Playing BTD 3
Starting with the first major improvement, the game now features eight different tracks, each with their own easy, medium and hard difficulty levels instead of the three tracks in the previous version.
Moving on to the balloon improvements, there are two new types of balloons apart from the existing red, blue, green, yellow, black, white, rainbow and lead balloons. The first type is the Porcelain balloon, which is obviously a misnomer because it is nowhere near as easy to break as real porcelain. The second is the aptly named "MOAB" which stands for "Mother of All Bloons", looks like a World War II era airship and takes just as many strikes to destroy. Porcelain balloons open up to reveal two rainbow balloons which then follow the progression of previous versions while the MOAB's entrails consist of everything horrible that you can think of wherever the word "entrails" is used. But no, really, it has a load of all kinds of balloons, which makes it just as horrible to any Bloons fan.
To deal with these new mega-threats, you have a host of new towers and upgrades. You still have the Dart tower, now correctly called the Dart Monkey, the Ice tower or Ice Ball, the Cannon, the Boomerang, Road Spikes, Tack Shooter, Monkey Glue and the Super Monkey, but now you also have the Spike-o-pult, which throws spiked balls to burst balloons, the Monkey Beacon, which increases the range and attack of the surrounding towers, and the Pineapple, which is basically a bomb that you place on the path which bursts after two seconds, popping every balloon in range. Also, because spoilers are awesome, there is a top secret weapon which is actually a Super Monkey wave which pops all balloons on the map at that time.
The upgrades include triple darts for the Dart Monkey, blades instead of tacks for the Tack Shooter, glaives that can take out eight balloons at a time instead of boomerangs for the Boomerang, missiles that frag on impact for the Cannon and plasma vision so damaging that it would make the X-Men's Cyclops look harmless in comparison to the Super Monkey. All these are among the four possible upgrades per tower. The new towers too have great upgrades, with the Spike-o-pult being able to fire 3 balls at once and the Monkey Beacon being the one which gives you the Super Monkey wave attack.
The actual play doesn't change much, although the interface has been slightly improved. You now have the "Free Play" option, which means you can continue to play beyond the 50 levels that you need to cross to win the game. Then there's a nifty little feature called "Target Priority", which sets the priority to either first or last for a tower, making the game more strategy-based than before.
Because of the increased level of difficulty for this version, there really is no foolproof way of getting through all of the levels; especially with eight different tracks. For the easy tracks though, try to focus on the center of the map, especially where two paths come close to each other. Start with a Dart Monkey, build Tack towers at the initial loops and a Cannon as soon as possible. Follow this up with a Boomerang. Make sure they are close to the Dart Monkey but leave enough space around so that you can build a Monkey Beacon around them. Upgrade the towers as you build them, and then hoard money until you can get your first Super Monkey. A fully upgraded Super Monkey should make it plain sailing until level 40, after which you will need a second Super Monkey, preferably fully upgraded too. This should help you complete the game. Use Road Spikes wherever necessary, especially on clumps of black balloons. Towards the end you should also be able to use the Super Monkey Wave once a level, and if you have a stream of balloons heading towards the exit, use it.
How it looks
Graphics seem to be a bit more streamlined, but are still very basic. This is probably more out of necessity though because the game tends to lag a lot in the latter stages when you have close to a thousand Balloons per level. The audio is delightfully the same, that is, non-existent.
Worthy or not?
BTD 3 is probably one of the best tower defense games ever. The variety, the level of challenges presented, the simplistic setting; everything adds to one extremely pleasing game. The continuing lack of a preset grid on which to build towers is disappointing though, because you have to keep looking for pixels of space where you can fit towers. All in all though, it isn't hard to see why this game has such a big fan base.