Dungeon Defenders: First Wave is a tough title to recommend. Don’t get me wrong — it’s a great game, and for the right player, it might be one of the best games on iOS of the year. But it’s quite complicated, and it mixes up lots of different genres, from action RPG to real-time strategy to tower defense. I first got to see the game running on the PlayStation 3 a few months ago, so you can head over to Joystiq to read my impressions if that sounds like an interesting concoction. The basic idea is that you play a hero from one of four classes (warrior, ranger, mage or monk), and then you fight a series of enemy creatures in waves on various floors of a dungeon. In between waves, you can set up defenses that vary per class, so the game switches off between tower defense strategy, with various resources to protect and collect as you play, and a hack-and-slash sequence, complete with each hero’s own XP, loot and talent trees.
It sounds complicated, and it is. If you’re not already familiar with the tower defense genre, and the idea of XP and loot is still foreign to you, this one might not be for you. But it’s quite impressive once you figure it out, and if nothing else, the fact that Trendy has pretty much ported their Unreal Engine 3 game straight over to iOS without any compromises (the screen is a little cluttered with controls, but still) is really incredible. This is basically the same game I played on the PSN, running at full graphics and full speed on my iPhone 4.
There are a few different modes to play through (including a story mode with cinematics and bosses, and a survival mode with endless waves to defeat). Drop-in and drop-out multiplayer is included, though I didn’t get a chance to try it myself, and I’ve heard it can sometimes be testy unless you’re local. The game offers Game Center integration for achievements and leaderboards as well. At just US$2.99 for the universal app, it’s a really excellent title. For the right gamer who’s ready to conquer the heady mix of various game genres, Dungeon Defenders: First Wave could be extremely rewarding. You’ll see a video of the game in action after the break.