Dungeon Defenders Review

Alright, I managed to get a good block of time in yesterday to play some Dungeon Defenders. Here is my review:

Dungeon Defenders is a great little game that's been produced by Trendy Entertainment. Pretty much immediately you can tell that this gaming company doesn't take themselves too seriously. With graphics and artistic direction that pays tribute to the old school Gauntlet days (a game I LOVED when I was a kid), this game is definitely the in category of cartoon-like fantasy. If you are looking for realistic play this is not the game for you!

The game starts off with a cute little intro movie talking about how you are in the land of Etheria where four heroes of epic might had saved the land from a dark evil (yadda, yadda, the same old story) and save the day. Where the story begins is with their kids, however. Which  I thought was a cool twist. Playing the role of the children, you were tasked with guarding the castle while the heroes go off on some adventure. While goofing around you smash open some crystal and and army of baddies pours out from the portal that opens to threaten the world of Eternia once again.

You can play one of four classes and switch between rounds at any point. The one that I played (and I imagine most people play) was the wizard, though I also tried the warrior and the huntress as well. The game offers two different phases of play. Once you pick a dungeon to play in you go immediately into the Build Phase of a wave. From here you can run around opening chests to gain mana (important!) and items like armor or better weapons. 

You use your mana to create, repair or upgrade a slew of defenses that are available to you. Each class has a different range of defenses. The mage can put up towers that will lob fireballs, magic missiles, electric bolts, barriers, etc. Whereas the huntress sets area traps that have a certain charge number and reload time. Each class definitely has their own flavour.

Your objective is to protect an Eternia crystal, which always has 1500hp. Once you have finished building your defenses you can then move on to the Combat Phase by activating the crystal. At this point you have waves of monsters come through a variety of gates (all stated in the build phase) and try to make their way to the eternia crystal and destroy it. At this point you can attack the waves of monsters yourself, or allow your defenses to take them while you build and heal to your heart's content.

Once the wave is finished you move on to the next wave and ever-increasing groups of monsters. There are usually between 5-7 waves in a game and the last one often will sport a boss or some big baddie. Between the waves in the build phase you can switch between characters, which is a cool feature.

I really enjoy this game. The colors and artistic direction is something right out of the old school fantasy games like Gauntlet or D&D. the game has some quiet humor (such as the knight is wearing a full suit of armor but boxers on the bottom) and has a kind of light-hearted cuteness to it. It's replayability is huge! 

The one complaint that I do have about the game is that the menu interactions are kind of crap, especially when trying to do multiplayer mode, which I'm told is the most fun part of the game. My friend and I couldn't even get to connect to each other through the Steam network, despite trying several times and the process of joining a game from the Steam network to connecting to my friend's game in-game always wasn't intuitive at all.

That being said, once that element is figured out, I'm sure that this tower defense/action game would be even more fun with friends. It is definitely worth the $15.

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