Travel back in time to the glorious iPod touch days. Before smartphones when basic games were revolutionary. Bloons has been around for a long time, but I never gave it another look once I moved to a smartphone. I found out that I have indeed been missing out.
Bloons is simple on the outside with sort of depth in the middle. My biggest issues with it are the insta monkeys and the pay to win powers. If you choose to ignore these features then I think you will overall have a great time. Insta monkeys and the powers let you essentially cheat the difficulty. They cost nothing in the match and give you a huge advantage. However, my understanding is that you can ignore these and still do the full content, even though it will be much harder.
The entire premise of the game is the standard tower defense. You have to stop the terrible bloons from reaching the end of the track. You have a ton of maps to choose from, and they vary on challenge levels. Each map also has different modifiers that you can apply to make it harder. On top of all that every map is also playable with co-op up to four different players. There is even matchmaking if you don't have any friends online.
Co-op is a bit different in bloons. You share all the exp and money with everyone in the game. So if a Bloon gave 4 exp and 4 gold per kill each player would receive 1. You can send money to others players to save up for expensive units, or to get a hero out early in the game.
Heroes are strong units that will level up as the game progresses. This means it's best to get the unit out ASAP so they can gain levels. Some of them are extremely powerful so the cost to get them out is different and is part of the balancing to them. For instance, Psi can hit from across the map with unlimited range, while other units may be short-range only. Some heroes also have skins you can unlock using monkey cash. Monkey cash is gained from winning your match or buying it from the cash shop. You can unlock all these heroes and skins for free just by playing the game.
Monkey Knowledge is incredibly important. It's an account-wide progression, and if you have the perk unlocked then everyone in the game also has it unlocked. It's essentially a skill tree and you unlock more points by leveling up or buying them on the cash shop. Every monkey in the game has a perk or two that will increase their strength. There are some huge power bonuses as well. For instance one of my favorites is Mana Shield. It creates a special shield that absorbs up to 25 lives for free. It recharges slowly each round if no bloons make it to the end. The other perk I really enjoy give you a free dart monkey every game. Sometimes this means you don't have to place any other unit and can get an early hero out.
You can purchase the game on Steam, and then purchase it on an AppStore for your smart device. You can link them together to play cross-platform, or cross progress. It's nice when you have a lunch break and feel like popping some bloons.
While the game is very basic, it does get extremely hard and has plenty of challenges. I really didn't think I would be playing Bloons in 2021 but here I am. I highly recommend this to players who enjoy tower defense games.