Game Reviews 26 comments

So addictive.


The idea is that little creeps run through this hedge maze, and you must stop them before they can exit again. You build defenses like arrow towers and cannons to pummel the creeps as they run the maze. If too many make it through, the game is over.

It’s deviously simple and single-minded, but the fact that your biggest source of income is interest earned on money you still have makes the game very interesting. The money you save now will build on itself later, which encourages you to push your luck and avoid building as much as you might need.

I got the link from Jay. I finally managed to beat the game, with 17,810 points and $8,631 in the bank. Is that good? I dunno. The author keeps mucking about with the game and making balance changes, which means you can’t compare yesterday’s scores with today’s.

Obsessive over-analysis follows:

Several factors affect the difficulty of a wave of creeps. First is the number of hit points each one has. The game starts with 10hp creeps at level one and ends with 30,000hp creeps at level thirty-eight. The second factor is the length of the line – how many total creeps there are. The third factor is the speed at which they move.

Early in the game you can build cannons, which will tear through a long line of slowly-moving creeps, but will be inneffective against a short line of fast-moving ones. The game keeps switching these parameters around, making the lines shorter or longer and the movement faster or slower. This can create a false sense of security on one level, leading you to get overwhelmed in the next.

Placing defenses in the middle seems tempting, but after some trial and error I see this is misleading. A tower in the middle gets to shoot at everyone once. To look at it another way, the line has to pass by it once. Lines are generally short enough that a tower on the right side of the screen will be more effective because the line will pass it twice. The last guy will have moved out of range by the time the guy at the head of the line comes back into range. So, I found towers along the top (which can reach both the entrance and exit) and along the right (which must be passed twice) to be the most cost effective.

In my picture above, the tower on the far left is the most wasteful. A lot of its coverage is wasted because it is so close to the edge of the board. The creeps have to endure it only once. The fact that the maze takes them all the way around it helps, but in the long run this just isn’t as helpful as making them walk by it twice.

It is possible to build water towers, which slow down the enemy, but once in a while you get a level where the creeps are immune to this. Since you have to cope with these levels from time to time, I found it was better to not waste money on water defenses.

There are also “flying” units that attack. They still follow the maze, but cannons can’t hit them. So, rather than try to balance two different types of defenses (air and ground) I just built a whole bunch of arrow towers, which can attack both. Arrows aren’t as effective as cannons or anti-air towers, but you can make up for this by building lots of them.

My own solution was to increase my interest rate for the first few upgrades, and then buy fire towers. I wish the author would settle down and stop fiddling with the game, as it would be fun to compare strategies and see what works.


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26 thoughts on “Flash Element TD

  1. Ben Finkel says:

    It looks pretty. I’ll try it.


  2. Rich says:

    Saw this at Nodwick and have been playing it a while. Your comments are intriguing and force me to play it yet again. ;)

  3. Craig Moynes says:

    Can’t. Stop. Playing.

  4. astro says:

    Argh! Too addictive. I’ve already wasted a couple of hours and I just can’t beat it. Best effort was dying on the last level with 7332 points and -33 gold…

  5. Hmmm… sounds like you did better than me, but I don’t know if it’s changes in the last 48 hours. But my emphasis was on fire and water. Water to slow them down so I could hit them more times with each tower.

    I did fire for the first upgrade, which comes RIGHT before the first flyer level. That meant that I could sell all my cannons and replace them with a single fire tower.

    I’m going to have to experiment more with placement. I tended to rely on the center a lot, but by the time I finally beat the game I’d had to stagger things out a lot more to prevent my towers from overkilling one target and letting others pass. PARTICULARLY with the water towers.

    My score after beating the game was just a hair under 10k, so it looks like you might have the more clever strategy.

  6. astro says:

    Finally got it. 20710 w/ 11982 left in the bank. I was using far too much firepower early, it worked much better when I just built up the bank with interest.

  7. 808 says:

    thank you for sucking all the free time out of my life.

  8. bloopy says:

    i had a hard time finishing ’til i read astro’s 2nd comment about using far too much firepower early on in the game. . . once i read that mistake and realized i was doing the same thing, i limited my arrow towers to just what i needed and in the end only used six, buffed up once. . . the first wood powerup i jacked up the interest. . . the 2nd and 3rd i can’t remember, one was interest, the other was fire. . . from then on i just jacked up the interest and slowly added fire towers, but only when i thought i’d need ’em for the following level. . .

    i chose to only buff the fire towers once, to save money and also ‘cuz i figured that for the last two levels more towers would be better than powerful towers. . . eventually my gold got up above 12,000 and with all the interest it was almost more than i could spend. . . for the last level my map was pretty much completely covered with fire towers that had been buffed once. . .

