The real heroes of the realm have gone off on a crusade, and only their young pupils are left behind to defend the Eternia Crystals from monsters. That’s the premise of Dungeon Defenders, a tower defence game where you place turrets to stop streams of AI-controlled enemies as they work their way around a maze to attack your base.
So instead of a Knight, there’s a tiny Squire in an oversized helmet and no trousers, and Huntress, who expresses her character by turning around and wiggling her buttocks. The intro warns that “these heroes-in- training will have to grow up quickly” – this might be too quickly.
Playing alone, it’s a strange game. Each hero type can place a different type of defensive structure, but you have to do loads of running around to intercept all the enemies. Placing structures costs mana, and that has to be scavenged from dead monsters. It takes a long time to scrounge up enough to set up a good defence, a long time to place those defences, and a long time to walk between all the places you want to put them.
Dungeon Defenders only really works in multiplayer: it’s co-operative, so you can each focus on one particular stream of enemies, or one particular aspect of defence.
I like to play Squire, and set up a killzone on one particular path. I place a harpoon catapult off the beaten track so it can penetrate whole lines of enemies. Then, to keep them in the field of fire as long as possible, I lay spiky barricades to block and damage them just before they leave its arc. If there’s room, I add a bouncer turret right in the middle of the chokepoint, which shunts them back or into the spikes.
These abilities are unlocked at regular intervals as you level up, and you can enhance either your fighting skills or your defensive structures. You also find randomly generated items, and can ‘invest’ in your favourites: pay gold to boost one of your weapon’s magical properties. It’s all smart and effective stuff to keep you engaged early on. After that, it relies more on you enjoying the matches themselves.
None of the individual interactions are especially fun, though – combat is stiffly animated and unconvincing, turret projectiles don’t have much weight, but there’s a definite pleasure in deciding where to concentrate your efforts and resources, while others do the same around you.
Strangely, Dungeon Defenders doesn’t have any good systems for encouraging players to work together. Mana, the most crucial resource, is hogged by the first player to snatch it from the battlefield. You have a shared maximum for how many structures you can build, but no individual player limits: the jerk who squanders it by overbuilding his own stuff is ultimately rewarded with a higher score.
It’s also tough to get into a good game. The browser tells you the character level of the host but not the other players, so you’re usually in a game with at least one hero too high or too low level to have fun with.
The core idea is good, but right now it’s too hard to get into a good game, or work effectively with other players once you do.
For a comparatively small game released on the same week as Skyrim and Modern Warfare 3, Dungeon Defenders has done rather well - it’s currently sitting pretty at number eight in the Steam charts. Well done Dungeon Defenders.
It could be set to get a lot bigger, too: developers Trendy Entertainment have just released Dungeon Defenders’ SDK as free DLC on Steam. The game’s cel-shaded graphical loveliness was built in Unreal Engine 3, and Trendy has included all the game’s source assets in the SDK. Which is jolly nice of them.
Trendy reckons you’ll be able to take Dungeon Defenders’ assets and do just about anything with them, from creating an FPS to a third-person RPG. You’ll also be able to tweak the game to your heart’s content, or create entirely new dungeons to defend.
To demonstrate the benefits of the SDK, Trendy has also released a 16-player Capture the Flag mode as free DLC. It's currently in pre-alpha, so Trendy wants to know your thoughts and feedback as you play
The tower defence action-RPG, Dungeon Defenders exploded onto Steam recently, and has picked up quite a following already since launch. You pick one of four classes and then dive into a dungeon to start throwing down defences against the incoming hordes of enemies. Kills mean experience, which means more creative ways to hold back the hordes. A massive update has just landed, bringing with it a wealth of balance changes and bug fixes.
Bad news, superfast mouse clickers, the update has "fixed potential double-upgrade bug with superfast mouseclicks," you might want to try and find a way onto the Diablo 3 beta where your clicking prowess will serve you better. There have also been some chunky nerfs to the Spooktacular "Van Wolfstein" weapon, the Huntress' piercing shot, the bowling ball turret and the harpoon turret. Nyooo! Get the full patch notes below, as seen on Steam.
