Dungeon Defenders, when the trailer was released, looked as if it was going to be one of the best-looking games on the iPhone. It looked like a huge plus for the Unreal Engine or whatever that fancy graphics engine is called.
And while the graphics aren’t as glass-shattering as the trailer supposes—yes, they’re not that good—the gameplay is actually not too shabby.
Dungeon Defenders pits you as four Hero classes, with each corresponding to the difficulty levels easy, novice, medium, and hard. Once you choose a Hero, you’ll be confronted with a seemingly endless tutorial, and once you start, you go through a number of waves before reaching the next map.
There’s a good number of towers and variety, and I don’t have too much flak to say about it.
Gameplay: The gameplay is actually quite enjoyable. Setting up towers, walking around and shooting the baddies… it’s all in good fun. If you’re looking for something to play for fun and fun only, definitely give Dungeon Defenders a shot. Because, like I said many times now, it’s fun.
Depth: You’re not going to get Aralon-esque depth here. But you are going to get a considerable level of depth, with what towers to put, what stats to raise for your hero, where to place your towers, which weapon to use, etc. There are so many factors that play into the game that it’s actually one of the deepest tower defense games that I have ever played on the App Store. And that’s saying a lot, as there are some deep tower defense games on the App Store.
GameCenter/Universal: Anytime a game is universal and sports GameCenter, I’m all for it. Can’t go wrong here.
Controls: Now I’m going to stray from our traditional review format and add a little neutral part here, since a lot of people are complaining about the controls and how cramped the game is on the iPhone. And for me personally, the controls aren’t that bad. Now mind you, they’re far from great and could use some improvement, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. The interface is crowded, but again, nothing you can’t handle. It’s really not all that bad, but it could be improved.
Built for iPhone: Now that we’ve got the control and interface down, the other parts are what make this game feel more for another platform. First off, you can’t play your iPod music. That’s a big no-no for me, since I’m always listening to my own music while playing games. One minute I’m listening to Kings of Leon, the next I’m listening to the Dungeon Defender soundtrack. Sure it’s not a bad soundtrack, but let me listen to my own.
Along with that, the UI seems to be a little sluggish, and whenever I tap a button you do notice a slight delay. During the game, the moving of the camera could also be improved, as the small left and right arrows really don’t cut it.
Graphics: I thought these graphics would be absolutely epic, but quite frankly, it isn’t what the trailer showed. They’re quite dull with little flashes of color here and there, and it definitely went below expectations.
Online multiplayer: Online multiplayer right now seems to be chaos, with no real matchmaking and such. You’re in a group with players that are a lot higher than you in terms of level, and they’re the ones that are usually claiming all the kills. There’s just something wrong with the whole balancing, on top of the fact that it’s laggy.
Dungeon Defenders has potential, and it’s a really fun game; there’s absolutely no doubt about that. But I would love to see an improved interface and controls—mind you, they’re not bad, but not good either—along with some better graphics. It also really needs to feel like it was built for the iPhone, not just a game that wants to appear on as many consoles as fast as possible.