  9. bloopy says:

    whups, forgot to mention that using the above strategy i finished. . . i think my score was about 25,000 and i had about 14,000 gold in the bank but i could be wrong about that. . .

  10. Pixy Misa says:

    I got to level 37…

    Maybe I’ll give it another go. ;)

  11. Pixy Misa says:

    Or not. I closed the page, and now I can’t get it back. :(

  12. Pixy Misa says:

    Okay, finished it. But I only got 7741 points, and nothing in the bank.

  13. Hagan says:

    Man I cant break 3000, I keep dying at 37. Arrow towers the way to go early? I generally use just two cannons built up and one fire built up slowly until level 25, but it just doesnt seem enough.

    Strategy thought? is it worth it to worry about killing the 35,000 hp boss? You can take him with a ton of firepower, or should you just let him make his laps?

  14. Pixy Misa says:

    36,158 points, 26790 in the bank! Yay! :D

    I let the bosses go round and nailed them on the second lap. Otherwise you’re spending too much ahead of time.

    The combo towers rule, but you get a better score if you go for fire towers and compound interest.

  15. Tom Gunn says:

    Curse you, curse you for pointing me to yet another game I get sucked into to easily. :P After a few failed attemts I finished the game with 14K points and 8K in the bank… must resist obsesive-compulsive attempts to improve score.

  16. Luke says:

    Dude, I hate you. I’m addicted now! :P

  17. =naioshi= says:

    Hi all! Here is my Flash element TD 200k strategy video:

    part1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_auLKoCLeMA (lvl 1-21)
    part2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpCiE_5HvGo (lvl 22-39)

    Score 201,898. No cheats, no exploits!!!! Comments and tips on strategy are welcome.

    My observations:

    1. even with the same tower placement you can get different results each game
    2. the efficiency in the early levels is crucial to score high
    (the score depends on money, money depend on efficiency and raise exponentially)
    3. there are some extra-tough levels (fast, boss) where buying extra towers just for the level and selling them before the level ends is a good idea
    4. you have 20 lives which don’t generate cash. cash does. you can convert some of the lives to cash by delaying tower upgrades


  18. Kyle says:

    How to do goodness on this game:
    1st level: 1 base cannon tower on the right-hand side
    2nd level: bump it one upgrade
    3rd: bump it to max
    4th: no change
    5th: add 2nd cannon
    6th: bump it one
    7th: bump it to max
    use your wood to research fire towers – you won't be building anything but fire towers until the very end game
    8th level (first flyers): add 1 fire tower on the right side.
    9-14: upgrade that fire tower SLOWLY – save your money.

    Don't upgrade or add towers until a significant group manages to get past the fire zone's left side – upgrade it before they come around to the other side, if necessary.

    Use your second wood after level 14, 21 and 28 to increase interest to 15%

    Add/upgrade fire towers as slowly as possible. Until you're in the mid-20s, you will not need to add many towers – four or five is plenty if they're placed in the right-hand sweet spot. You should be able to save at least 10 or 20 thousand gold up.

    For your very last upgrade, at level 35, research water towers and place one to slow down the creeps as they come into the death zone. You'll still only have a handful of fire towers until the high 30s – then you'll need LOTS of them.

    Mass fire towers seem to do better against the late hordes than rocket towers; that 2000 damage is awesome but it has no splash, and to get the rockets you have to blow all your upgrades on elemental towers. Far better to get the interest and use the money to buy more fire.

  19. Tola says:

    Interesting that it’s using things taken directly from Warcraft 3.(Specifically, the artwork.) I can’t say I approve.

  20. John says:

    Tola, Ever come to think that the maker of Warcraft 3 Made this game? :)

  21. John says:

    Nevermind I got confused, lol

  22. Nathaniel says:

    This is a fun game, and different (at least) from the WC3 version, I definately enjoy the Warcraft version more.

    In your posts you off-handedly mention that you don’t like Warcraft 3, but how much time do you spend with the editor? The custom games online? That’s really where the fun is.

  23. tomas says:

    this site contains links to LOTS of flash tower defense games:


    i recommend xeno tactics: VERY challenging

  24. Mike says:

    Nice,i love WC3 style games,looking forward more like this
    game come out.
    xeno tactics is good,the air troops are awful…i got stuck with them.
    PS:Xeno Tactic 2 is available here

  25. Steve says:

    Oooh this is a fun game. Beat it a few times there are some easy tricks to win.

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