Game: Dungeon Defenders
Genre: Tower Defense
System: Xbox 360 (XBLA)
Review By: Illmatic
Nowadays it seems like tower defense games are sprouting up everywhere. Developers are constantly trying to create a solid tower defense game that will hold their audiences’ attention for more than 30 minutes. While most of them were hardly successful, a few of them did get their 15 minutes of fame. Dungeon Defenders is not your run of the mill tower defense game. Incorporating mechanics from other game genres, Dungeon Defenders proves to be in a league all its own, but is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Fun Factor: Dungeon Defenders is a tower defense game by heart, but it does incorporate popular mechanics from the rpg genre. Being a fan of both rpg and tower defense games, I was a little excited to see how the mashup would pan out. After 10+ hours of gameplay, I can tell you that the bonding of these two genres was a brilliant idea. Everything from the leveling up to the intense combat, Dungeon Defenders does not dissapoint in the “Fun Factor” category.
Gameplay: When you first load up Dungeon Defenders you are asked to choose a character class. There are a total of four different classes to choose from, with each class having its pros and cons. Here is a small breakdown of the classes.
Squire- Melee class swordsman whose defense towers deal serious damage.
Apprentice- Ranged Mage who’s defense towers deal elemental damage.
Huntress- Ranged class elfin hunter who defense towers deploy traps.
Monk- Melee class spearman who supports his team with health and cripples his enemies by slowing them down.
Each class has its own difficulty, so my advice is to start with one of the easier classes. I chose to start with the Apprentice, mainly because he has ranged attacks, which gave me a little confidence going into big battles. When you start a match you have some time to set up your towers and configure your characters items before the Battle Wave begins. Once the Battle Wave begins, the doors open and all hell breaks loose, literally. During the Battle Wave, your pre-set towers will attack oncoming enemies, but be careful, stronger enemies can completely obliterate your towers in seconds. It is at this point when the game shows how it differs from all other tower defense games and truly becomes magical. One of the biggest gameplay mechanics in Dungeon Defenders that really sets it apart from traditional tower defense games is the ability to use hand to hand combat. And, in true rpg fashion, you can pick up better weapons and items during your gameplay.
One of the biggest things that surprised me was how deep the rpg elements in this game are. When battling foes and whatnot, your character gains XP. When enough XP is collected your character gains a level and is given a few points to spend on attributes. While we have seen this before in rpg games, I honestly can’t say that I have seen this in a tower defense game, EVER!
All in all, Dungeon Defenders is truly a beast when it comes to tower defense gameplay!
Graphics: Utilizing the Unreal Engine, it would have been almost impossible to make this game look bad. Character models are well rendered, detailed and sharp. Environments are vibrant, and offer top notch lighting effects. One thing I found interesting was that there were hardly any frame rate issues. Even during intense battles with a screen enemies, the game never dropped in frame rate. This is hardly seen in XBLA titles. Of all the XBLA games that I have played this year, this has to be one of the best looking titles.
Sound: During gameplay, the sounds and music in the game builds anticipation of what is about to happen. You have your combat music and you have your non-combat music. Although these musical tracks can get a little old pretty fast, they are composed effectively and do their job quite well.
Replayability: The main focus on this game is multiplayer. The game truly shows its true colors when you connect with other players over XBOX LIVE. Building strategies with your teammates ensures that no two games will ever play the same. With numerous maps, modes, and character customizations, Dungeon Defenders offers as much, if not more replayability than most retail releases. I know I will continue to log in hours as I try to master all four classes.
Developer: Trendy Entertainment
XBLA Publisher: Reverb Publishing, D3Publisher
Platforms: PSN, XBLA, PC (Steam)
MSRP: $14.99 (1,200 MSPoints)