Tower defense gets a fantasy action twist in Dungeon Defense


There’s probably in the neighborhood of five or six thousand tower defense games out there right now. Some cost money and others are free, but the difference is usually pretty clear after playing one of them for more than two minutes.

Dungeon Defense is one that leaves quite an impression; it is a 3D tower defense strategy game set in a fantasy world of wizards, goblins and magic. The graphics are superb and the game play is quite entertaining and even addictive. Best of all, it is totally free to download and play.

Dungeon Defense actually started out as a demo. That’s right, a demo. Even now, when you download it, the legacy ‘this is not a real game, it is a demo’ screen pops up because they didn’t bother taking that part out. The thing is, though, as the ‘demo’ developed, it turned into a game in its own right. The fact of the matter is that you can play Dungeon Defense and get plenty of tower defense gaming goodness out of it, and other than being a single player game, it’s not set up to restrict you in any way, really.

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That, to me, says ‘game’ not ‘demo’ and perhaps I am a bit biased since I spent nearly ten hours playing the darn thing the first time I downloaded it. But there you have it. Personally, I have never spent more than five or ten minutesplaying any demo. I have, however, spent hours and hours playing games though, and this one definitely qualifies as a game. ‘Nuff said.

Dungeon Defense was actually created in about four weeks by a group of folks that wanted to see exactly what they could accomplish in a short period of time using the Unreal Development Kit (UDK). They worked hard to make a demo of a game that they had in mind and actually managed to create a great game all by itself. If you like, you can look at it as a prelude to Dungeon Defenders (the retail game they finally came out with later). The two games do have some very similar aspects, of course, but they are very disparate in some major ways as well. Dungeon Defenders is a multiplayer online RPG game with tower defense elements and action oriented combat as well. Dungeon Defense is a single player tower defense game.

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Now that we have that straight, let’s take a look at the game itself. Dungeon Defense puts you in the robes of a wizard attempting to defend a crystal of power. As with all tower defense games, the basic concept is pretty simple. Waves of enemies will attack and you have to build towers and other defenses to stop them. Each wave will consist of two parts: a build phase and a combat phase. During the build phase, you’re left alone to work on your defenses, building towers and blockades and traps. During the combat phase, you can still build anything you want, but you’ll have waves of enemies flowing in that you’ll have to combat. The towers will fire automatically at the nearest enemy, and traps will go off when stepped on or you can manually detonate them. Your wizard is also equipped with a magic staff that he can shoot magic bolts from to support the towers in their defense of the crystal. If you hold down the fire button, you’ll charge up for a super shot, and release the button to blast whatever is in front of you.

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The graphics for Dungeon Defense are absolutely gorgeous, in my opinion, and even better if you have the CPU and GPU power to run them in high resolution with post processing effects turned on. I was still able the play it, however, on my dual core laptop with integrated graphics, and at a decent frame rate too. The soundtrack in the game is pretty subtle, adding the right atmosphere without being intrusive. Each wave of enemies will get tougher and you’ll begin upgrading your staff and building new kinds of towers as you progress.

Dungeon Defense tried to be a demo, and failed when it evolved into a full-blown game all by itself. I am not saying that Dungeon Defenders is not worth checking out if you are into online RPG action, but if you enjoy the single player experience of a straight tower defense game, this one is going to knock your striped pointy socks off.

Until next time, my friends!

Get the Dungeon Defense game here.