The game is a 3D Tower Defense game, played in a top-down perspective. This can be changed to an up-close, over the shoulder view if you want a better look at the action-based part of the game.
Your main objective is to defend “Etheria Crystals” from attacking monsters. The beginning levels are simple, with few spots where monsters try to attack from. However, the more difficult levels require more in-depth planning because they require you to defend more than one Etheria Crysta. The monsters are also more difficult to defeat.
One player, whose screen name is “Tristarsownz”, commented on the game as being, "Quirky fun, hella unbalanced, good with friends if you look at it as a temporary distraction instead of something to 'beat'."
Dungeon Defenders combines the traditional tower defense genre with role-playing game elements. You can run around each stage attacking monsters and assisting your towers and there are currently four character classes - the squire, the monk, the huntress, and the apprentice.
The squire is a primarily defense-based character that can be built to deal massive amounts of damage.
The monk is a support class that uses both ranged and melee attacks in addition to area-of-effect abilities.
The huntress is a ranged class that deals massive damage, using traps as towers.
The apprentice is a ranged class that deals massive burst damage and has heavy-hitting towers.
As you can see, each class has its strengths and weaknesses, and not one has the same types of towers as the other. There are at least two other classes to be released.
That’s not all! Each character has its own talent tree. As your character levels up from clearing stages, you gain points that can be used to increase your character’s stats. The stats are not limited to just the character; you can upgrade your tower and ability stats as well.
In all honesty, the talent tree isn’t really as great as it could be. The only thing it does is make your character stronger, so if you spend hours upon hours leveling up your character, you won’t be getting new abilities per se. This is because more powerful abilities and towers aren’t unlocked via the talent tree; rather, you gain them according to your level.
To add to the RPG elements, the developers added the ability to upgrade your equipment. This ranges from your armor, weapons, and even the pets that you gain as you progress through the game.
You can upgrade your equipment via mana crystals, which are gained through defeating enemies. Mana is used as currency and you use it to either buy special items from a shop or upgrade your equipment when you’re in your tavern, which is basically a game lobby. In a match, however, mana is used to build towers. You have a mana bar that has a limit on how much of it you can hold, so the game forces you to think more before you build.
The game isn’t necessarily balanced, though. Once you’ve played the game enough, one can easily fall into the habit of just following the same pattern over and over again. It won’t even matter if you have a mana limit. A decently leveled up squire only needs to build enough towers around an Etheria Crystal and upgrade them. After they’ve done that, all they need to do is sit back and do something else while the towers take care of the work for you.
The same applies if you have a higher-leveled character that’s more action-oriented. Even if you’re in combat, it gets extremely boring having to kill thousands of the same enemies over and over again.
Dungeon Defenders’ multiplayer follows the traditional four-player maximum format. This means that up to four players can join an online game. If you have a group of friends that want to play, I suggest that you play in groups of four; and in the case your group’s larger than four, use a voice chat program like Skype to share in the shenanigans. Multiplayer can be difficult, though.
"Level differentials make it hard to play with friends who put more time in it than you, but it's an easily conquered hurdle if they help you level up to close the gap." said Tristarsownz.
Communication in-game isn’t that bad either. Players can use either text or the built-in voice chat to talk to their group members. Prior to Sunday, October 23rd, connections to Trendy Entertainment’s network (TrendyNet) were highly unstable. Fortunately, connection issues have been uncommon since the maintenance that day.
Graphics and Music:
The graphics and music of the game aren’t bad. While the graphics aren’t the absolute top of the line, they certainly don’t look like they were thrown together sloppily. The physics are working properly as far as I’ve seen, so there’s nothing falling through the floor or flying across the map. The music shifts according to whether or not you’re in the building phase or the combat phase, but eventually you just start to tune it out if you haven’t already disabled the sound effects.
Dungeon Defenders is definitely a fun game, as long as you don’t spend hours a day playing the game for the sake of leveling up your character, it’s much more fun playing with friends.
Given the week that I’ve played the game, I’ve decided that it’s really not worth the fifteen bucks they charge you for it but I would pay anywhere between five to ten dollars. Luckily, Steam offers a four-pack of the game for about forty-five dollars, so that effectively runs for about eleven dollars a person if a group of four pitches in to get the bundle. If you’re going to play with friends, there’s your deal. Good luck, and have fun!