Dungeon Defenders was released on October 19th, 2011 for XBLA and Steam, and October 18th, for PSN.It is a 3rd person, tower defense, action RPG made by Trendy Entertainment. The game has the loot, pets and character building of massively multiplayer online RPGís like World of Warcraft, while maintaining simple gameplay and a tower defense format. While Dungeon Defenders doesn't do anything particularly unique, it is a surprisingly deep experience.
For the full video review, watch below.
The cartoonish art style found in Dungeon Defenders succeeds in creating a welcoming fantasy world.The characters are very stylish and the world full of vibrant colours. The game looks good and doesn't run the risk of looking aged anytime soon. Whatís particularly impressive is the simplicity and detail of the mini-map It shows the location, health, and enemy type perfectly, as well as all your defenses, heroes, and routes. Itís surprisingly well done for such a small feature.
While the visuals look great, the game still lacks the charm youíd expect from such a game. The colours can sometimes be overwhelming and indiscernible That most likely stems from the lack of dialogue from the main characters and enemies alike. For instance, Orcs Must Die was a game filled with charm, often because of the chit chat of both the hero and the orcs. While it may have been cheesy, it still oozed character. In Dungeon Defenders, they might as well be zombies, quietly crawling towards you. This again only helps solidify the game as a multiplayer only, as your friends can make up for the lack of dialogue.
The sound in Dungeon Defenders lacks in all departments. With the only real voice over being the narrator, no real memorable music to speak of, and general battle sounds that cover the bare minimum, the gameís sound design lacks the ambition of the rest of the game. It does what it needs to but never really impresses.
Dungeon Defendersí mix of different gameplay elements means there is likely something for everyone.The standout mechanics can be found in the tower defense gameplay as well as the character leveling system, which both work great. The first thing youíll do is create one of 4 hero characters: Apprentice, Squire, Huntress or Monk. There is a welcome level of customization to your heroes that will help differentiate them from the pack. That being said, the game isn't necessarily easy to get into. The level of depth in Dungeon Defenders means there will be a vast difference between the good players and the rest. If youíre typically a casual player, donít be surprised if this isn't your cup of tea.
You place defenses using mana which can be acquired chests and fallen enemies. The variety of defenses one character can place is fairly limited, this creates a reliance on your team members to use each of your strengths to form a unified defense. That being said, if you play alone you will find yourself placing the same traps in the same formation nearly every level.
Donít plan on just sitting back and relying completely on your traps, as that will prove costly. Despite the gameís appearance it can be quite tough whether you are playing alone or with friends. That means your hero, much like in Orcs Must Die, will have to participate in the defense if youíre going to have any chance of victory. Whether youíre repairing your traps, rebuilding destroyed traps, or participating in direct combat, you play a key role in your success or failure. That being said, the combat can be rather unsatisfying, especially near the beginning of the game. Your character is painfully slow and their attacks sadly dissatisfying. While the combat improves as your character and gear improve, be warned that it can be rather dull at the beginning.
Thatís not all there is to it either, as the game features character building, pets, and lots of gear to loot.The leveling of your character works as youíd imagine, perfectly. You get experience with every kill you or your traps get, and when you finally level up you can place your points on strengthening aspects that deal with your defenses or your hero. Itís a great system that lets you customize your hero to your play style. The pets(familiars) in Dungeon Defenders serve a support role. They can do anything from strengthening a towerís attack all the way to repairing the towers on their own. They add a nice level of personality to a game thatís surprisingly lacking in it. The gear in Dungeon Defenders is somewhat frustrating. While it is essential to strengthening your hero, it can be quite frustrating to deal with the clumsy inventory system and have to sort through the endless piles of trash. During the waves you donít have time to look at all the stats of the items dropped, and in between rounds you shouldn't be keeping your team waiting. The game has too much depth when it comes to the inventory, as a simplistic inventory system, or none at all, might have been better. In a genre used to simplicity, 5 different pieces of gear on your hero just seems too much for a game already overflowing with depth. Unless youíre one of the hardcore Dungeon Defenders, the gear will most likely be an afterthought.
What you might have already guessed is that the gameís true value lies in the multiplayer. While the single player functions, it is both difficult and not very fun. The game offers online play as well as split screen for consoles. The stats screen that shows up at the end of the level, win or lose, will show you every players stats in great detail. It can be a fun experience comparing your stats, especially if you know your teammates. If you are planning on playing alone, prepare for a very tedious experience.
Dungeon Defenders is a fairly fun mixture of multiple different genres. On its own, it stands as a fun game that doesn't do anything innovative beyond mixing the genres it did. However, grab a few friends and the game purchase is instantly justified. If youíre willing to deal with the complications of character building, loot, pets, and abilities, you will find an enjoyable experience that you can enjoy with friends or at the very least, other players online.
DEVELOPER: TRENDY ENTERTAINMENT