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Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten DX (Xbox)

Developed by Level Up Labs, Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten DX (hereinafter referred to as Defender’s Quest) was released on PC (Steam) back in 2012 and is currently £10.99. It is now available on both PS4 for £11.49 and Xbox One for £11.99.

Defender’s Quest is a tower defence game with RPG elements. You are a librarian who has been struck down by a deadly virus but have somehow managed to survive, now you have found yourself with a strange ability…

There is a story in Defender’s Quest which I really don’t want to ruin as I have enjoyed it so I will endeavour to avoid any story related spoilers throughout my review.

As you make your way through the masses of undead that are trying to kill you, you will meet some people who are on your side and will join your quest. Your character doesn’t engage in physical combat per se, instead, you are supposed to prevent her from taking any damage from the monsters (that’s what your newfound friends are for!). You will learn skills and find secret books which you will be able to use intermittently as long as you have the correct Psi points (think of it like mana) which is earned by killing monsters.

There are a total of six character classes available for you to employ along your journey, each has their own unique abilities and skills to level up. They are:

  • Berserkers – crucial for close quarters combat.
  • Rangers – perfect for reaching the far corners of the level and powered up appropriately will melt most enemies.
  • Healers – will keep surrounding troops health topped up.
  • Knights – when armoured enemies appear, these guys will break through with ease.
  • Ice Mages – ideal for slowing down enemies.
  • Dragons – fire-breathing dragons with huge claws; they have both ranged and melee damage abilities.

Provided you have enough currency, you can recruit up to 6 of each class to your personal army. In the later levels, you will need all the help you can possibly get.

There is a total of 30 levels to play through in the standard game mode, which are then repeated in new game plus mode. Completing the levels untouched will earn you a gold star (you’ll still get blue stars if you happen to take some damage).

There are four difficulties per level:

  • Casual which will, upon completion, unlock the next level and award a small amount of XP.
  • Normal which will award you a blue/gold star depending on success and a decent amount of XP/Scrap.
  • Advanced which will award you a blue/gold star depending on success and a greater amount of XP/Scrap and sometimes loot.
  • Extreme which will award you a blue/gold star depending on success and a huge amount of XP/Scrap and even better loot.

The levels do feel quite similar as you play through them although the layout does change slightly. I really like how the difficulty settings change where enemies spawn from. I love how the background design changes depending on the area that you are currently in. The screen arrangement feels more suited to a PC game and did take a little getting used to trying to switch between the different tabs but there are controls implemented to try and make the transition a lot smoother.

The controls are simple to learn and when playing a level, it is incredibly easy to boost your recruits  (increase their power and enable better moves) and switch between them with LT/RT. Changing the speed is done with LB/RB and you can pause at any time, which I fully appreciated as it gave me a moment to breathe and sort through each of my troops.

For the most part, the game runs smoothly, even when fast forwarding by x16. There have been infrequent stutters but just when a new wave of enemies is spawning in and to be honest, it is hardly noticeable at all.

There were a few issues I encountered prior to the game's launch which the developers were already aware of and got fixed before release. Unfortunately, I have had trouble in a different area now, with the game freezing every single time I interact with the strange monument (a somewhat secret area). This issue is only rectified by restarting the game but thankfully I haven’t lost any story related progress so it’s not as frustrating as it could have been.  I am confident that there will be some sort of fix for this issue at some point in the near future.

As well as the standard game there are bonus levels available as well. These include various challenges as well as endless modes, unlockable with the gold stars earned through completing levels in the game perfectly (without taking any damage). Progress can take some time whilst going through the story as each level will need a different approach with regards to troop formations. Once you have decided where you want to place everyone you’ll also need to level up not only yourself but also each of your troops, upgrading weapons and armour where possible.

There are many locations around the world for you to purchase new weapons, armour as well as recruit new people to your army, each place will have better items the further into the game you manage to get but of course, with quality comes a hefty price tag, especially when unique items are on offer. The in-game currency is “scrap” which you will earn through completing the levels, if you have a look through the options menu you’ll be able to turn up the scrap and experience gained up by 300% which will make life so much easier, trust me.  

Once you’ve finally managed to complete the game you will unlock new game plus mode which is the standard game all over again but with monsters that are much stronger and are able to regenerate their health. There are other bonus features such as developer commentary and side quests to complete, adding even more content to the game.

Overall, it has been an absolute joy to play Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten DX. As a fan of tower defence and RPG games, this is almost a perfect game with pretty much everything I could ask for. Unfortunately, the game freezing (forcing a complete restart of the game) meant that if I had to give it a score it would have to be 9/10. The developers seem to be very aware of any issues with the game and so I am positive that a fix will be inbound soon. I would definitely recommend it!

Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten DX has 30 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. Many of the achievements are progression based and will unlock by completing the standard game, playing new game plus as well as getting all the blue and gold stars. If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements, then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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