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DUNGEON DEFENDERS



 
General Description

Dungeon Defenders is a multiplayer tower defense RPG developed by Trendy Entertainment and released for PC, Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network in October 2011, with a release for mobile devices scheduled for December. In it players control one of four distinct character classes and attempt to defend crystals from waves of enemies that attack the game's various dungeons. Players do this by constructing defensive towers and by attacking these enemies directly. Each character class works differently, and players allocate skill points and collect dozens of pieces of loot that allow them to customize their heroes.

The deliberate differences between the four classes and the complex stat-building and loot-collecting systems set Dungeon Defenders apart from many other tower defense games. Players can build characters that excel in towers or direct attacks, and the wide range of increasingly complex dungeons which support for up to four players and many different game modes give the game plenty of life.

Player creativity is the game's biggest strength. Players get a handful of experience points every time they level up and can place them into one of ten different stats. In addition players equip a pet, four pieces of armor and a weapon at once, and each of these can be leveled up individually, allowing players to decide which stats to increase at every turn. As the dungeons get more complex players will also need to experiment more radically with tower placements and other strategies, which can get particularly deep when there are multiple players working together, where people skills become another of the game's biggest strengths.

 
Grade by Game Type Overall Grade
C C
Ratings at a Glance
 
Facts: 2 Title: DUNGEON DEFENDERS
Creativity: 6 Publisher: Reverb Communications
Business: 3 Developer: Trendy Entertainment
People: 3 Year: 2011
Problem: 6 Genre: Action/Role Playing Game
Simulation: 0 Strengths: popularity, creativity, problem
Popularity: 8 Platforms: Mobile
PC
PC, Online
Playstation Network
Xbox 360
Xbox Live
Extra: 0  
Rating Details

Classroom Facts

Math and number-crunching are important aspects of the game when it comes to buying and selling towers and equipment between rounds. The maps quickly grow complex, and players can bring up an overlay at any time that shows the exact locations of towers, enemies and other players, allowing them a unique perspective over the action and a chance to see which areas need to be barricaded more effectively.

Creativity & Imagination

By the Player:

Players can put their level-up points into four stats that affect their hero (speed, strength, health and casting speed), four stats that affect that hero's unique towers, or into either of a hero's special skills. Because of the wide range of options, players are sure to build their characters differently and to their own strengths. While a couple points in a stat won't make a huge difference, the spread that develops on the way to a character's level 70 cap quickly becomes significant.

Players also have to pick and choose between the dozens of pieces of equipment they'll pick up. Each of these can give boosts to any of a hero's stats, and players can spend mana to level up individual pieces and manually add points themselves. Players also get boosts for having matching sets, and can obtain pets that give further bonuses.

Players will use their hero's unique towers differently on any given map. Some characters have defensive towers to help block a foe's advance, while others are more offensively oriented. A wide range of strategies can work, and players will have to pick their own depending on the current map and their character's stats. Playing as part of a team also opens a wealth of new options.

By the Developer:

Tower defense RPGs are not in short supply, but Dungeon Defenders' complex leveling and loot systems separate it from the pack. Character progression up to the level 70 cap is a long process and allows players to customize their characters in great detail, and even at that point there are special challenge maps, higher difficulties, and most importantly hundreds of pieces of equipment to collect. This gives the game a longevity unique in the genre and allows endgame characters to continue defending in online groups to collect new stuff.

The game's four classes and diverse range of tower types also make it feel unique, and help its multiplayer mode to become easily the best way to experience the game. A colorful, cartoony art style give the game personality, as do the handful of playful cutscenes that punctuate the game's campaign.

Business Skills

Players collect mana from fallen enemies and from treasure chests between waves, which is used to purchase, repair and upgrade towers. Learning the costs of each of these options is important as the game gets more difficult. Because funds are always limited, the choice of precisely which tower to build and where exactly to build it becomes extremely important. In addition, each tower has a value in "defense points," and each map gives players a maximum value that can't be exceeded, making these choices all the more strategic. Mana rewarded for completing stages is used in buying, selling and upgrading equipment between matches.

People Skills

Because the towers of each class are so different it becomes important for teams to work together carefully. Putting a barricade in place without considering what your allies are doing can be disastrous, while working together to set traps can prove incredibly effective. Players can even upgrade and repair towers built by their allies. Combinations of a squire's defensive walls, a huntress' proximity traps and a mage's long-distance turrets will quickly outpace anything a single hero could dole out.

The game is easily the most fun when played with a group, as later waves of enemies quickly number in the hundreds and teams scramble around building and repairing towers while engaging enemies hand-to-hand. Even in the game's most frantic moments it is important for players to work together, letting each other know any of a map's weak points or any stray enemies that need to be dealt with.

Problem Solving

The first of Dungeon Defenders' maps are simple, and involve enemies that come from distinct points and have a handful of obvious choke points to defend. As the game continues, however, the levels becomes much more complex, and often offer overlapping paths and multiple crystals that must be defended. Here it becomes important for players to study the lay of the land carefully. Players will need to experiment with various towers and combinations to figure out what works in any given situation. Special foes that avoid traps or are immune to certain varieties will keep players thinking on their feet. Rare boss battles offer unique challenges.

Once a wave begins it is on the player to balance attacking directly with fortifying active defenses. The flow of enemies will usually dictate which of these takes precedence from moment to moment. Players that are successful will be able to keep in mind all the details of the current map, know which points will need additional help, and keep track of when towers will need to be repaired at all times.

Simulation

Dungeon Defenders is not a simulation game.

Popularity

Dungeon Defenders has received largely positive reviews. Critics praise the game's co-multiplayer, deep customization options and addictive loot gathering system.

Controls & Options


Dungeon Defenders offers four difficulty levels which players are intended to move along as their characters level up. Various audio, visual and control options are available. Certain options can also be toggled in any given stage; "pure strategy" mode disables the player's ability to attack, while an endless mode pours waves of enemies onto players until they're defeated.

Tips

Dungeon Defenders was rated Everyone 10+ with descriptors for Alcohol Reference, Animated Blood and Fantasy Violence.