Bug fixes / Feature Additions:
Rebalanced/redesigned Spooktacular spawns and added Leaderboard & Stats collection – Thanks Tsuda! Made Spooktacular skins unlockable by beating Spooktacular on hard (per hero class), though second set of weapons remain Insane-only Fixed various Spooktacular mission bugs Fixed chatbox getting stuck during level transitions Make costume unlock requirements clear in the costume selection Allowed mission unlocking/downloads at the mission selection screen Reduced self-heal mana cost ramp (cheaper to heal at high HP’s now) Added “Drop All Mana” key, default “M” key, and keybinding added to configuration tool Fixed problem with Familiar attack rate being effectively capped (there was indeed a bug with this), and renamed the Familiar Attack Rate stat to “Attack Speed Bonus”. Now high-Attack-Rate familars are way, way, way more effective. Made practice dummies average DPS over 5 seconds for a more accurate reading Fixed potential double-upgrade bug with superfast mouseclicks Moved bonus-item crates back into the main section of the Halloween Tavern, out from the Secret Room Added Pause menu option to “Hide Game”, which delists the game and prevents anyone else from joining it. Useful for turning public match into a private match, or making a private match totally unjoinable even by your friends. Fixed bug in algorithm to determine gear stat allocations, that was making high-end gear less likely to have Defense Damage and Defense AoE stats. Removed Non-Infinite Build Time Option for Easy, Medium, Hard Fixed bug where Squire would turn around when entering block in Chase Cam Pets will now attack one of the Practice Dummies in the Tavern so you can check your Pet DPS Added button (Default “G”) to remote-activate your Eternia Crystal so you can begin the Combat phase from wherever you are
Made Genie pet’s “Grant Mana Bonus” upgradeable, and made him grant more Mana proportionate to how much its “Grant Mana Bonus” is upgraded Nerfed Spooktacular “Van Wolfstein” weapon about 40%, and Huntress Ability ‘Piercing Shot’ about 30% Increased speed of Apprentice Staff “knockback” animation by 40%, and increased its maximum (fully charged) damage output by 50% Nerfed Bowling Ball & Harpoon Turrets a bit more: bowling ball & harpoon damages reduced by about 33%, attack rate reduced by about 25%, bowling ball projectiles now limited to 6 hits before breaking, harpoon projectiles now limited to 12 hits before breaking. Slice and Dice Tower no longer has such a vertical sweep to be effective against enemies above it Reduced Energy Drain rates on Electric and Ensnare Monk Auras Increased Insane/Post-Insane Kobold Damage by 20% and Kobold Explosion Damage radius by 20% 20% increase to Spike Blockade HP & its exponential HP ramp 30% better exponential damage ramp on Squire Circular Slice 40% reduction on Imp/Engy repair costs
Co-op tower defence/third person action hybrid Dungeon Defenders, which came out on Wednesday, has released a demo for you to sample. The demo, spotted by RockpaperShotgun limits players to a single map and caps them at level eight, but is otherwise the same as the full game. You can check it out at GamersHell.
Have any of you been playing Dungeon Defenders readers? What did you think?
Let's be honest, Dungeon Defenders does not look like an iPhone port. We mean that in the nicest possible way. But the multiplayer tower defence game was originally on iPhone. And the PC conversion will let you play with iPhone users when it gets released next week. Weird eh?
Pre-order Dungeon Defenders and, as is tradition these days, you'll get a bunch of Valve goodies in-game including The Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device for the Huntress hero class and four Team Fortress 2 familiars. We're not familiar with how familiars work yet, but their roles sound very familiar...
The Heavy uses his Gatling gun to shoot at enemies from afar, The Engineer repairs groups of nearby towers while you’re on the offensive, the Medic heals nearby allies and the Pyro sets dudes on fire with a flamethrower.
Dungeon Defenders lets you defend your dungeon as one of four classes, which range from ranged sharp-shooters to magic users and close-up, bashy sorts. Killing invaders lets you level up and gather materials with which to forge more powerful weapons. You can show those off in four-player PvP and survival co-op modes to earn bonus experience XP and GLORY. It's out on October 19, and will cost £9.99 / $14.99. It's now available to pre-order on Steam at a 10% discount.