To come straight to the point, yes, Dungeon Defenders is basically a tower defence game. So, how is it any different from your average title? Fun characters with upgradeable weapons and co-op play are just a couple of things that stand out, but before this review gets too cliché, let’s add that although not totally unique, it’s a … game… oh darn it.
If you’ve ever played Sanctum, you’ll have an idea of how it works, you run around here and there to place barriers and whatnot to protect the ‘tower’ against however many waves of whatever is coming to try and destroy it. It’s up to you or up to four of you to set up defences and take out the swarms of enemies coming to trash your pad.
The Medieval style is a new twist, but then again, there is no specific style when it comes to these games unless you take it face on and go all first person perspective. The one thing that Dungeon Defenders does that I haven’t experienced before, is take you through what is quite probably the longest tutorial, ever. The fact that you stop playing the game for a ‘session break’ after playing it tells you it’s not just a ten minute job, oh no, before you get into the actual game itself, you’ll have to partake in a gruelling, veritable tutorial marathon.
What it does teach you though helps immensely when it comes to taking on big enemies and using your defence equipment to your advantage by making them back up into the spikes of a barrier for instance (as learned during the tutorial, so no spoilers). Once an enemy is defeated, it was a surprise to find out you ‘loot’ them for resources that go to upgrading your characters experience and improve defence equipment.
Controls are easy enough to get the hang of as you’re mostly just moving around while defending or attacking anyway, the menu was a little tricky to navigate at first and I’m not sure if it was just my controller, but keeping things steady while rotating them into the position I wanted got me a trifle frustrated at times. Fighting was also a bit of a hassle while trying to turn and face the enemy, so a tactic of moving in and out seemed to be favourable.
You can even have a pet, rather handy if you’re not playing in four-player co-op and it’s the online co-op that makes the game last a whole lot longer and X times as fun. One of the concerns is the price of not just the game, but the downloadable content and whether an indie game is really worth it, I would have to be honest and say you may want to wait for a sale.
Hardcore tower defence fans will love it, someone new to the genre will enjoy it, but maybe not all the extra content that’s available as they’ll probably move on after a week or so. The RPG elements of levelling up the character, upgrading equipment, funky slightly cartoony graphics make for a great game and all, the only problem is that all that fun will be transferred to the next thing all your mates are playing for you to join in with after around a month.