iPad Game Review: Dungeon Defenders: First Wave Reviewed by Steven Scarpitti
Action RPG games and Tower Defense games have never been in the same game genre until now and it turns out they are a match made in heaven.
Dungeon Defenders: First Wave starts off with a choice of playing online or offline then you have four different classes of characters to choose from, Knight, Mage, Amazon, or Monk. The Knight is the easiest, the Mage is normal, the Amazon is hard, and the Monk is the hardest. The difficulty really refers to how difficult it is to play alone as one of the characters. Each character class has unique towers or traps to be placed as defense against the hordes of enemies you will face, each class also has unique weapons.
The main objective of the game is to project you crystal from hordes of enemies. Your crystal is in one central location and the enemies spawn from set locations and increase in number and difficulty with each new wave. Now as I mentioned before you can do this offline alone or online with friends, it's a lot easier with friends since in the later levels there are tons of enemies. The nice thing is you can switch between any of your characters in between waves so you can place different towers if you need or just play as a different character. This adds a lot of replay value especially if you're playing alone.
The gameplay is broken into two phases, the build phase and the combat phase. You start in the build phase where you can build towers with mana that is collected from treasure chests or from enemies. You really want to see what enemies are spawning and where they're spawning from, as the game shows you all this info so you can plan your strategy accordingly. After you have built your towers you activate your crystal and the enemies start spawning, this is when the fun starts. In the combat phase the gameplay turns to action RPG as you can kill enemies with your character or let your towers do some of the killing, which is what will happen as you probably won't be able to kill all the enemies especially if you're playing alone.
After a wave is completed then you go back to the build phase where you can repair your existing towers or build new ones. There are treasure chests at the end of each wave which contain mana for building towers, repairing towers, healing your character, or you can stash it in your forge for upgrading equipment. Some chests and enemies will drop equipment you can use on your character or sell for mana in your forge. After you complete a level you can either continue onto the next stage or go to your adventurers tavern, where you can access a store to buy, sell, or upgrade your equipment and your pets.
Your character can level up to gain access to new towers and to use better equipment. Leveling up also gets you stat points you can use to upgrade a large number of different stats for your character or their towers. You can spend mana in your forge to upgrade different aspects of your equipment or buy new equipment from the store in your adventurers tavern. In the tavern you can also access your crystal to replay levels you have already completed or start a new level. You can replay levels on a higher difficulty to gain even more mana and even better equipment. The developer has done a great job updating the game with fixes for bugs and adding new content, like new weapons, armor, and pets. Overall this game has lots depth and tons of replay value.
Dungeon Defenders is one of the first to use the Unreal 3 engine and it looks great, nice 3D graphics with the ability to zoom in and play with a chase cam or you can zoom out and play with a more top down view. The zoomed out mode helps when placing towers and is better for seeing larger portions of the map. The zoomed in chase cam mode is good for up close action but sometimes the chase cam can get caught up when trying to move around tight spaces. Overall the graphics look crisp, clean and work well with the game.
The sound is very well done with medieval and epic war songs for background music. I couldn't really expect better sounding music even from a console quality game, the only thing it lacks is the ability to play your own music in game. The sound effects are pretty standard and fit the game well. You can adjust the music and sound effects levels via the options. Overall the sounds are solid and enjoyable but it would be nice to be able to listen to your own custom soundtrack.
Overall Dungeon Defenders is one of best RPG games on iOS and should really appeal to most RPG players and some Tower Defense players. It would be hard to find a better game for your money if you enjoy RPGs that involve farming for loot. There have been a few issues in the past with the game but the developer has done a good job addressing known problems and fixing them quickly.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5)
Graphics: - 4 - Nice clean graphics that really make the game fun to play. Sound: - 4 - Sounds fit the game well but could use the option to play your own music. Controls: - 4 - Controls work well but the interface is a little crowded with all the controls. Gameplay: 5 - Gameplay is this games strong suit as there's lots to do and lots of ways to do it, excellent replay value especially for those who love farming for loot.
Playing Hints and Tips:
- There is an IAP for getting extra mana if you don't want to have to farm/replay levels for it. - If you are playing alone offline then it's much easier if you have a character for each class, so you can switch in between waves and create any type of tower you might need or be able to play with whatever character class you want and still be able to use all the towers.