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Game Info:

Defender's Quest
Developed by: Level Up Labs
Published by: Level Up Labs
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Available on: PC, Mac, Linux
Genre: Tower Defense, RPG
Number of Players: Single-Player
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $14.99

Thank you Level Up Labs for sending us a review copy of this game!

Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten is a retro looking, 2D tower defense game with RPG elements.  Even though the graphics aren't modern looking, they get the job done.  The soundtrack however is top notch and available to listen to in Steam's music library.  I have played many tower defense style games and this is by far one of my favorites in the genre.  The character development is excellent and the RPG elements are well thought out and fun to implement. 

The game begins with the main character, Azra,  dying from a plague that is threatening her kingdom.   They don't wait for her to die and throw her into a pit with others suffering the same fate.  Instead of succumbing to the plague, Azra prevails over it by entering into a trance state between the world of the living and the dead.  In this state she is able to defeat  an endless army of those who have died from the plague.   Technically, Azra is not the one fighting; instead she is able to bring others into this half-way world and enable them to fight off the hordes of revenant warriors.   While not defenseless, Azra is vulnerable in this state and must be protected at all costs since she is the only one who can put an end to this plague and its source.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Great intertwining of Tower-Defense and RPG elements; epic sound track
Weak Points: The retro graphics hold this game back from perfection
Moral Warnings: Violence and magic use; language; supernatural references

The first ally Azra will meet is a berserker warrior named Slak (you can rename all characters in this game).     He's pretty silly, but good with a sword.  Throughout the game you'll also meet archers, healers, ice mages, knights, and even dragons that are willing to fight alongside you.   Once a unit type is unlocked, you can hire more of their kind.  Every time you recruit a unit, the cost to recruit the next, no matter what type will go up.   The currency in this game is called scrap which can be earned for attempting to beat a level.  

Even if you fail one of the thirty-four levels you'll still get some experience and scrap, so there is no harm in trying a harder difficulty (other than bruising your ego a little).   There are four difficulty levels (Casual, Normal, Advanced, Extreme).  While I was able to beat the levels on Normal difficulty on the first try, I found beating the Advanced and Extreme levels more challenging, but attainable.  Beating levels on the harder levels will net you more scrap and powerful weaponry.  Sadly you can only earn a unique weapon once, even if you beat the level multiple times.  I was able to beat this game in eight hours, but there is still plenty more I can go back and do. A New Game + becomes available after beating the standard game.  

Defender's Quest
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 88%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 74%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 7/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 3.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

At the beginning of every level you will see where Azra is and markers from where the enemy units will spawn from.  Some levels and harder difficulties have more spawning points than others.  Allies can only be placed on designated squares on the map.  Each unit requires a certain amount of PSI energy to be placed and Azra must have enough available in order to position and upgrade units.  Upgrading units will make them attack faster and able to use advanced abilities in their skill set.  When placing units you will be able to see their attack/healing radius.  

There are five speed settings including pause, .5X, 1X, 2X and 4X.  When the level begins you only have a few moments to place your defenses before the zombies come pouring in.  I often began my levels by pausing it and then starting it once my units were in place.  If the enemies are getting too close to Azra, you can use various magic attacks like lightning, fire and the ability to push them back a few spaces.  These spells are not with Azra from the start of the game and have to be learned throughout her journey.  

Besides magic use, psychic powers,  and zombies, the only other objectionable content worth mentioning is some mild language.  The words h*ll and *ss are used a couple of times during the game.  The developers do a good job explaining the content in lieu of getting an official ESRB Rating.  

If those issues don't bother you and you like tower defense games, I highly recommend checking out Defender's Quest.  The Street price is $14.99, but I have seen it for less than $3.50 on sale.  The gameplay and soundtrack is fantastic and I look forward to the upcoming sequel.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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