Dungeon Defenders: Second Wave Review

By , on December 20, 2010

Dungeon Defenders: Second Wave
Download on the AppStore
5 out of 5


  • Deep interaction between each character type
  •  Mana used as a general form of currency.
  • Lots of content to unlock and skills to master.
  • Cute 3D graphic style.


  • Poor framerate.
  • Limited control options and poor implementation.
  • Menus force players to constantly swap orientations; poor menu designs.


Dungeon Defenders: First Wave is a complex co-op title that rewards players for working together, however it feels as though too much was crammed in without proper consideration of the device it was released on and it suffers terribly for it.

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Editors Note (Nov 9, 2011): Dungeon Defenders holds, dubiously, one of the most hotly contended scores on AppSpy.com if only because I, the reviewer of the game, wanted to love it to bits. At the time Dungeon Defenders was a whirlwind of magical catchphrases that made my inner-gamer tingle with excitement: Unreal Engine graphics, Tower Defense Gameplay, Hero Defense gameplay, Online Co-Op, Persistent and Personalized Character Development. What wasn't to like about this game? Sadly the iOS release suffered greatly for the heavy requirements of the 3D engine and poor user interface designs that resulted in a game that felt cluttered, clunky and jerky all at the same time - the fact that an excellent game was burried beneath this was simply a shame. Update after update the client grew more stable, eking out solid framerates and fixing balance/bug issues, but earlier this month something even better happened - Dungeon Defenders was reborn. Now under the title of 'Second Wave' the game has polished its engine even further, running as smooth as silk on the iPhone 4S, but more importantly its controls and interface have been completely retooled. Almost the exact same amount of information is available despite the increased visibile play area thanks to clever use of sliding menus, clustered buttons and new, intuitive swipe controls to manipulate your character and camera, making the experience far easier to enjoy and lowering the entry requirements from dedicated hardcore fans to just about anyone willing to give it a try. The addition of new content including a PvP arena only helps to clinch the new high score for this game. If you haven't given it a try, do yourself a favor and grab it now - I often say 'things can only get better' and I couldn't be more glad about how far this game has come. (Final Score: 3.4 -> 4.4)

By blending Action-RPG and Tower Defense elements, along with a robust online co-op play system, Dungeon Defenders: First Wave by Trendy Entertainment was perhaps one of my most anticipated titles for the Christmas '10 period. While the initial release certainly delivers on the gameplay, it's clear this title has had a rough implementation on iDevices, making it a hard title to love.

Foremost in terms of problems is the control system that relies heavily on buttons where gestures should have been optionally available. The game features a nominally top-down perspective that can be shifted, however the combination of virtual-pad movement along with buttons to attack, defend, shift the camera and a radial touch menu to perform additional actions quickly clutters the screen and the ability for you to quickly react. And this is a problem when the gameplay revolves heavily around your speedy actions in order to repair, build or directly attack enemies in the game.

Players can take control of one of four different characters, each with their own distinctive form of combat, special abilities and unique tower types. Each map with its particular layout will require players to combine their towers to keep the mobs from making it to your crystal, however players are limited by a maximum 'defense' value, so efficient placement is also critical.

To further add to the woes of Dungeon Defenders is a rather clunky tutorial that makes learning the complex system of placing towers, upgrading items and working with others hard to absorb. While the graphics are certainly top-notch, they're also degraded by a poor frame-rate and the cluttered interface that makes it hard to see anything other than your immediate surroundings and players will need to pop in and out of the map to ensure they're not being overwhelmed.

More than anything Dungeon Defenders: First Wave is disappointing only because its implementation on the iDevices feels so rough. The gameplay still manages to shine through and playing with friends isn't just a treat, it's a blast, but riding that wave of fun can be hard to manage at this time. Trendy Entertainment is already looking to fix the major issues in upcoming patches and some players may want to wait till then, but if you can look past the rough exterior you'll get to enjoy a seriously unique title with a rewarding multiplayer experience.


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