Sometimes you want to play a third person fantasy action RPG. Sometimes you want to play a versatile fantasy tower defense. And sometimes, you get so excited about playing both, you can’t decide which one’s for you. So how about both? Did you want to play with your friends too? Well, excellent! Dungeon Defenders is here for you in your time of need, whether you want to play online with your friends or all alone.
But really, though. That’s what it’s all about. It’s a creep-crawling action-intensive tower defense that permits direct intervention on part of the player if your towers aren’t handling things well enough. Or, you can forgo the towers and focus on empowering your character, allowing them to carve through wave upon wave of enemies as if they’re nothing. I’ll give you a basic rundown of the game itself, then the playable characters.
Stages are oriented around one or several Eternia Crystals which the player is meant to protect against enemy creeps. Creeps spawn a fair distance away from the Eternia Crystals. Their spawn zones make all but ranged creeps invulnerable until they leave the circle, as to prevent spawn clogging. While some tower defenses favor mazing, Dungeon Defenders favors blocking and bottlenecking; creeps that are stuck in unmoving clusters are easier to wipe out with AoE and chain towers.
The variety of creeps ranges from easy-peasy to help-me-god. Some walk in straight lines to the crystals, some fly over terrain, some resurrect allies and create armies of regenerative skeletons, and some suicide by exploding violently. There are plenty, plenty more, so never you worry about running out of ways to lose.
Now on to characters. There are four characters available to non-DLC players: The Apprentice, the Huntress, the Squire, and the Monk. The Apprentice is generally the most favorable for solo players, as his towers are powerful and durable when properly empowered. By my standards, he’s the most loyal to the tower defense genre. Utilizing exploding fireballs, chain lightning, and deadly single-strikes, he can really control the battlefield.
Second most loyal is the Squire. He’s got a lot of towers that focus on keeping enemies at bay so he can come in and chop them to pieces. As a naturally tanky melee class, the Squire makes a great living wall or wrecking ball. Focusing on his strength and dumping the remainder of stat points into tower health can work wonders when trying to solo in the long run.
The Huntress is a tough cookie, because all of her towers are traps with a limited number of charges. Sure, you can repair them and restore the charges, but when you have to control an entire map of traps… Yeah. It can get pretty difficult. Also frustrating is the fact that Huntress’s native weapons have ammo, thus need to be reloaded after so many shots. That leaves a potent question: If you’re trying to solo as her, what do you focus? Focusing her would leave her traps mostly useless and allow enemies free roam of the map. Focusing her traps would mean that if any enemies survive, she can do little to stop them.
Same case for the Monk, I suppose. His towers are all large auras that decay over time. While that may be useful for support situations, his lack of physical walls can be a major problem when it comes to holding enemies off. Does he personally kill them all? Try to let his DoT towers finish them off? Experience says all, I suppose, and in that area I’m lacking.
The rest of the characters are available via DLC, along with a wide variety of challenges and alternate maps to play on. While not entirely necessary in order to complete the campaign in entirety, they can be fun to mess around with. Still, it’s possible to buy the game, leave it at that, and still enjoy yourself. Or you could wait for the additional content to be on sale on Steam. Your call.
At the end of the day, Dungeon Defenders is a unique take on tower defense strategy games, but it can get rather difficult and redundant if you want to acquire some of the more aesthetic and luxury content. How much you get depends on how much time you put into it, so if you’re not looking for a long-term relationship with a game, this one’s probably not for you.
Maurice Tan of Destructoid offers a perspective on the game’s difficulty, which is definitely something worth mentioning. This game can get insanely hard if you try to play solo all throughout, particularly if you play one of the more supporty type classes. While I haven’t had many problems because I play the Apprentice, this might be a review to read if you prefer to veer from standard play. Here’s the digital portal: http://www.destructoid.com/review-dungeon-defenders-213811.phtml