Thank you GamersGate for sending us this game to review!
While their parents are out saving the land of Etheria, the adolescent apprentice, squire, huntress, and monk are left by themselves to protect the castle and crystals from invading monsters. Dungeon Defenders is primarily a tower defense game, but it does have RPG elements too. The main goal is to protect the Eternia crystals from being destroyed by hordes of enemies that come in growing waves. Your characters will gain experience for each kill they or their defenses make. When you level up, you can increase attributes for your character like power, health, spell casting rate, or speed. You can also increase your defense attributes such as health damage, attack rate, number of detonations, and area of effect.
Each hero offers unique fighting styles and defenses. The squire is a warrior who fights with a sword or an axe. His defenses include blockades, turrets, and spinning blade barricades. The silent monk fights with staves, and his defenses are auras that can slow down, electrify, drain strength, or cause enemies to fight each other. The monk can also cast healing auras that can heal team mates. The apprentice is your typical mage that uses a staff to fire balls of energy at foes. The apprentice’s defenses also shoot balls of energy, fire, and electricity. He can use barricades to protect his towers. The Deadly Strike tower is very powerful, but slow with a 4.5 second wait per shot. When you have a swarm of eight hundred monsters heading your way, you can’t afford to wait that long. Lastly, the huntress attacks with crossbows and firearms. These are nice, but you have to stop and reload them frequently. The huntress’ defense mainly consist of traps that can blind, stun, or do fire damage to enemies. Her Ethereal Spike Trap is powerful, but it only harms one enemy at a time per detonation. It’s very powerful against bosses and ogres.
There’s a wide variety of enemies and they usually have immunity to a random element. Be sure to use a variety of traps to make sure all of your bases are covered, as some enemies will attack up-close with weapons, and others attack from a distance with bows and arrows. Others will jump or fly and avoid all of your traps, but as tempting as it is to jump into the fray and slay hordes of enemies, your primary goal is to protect your crystal at all costs and let the defenses do their job.
You know your defenses are well placed when they take a beating or get destroyed. When there’s a lot of damage to a defensive unit, it’s better to upgrade than to repair it. Everything in this game is upgradable if you have enough Mana to pay for it. Your armor, weapons and pets are all upgradable and can give your hero and defenses added bonuses along with upgrading their attack damage and attack rates. Pets are great to have, as they will help you attack enemies close by.
If you get your game through GamersGate, you will receive a nice dragon pet that can be upgraded sixteen times. Steam users can get Team Fortress 2 pets and the huntress can equip a Portal gun. There has been some free Halloween DLC that offers costumes and customized maps for the ranked server environment.
Multiplayer is where it’s at in this game. Single player is great for leveling up and getting to know the classes, but having various units work together is a beautiful thing. You can play on ranked servers or open ones. Ranked servers require you to create a new character that will be played on vanilla servers that will not allow hacks or cheating. Open servers let you use your single player characters and will support various game modifications. You can connect to these servers using Gamespy or Steam. Cross platform support is limited, but available. I had no problems finding an active server or game to join.
The game ran fine for me; the only hiccup I experienced was getting my characters transferred over from my Gamersgate install to my Steam install. The website instructions were incorrect. You have to put the .dun file in the steamapps/common/dungeon defenders/Binaries/Win32 folder.
Other than that character transfer issue, my overall game experience has been a positive one. While Dungeon Defenders is rated E 10+, it does have some moral issues worth noting. Obviously there’s a lot of hacking and slashing of your foes. Fortunately, there isn’t much blood or gore involved. Magic does not have to be used by the player, but certain enemies use it to summon skeletons. The huntress character is a bit sexualized by shaking her butt when your select her. It doesn’t stop there: if you play as the huntress, her default outfit constantly shows her butt crack. Some of the new DLC outfits cover her up better.
Whether you like strategy, RPG, or tower defense games, Dungeon Defenders is a solid buy. The price is a reasonable $15, and there is a demo available if you want to give it a try. If you get frustrated with the single player campaign, try multiplayer; it’s much more fun!