There are a plethora of tower defense games out there, but none bring the charm and the magic like Dungeon Defenders: Awakened does.
Many will remember the old days of jumping on your Xbox to play a round of Dungeon Defenders, back in the heydays of Xbox Live Arcade in 2011. The series has always been about fighting off hordes of enemies, managing your towers and magic, and diving into the fight yourself to take on enemies face to face. Well, not much has changed with the traditional formula of Dungeon Defenders, but there are some changes in Dungeon Defenders: Awakened that add quality of life tweaks and help set it apart.
First and foremost, the latest and greatest entry in the Dungeon Defenders line of games is running on Unreal Engine 4, and with all the bells and whistles turned on, along with a slick new cel-shaded look, the game has never looked better. Each character, enemy, tower, and spell shines with a crystalline sheen and is just downright a gorgeous visual treat. There are new areas not seen in the first two games as well, and a mixture of additional bosses to fill in the gaps with the updated story; four young heroes facing off against a time-shifting foe.
Additionally, physics play a large role in the fun of the game. Arrows from crossbow defense points sling orcs, goblins and the like back with great force, even pinning them to walls! Strong melee attacks sling baddies around like unmanaged puppets loose of their masters and magic blasts show appropriate feedback in force, adding realism to this otherwise fantastical game.
Each of the four classes has their strengths and their own weapons that define them. Where this all really excels is the insane loot that you gain at the end of each round. Weapons that range from a lightsaber that replaces the Squire’s sword to magical miniguns that the Apprentice wields add an additional sense of purpose to a game that is just downright fun to play. When your towers are firing off and you are able to jump back and forth between lanes, picking off foes and the energy of it all is chaotic, that’s Dungeon Defenders, and Awakened nails that feel and so much more.
Four-player split-screen is a welcome addition to the mix and is sure to be a strong addition to consoles such as the Switch, with the console already being synonymous with ‘gather round’ gameplay. You can also take the battle online through your service of choice and rock the socks off of hordes of hellions.
Dungeon Defenders: Awakened proves to be the ultimate version of a game whose formula has stood the test of time, even in the version I played at PAX South 2020. With better graphics, new pets, fresh arenas and a metric ton of loot to lay your greedy hands on, there’s plenty to love here.