Dungeon Defenders Review
Dungeon Defenders is a tower defense game that mixes in a little action-RPG gameplay for good measure. The basic goal is revealed by the title, namely you need to defend your dungeon, or rather the glowing, magical cores within. The transgressors who want to smash your bright and shiny things into tiny bits are the usual suspects, orcs, ogres, and their ilk. They'll enter your dungeon through its multiple doors and then try and make a beeline towards your core. Your primary defense will consist of towers that you place to slow, redirect, and flat-out kill the interlopers before they do damage to your precious core. The types of towers that you'll be able to place depend entirely upon your choice of character. The Mage's towers are geared towards dishing out ranged damage, the Squire's are designed to be obstructions, the Huntress' towers are trap happy, and the Monk's tower's auras provide buffs for allies and debuff enemies.
The enemies enter the dungeon in waves and in between each round you'll be given an unlimited grace period during which you can put down your defenses. This is also the time during which you'll have a chance to grab any loot dropped during the last round and to mop up the mana left behind by slain monsters that you'll need to summon and repair towers. Once you're ready to go, you kick off the next round and the fun begins again. Survive all of the rounds and you'll be given a score for the level and unlock the next.
In this tower defense game it's not just the towers doing the defending, you'll have to be an active participant yourself. Each character has unique basic and specialty attacks and you'll be using plenty of both in every attack wave. This is where the game's "action" half of "action-RPG" kicks in, but this aspect of the game can be a little frustrating. The camera's too tight to get a good view of things, it can be tricky to target the individual monsters that you want to in the mobs you'll be facing, and maneuvering your way around the obstacles presented by the dungeons' architectures and your own towers can prove to be slow and frustrating at times. These issues aren't deal breakers, but they do take some of the shine off of the apple.
The "RPG" aspect comes into play through loot and experience. Loot is primarily weapons and armor dropped by enemies or found in treasure chests between levels. The game has a nice feature that gives you a little pop-up window to let you know if you can equip an item and if it's better or worse than what you've currently equipped. Experience allows you to level up, and when you do you'll get a point to spend in a small handful of categories such as max health for your character or increased damage from your towers. Even though there are RPG elements in the game the game is still primarily a tower defense game at heart, they're primarily present in the game to serve as its tower upgrade path.
Dungeon Defenders is a game designed to be played in co-op mode with the four character classes each filling a distinct role. When you get a group of friends together and each person knows their role, Dungeon Defenders can be a lot of fun. Solo play is another matter, though. The game doesn't scale difficulty to the number of players and it can be difficult to cover the levels on your own when you've got multiple entrances and obstacles all over the place. You'll probably have to grind some of the levels a few times before you can have any chance of taking on the next one, and that's if you're not playing one of the �advanced' classes, i.e. Huntress and Monk. Support classes are pretty weak when there's no one there to support. Playing solo will leave you feeling like you're fighting more of an uphill battle than simply a challenging one, so you may want to think twice before downloading the game if you won't be playing it with friends.
Final Rating: 78%. A difficult solo experience, but the fun increases with the number of players.