Review: Dungeon Defenders (Xbox 360)

By Wayne Webb

Dungeon Defenders is two disparate game styles mashed together to provide a single unsatisfying experience. It’s not the worst game I’ve ever played, and it’s not stunningly bad, but it gets too much wrong all at one time for me to enjoy it.

The basic concept is tower defense. You play in dungeon worlds, you protect your tower or base (in this case a crystal) from waves of oncoming monsters and creatures. So far, so good. Then when you get to the build phase you are presented with another gaming style, the RPG. Levels, stats and upgrades galore are all at your fingertips to slowly and painfully build up like all good RPGs should do.

But this isn’t an RPG – it’s a simple premise of tower defense strategy, build, repair and battle endlessly. There’s no exploration, there’s no over arcing plot that controls your motivation. It’s two warring styles of gameplay in a single game and I found that irritating more than inventive.

And the help feature was equally bad, because the RPG element is too detailed – the instructions are lengthy and intrusive, but the playing of the levels takes short minutes. The beauty in the design, the colourful dungeons and designed monsters soon become uninteresting as the gameplay wears you down. The design, while excellent, is also cartoonish in its aesthetic and that grates against the onslaught of enemies slavering towards you.

The game appears to go on for a number of potential levels and there are promises of wonderous upgrades awaiting you. The endless grind of gameplay fighting the quick and simplistic premise of defense strategy soon takes its toll and I’m just not sure I would play later levels even if handed a God Mode and all the infinite weapons.

Pros: colorful style, can appeal to tower defense and/or RPG fans.
Cons: Too much going on, annoying help, cute design, unfocused and too detailed for a simple premise.

1.5 Shacks Out Of 5