Review: Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten

Review: Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten
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Platforms:

Windows PC

Game Name:

Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten

Publisher(s):

Level Up Labs

Developer(s):

Level Up Labs

Genre(s):

Tower defence, RPG

Release Date:

October 30 2012

Developer Summary

Defender’s Quest is a Tower-Defense/RPG Hybrid (Think Final Fantasy Tactics meets Tower Defense).

Defender’s Quest tightly focuses on three things: tactical depth, customization, and story. That means no random encounters, no spikey-haired emo kids, no forced time sinks, and no tedious, repetitive battles.

What We Think

Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten sets itself apart from many tower defense games that I have played. For a start, it doesn’t rely entirely on gameplay to keep you engaged, nor does it remain content to provide the same experience as many of the other titles in the genre. Defender’s Quest has been developed with all of a game’s strengths in mind, from gameplay to narrative.

After starting the game, you’ll be greeted with an animated scene featuring text based dialogue and endearingly simple characters. This will lead directly into your first battle and you’ll be thrust into an elegantly crafted tutorial that is supported by amusing dialogue and enjoyable in-world descriptions of how each gameplay element works.

Defender's Quest Map

Summoning Courage

To succeed, you need to place RPG-style characters on the map in key locations where they can cut down incoming undead forces before they reach your main character. The protagonist acts as a kind of summoner who brings the other characters into battle with her magic. Once she is killed, it’s game over and you’ll have to try the level again. The placed characters act like towers from a traditional tower defense game and they each have different powers that can deal with enemies in unique ways.

Waves will come from multiple directions during battle, forcing the player to think carefully about troop placement. Some enemies also have additional abilities such as the power to walk over water or fight back against your characters. New gameplay elements pop up regularly, keeping the action fresh. There are also some impressive boss levels that challenge how you manage your defences in some interesting ways.

Defender Quest Battle

Though I Walk Through The Valley

You’ll be provided with one of each character type at set points throughout the game. These characters, ranging from a battle-crazed berserker to a healer with a dark past, will be key to the plot. To expand your forces you can hire additional troops of each type; all of these characters can level up and be upgraded with additional abilities to improve their power in battle. The leveling system is quite deep, with every character type having a branched skill tree. You can even improve the main character to unlock spells that affect the whole battlefield.

In addition to upgrading your characters you can also buy new equipment in true RPG style. Weapons and armor can be purchased, allowing you to focus on balancing offense and defense for your troops. Unique items can be obtained by overcoming the more challenging stages in the game to give your characters a significant boost. It’s a shame that most items purchased represent a linear damage or defense progression, but it’s a welcome feature nonetheless.

Defender Quest Party

RPG = Real Posh Gear

In addition to the gameplay options for customization, you can also tweak the visual style of your purchased troops to your liking. Hair color, armor, name and other aspects can be modified to give each of your characters a unique feel. Using this feature, you can ensure that your army is as colorful, or as orderly, as you like.

The design of Defender’s Quest is charming, if a little simplistic. The developers have managed to craft likable characters that you begin to care about quite quickly. The battles themselves are quite retro in presentation style but the animations are enjoyable and the action is easy to follow. The music suits the game’s style and the story, providing a warm and exciting soundtrack to accompany the action within the game world.

Not To Be Forgotten

Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten is a superb mixture of tower defense and strategic RPG gameplay. In addition to creating an endearing game with a nuanced level of depth, the developers have also crafted an engaging story with amusing characters that effectively lure you into this fantasy game realm. This is definitely one to check out, especially if you’re fond of RPGs. And being IGR’s emergent Tower Defense go-to, that is not a statement I make lightly.

Get Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten at the official website

Get Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten on Steam

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Kit Goodliffe

Kit is a freelance writer specialising in gaming, film and digital media. His passion for games began at a very young age and has only grown since then. Kit is IGR's U.K. correspondent.

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