Game Monkey flipped on his PC and felt like he wanted to play something just a little bit different than the games he was used to. So, browsing through his Steam game catalog, he came across a fun little game called Dungeon Defenders. Dungeon Defenders is an an action/hack ‘n slash/tower-defense hybrid game that includes a lot of RPG elements as well. It's definitely an interesting concept, so Game Monkey dived in and started playing. Here's what he told us about his experience playing Dungeon Defenders.
Once you have downloaded the game from your provider of choice, you will have to option to add DLC (Download Content) to your install if you like. There are a lot to choose from. New characters, maps, and one-offs like the "Presidential Slug-Fest". Game Monkey downloaded a few of DLC packs that looked fun and started designing the character he would play.
Dungeon Defenders lets you play as a variety of different characters, each with their own looks, signature combat moves, and play style. The base game lets you choose from he Squire, Apprentice, Huntress, and Monk. One of the DLC packs available for purchase adds in the Countess, Adept, Ranger, and Initiate. Lastly, the most recent DLC pack offers you the Barbarian, Series EV, Jester, and Summoner. For his first play through, Game Monkey decided to become an Adept, and named Mink.
Dungeon Defenders is all about defending your "Eternia Crystal" against wave after wave of ever-stronger hordes of monsters. The monsters will spawn at certain points on the map and progress through the shortest path possible to your crystal. If too many monsters make it to your crystal, which takes damage with each monster attack, you lose! You can choose to play by yourself, or group up with up to 4 friends (or random online players). Be warned though, the more players you have, the more difficult the maps will be and the more monsters you will face!
You start the game, and each subsequent "wave", in the "Build Phase". During the Build Phase, you're free to build up your defenses and offenses for that wave without the pressure of a time limit or any enemies. You use each character's unique powers to prepare defenses against the waves of oncoming enemies. Some of these powers can build defensive structures like barricades, spiked walls, and various traps. Other characters are equipped with offensive abilities, creating ballistae, magic turrets, and lasers towers.
Once you are happy with the maze of traps, towers, and blockades you have set up during the build phase, the combat will start and the doors open. The hordes will march along their route till they make it to your crystal or your defense cut them down. Maps may be played on multiple difficulty levels, which vary the HP (hit points) of the monsters as well as the number of waves and amount of monsters in each wave. There can be 5 to 25 or more waves in each game depending on the particular map you choose and the difficulty setting.
Game Monkey jumped in the thick of battle in the first level of the game, The Deeper Well, with his Adept. He noticed the game play was rather easy to pick up on as his character, Mink, jumped around shooting her wand at her foes. Placing turrets for build mode was easy and fun. After so long, though, it started to get a little stale. He messages a few friends and they hopped on to join the fight.
The weapons and armor you will find in the game help to determine your character's combat prowess—enhancing different stats and abilities. The gear that drops is plentiful and the bonuses they provide are randomly generated so you can pick and choose from a wide variety of gear to suit your play style. Gear can also be upgraded, RPG-style, to give extra bonuses to your favorite stats and abilities. Some of them can only be upgraded a few times, some of them many more. You can also find pets that that can be used in battle, kind of like Pokemon, which hover near you and blast your enemies while also providing stat bonuses. There are many different kinds of pets with different power ups. Some heal, fight, or boost your towers, but all of them are fun to watch!Check out some gameplay pics. Click to view full size and then click again anywhere to close.
The game has slightly cartoonish, but still visually-pleasing graphics. Characters move fluidly and all the abilities and defenses have different animations. Characters have very different and unique styles with great artistic appeal. Game monkey wishes that all the gear you picked up was reflected in your character on-screen, but alas, only your weapon will show differently on your character. The character's armor or clothing will remain the same. You can choose your characters colors with great detail though. Overall, excellent graphics!
The controls are great! Abilities are activated with the 1 through 0 keys on your keyboard, or alternately, but bringing up a "skill wheel". You can also fully customize your keyboard commands if you want. The "view point" of your character can be changed to suit your style using the mouse wheel, scrolling all the way in to a first-person view, or scrolling all the way down to a top-down view. The map can be brought up with a quick press of the shift key, showing vital information such as monster location, spawn points, and defense placement, as well as letting you get a scope of the level and your surroundings. After a few games, the controls will feel quick and natural, letting you get down to monster slaying!
Game Monkey gives this game 3 out of 5 bananas. The game is a lot of fun to play at first but after a while, the game can become repetitious and stale. Grouping up with your friends adds extra fun and play value, but the maps are the same, just more difficult. If you're a fan of tower defense games or "dungeon crawler" games like Diablo, you will probably love Dungeon Defenders.