Hours Of Towers: Defender’s Quest

By Adam Smith on January 24th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

I love a good overworld

I woke up extremely early this morning, intending to have a substantial breakfast, catch up on the news and slowly ease myself into the day, but then I found a note I’d written in the far-off land of 2011 on which I had scrawled: “Remember to check when Defender’s Quest releases”. The demo’s entertaining blend of story, levelling and tower defense strategy was far more time-devouring than I ever expected it to be and when the intended release date passed, I was determined to make sure I didn’t miss the eventual launch. Then I did miss it, although not by much. If you haven’t already tried it, the demo runs in a browser, and is both substantial and convincing. As for the rest…

It’s brilliant. More of what the demo generously offers and for only £4.64 at present. It runs on Windows, Linux and Mac, and if you buy now, you’ll receive all future updates for free. There are already plans for “endless” bonus battles, more story scenes, extra missions and “other crazy stuff”. You can read more about how it plays in Mr Smee’s words on the demo.

My mild aversion to tower defence has been completely shattered. To be fair, that aversion is probably due to inundation rather than an inherent dislike for the form, but the fact that Defender’s Quest has made me miss breakfast, current affairs and my usual morning perambulation is telling indeed. It’s a hard game to stop playing, with enough wit and invention to make the time sacrificed at its altar enjoyable rather than regrettable.

Something in me wants to say it’s the Puzzle Quest of the tower defence formula but that’s not quite right because it’s more gleeful than Puzzle Quest ever was. These are hours you will look back fondly on rather than with ashen-faced disbelief.

To win my heart and mind completely, designer Lars Doucet has also noted that they wish to take full advantage of the fact they’re releasing on PC. Observe ye many other developers and bow your heads in shame:

1) Native full-screen resolution switching
2) Button that shows you where all your data files are stored
3) A ridiculously detailed options menu
4) All the configurable controls and hotkeys you can eat
5) A 100% tab-navigable interface on all screens
6) Accessibility options for the disabled, etc.
7) Experience multiplier to speed up/slow down the game’s pace
8) Cutscenes you can skip, pause, and re-watch at any time
9) Turn dialogue and tutorials on/off
10) Layered challenges to make the game as hard/easy as you want
11) Play the game at any speed ranging from 1/4x to 4x
12) Make decisions even when the game is paused
13) Dead easy Import/Export of save files

Thirteen items to inscribe on a monolithic tower, throbbing with energy and the weight of an overwrought cooling system. Actually, make that twelve items since seven and eleven seem very similar. They seem very similar if you’re an idiot who skips past the word ‘experience’.

One last thing. Use the coupon code ‘RPS’ throughout January and you’ll get an 80p discount. Lovely. Demo here, purchase links here. Just don’t blame me if you end up missing meals.

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66 Comments »

  1. Patches the Hyena says:

    I bought it on Saturday, and lo, I had missed dinner by the end of the session. Between this and Kingdom Rush my carefully laid plans have gone to pieces.

  2. CaspianRoach says:

    This game looks like great fun. Why isn’t it on Steam though? I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

    • Adam Smith says:

      As I understand it, an earlier version was submitted to no avail so they are trying again. Should be coming to Impulse and Desura though.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      Where should I write to beg Valve to approve this game? There are much worse games on the service and they got approved.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Its so incredibly weird to go through DRM threads and have every comment involving steam be hate, then go through game threads and have every mention of it be “I hope its on steam”.

    • Raticus79 says:

      Good luck with the re-steaming attempt! I was curious about the criteria myself and here’s Valve’s “So you want to get your game on Steam” page:
      http://www.steampowered.com/steamworks/FAQ.php
      for all you maybe-some-day developers like me.

      I picked this one up and had lots of fun for a few days, got up to about level 30 and then had more fun mangling the save files to cheat as much as possible and stomp the last few levels.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      I really don’t mind the Steam “DRM”. It adds more useful stuff than it takes away. I’m always online anyway so I get the in-game chat, web browser and achievements as a sweet bonus. And I don’t ever have to bother about copying the game from PC to PC on some sort of a storage device; as long as I remember my Steam account info I can play my games anywhere, anytime and with my savegames.

  3. michaelfeb16 says:

    I am willing to buy this immediately, but the purchase page confused me quite a bit. It asks for your mailing address, so are they sending you a physical copy?? Or buy “mailing” address, do they actually mean “billing” address because they fail to ask for that when you input credit card information..

    • Adam Smith says:

      I think the mailing address is entirely unnecessary, maybe just a leftover of the system they’re using. I’m fairly sure after entering the credit card info it goes to a screen that asks for the billing address, using the mailing address by default but allowing you to edit at that point.

      I received the download link within 60 seconds as well, which was nice.

    • larsiusprime says:

      @michaelfeb16:

      Sorry bout that, it’s our storefront software’s fault. They ask for WAAAAY too much personal info, if you ask me. I don’t want any customer’s mailing addresses, an email is all that’s necessary to fulfil your order. Unfortunately, FastSpring insists for “fraud prevention purposes,” or whatever.

      They used to ask for your phone number, too, but I bugged them about it and they were at least willing to take that field off.

      At any rate, in the future I’ll be looking for ways to ask for as little info as possible – you don’t want to give it, and I don’t want to see it! I just want to sell you a cool game :)

    • michaelfeb16 says:

      Thanks for the response! The game is great fun so far.

  4. salejemaster says:

    bought it a few days ago, addicting as hell

  5. Dr_Nick says:

    Been playing for the last hour. Buying now. :)

  6. HexagonalBolts says:

    Oh you penises I was going to replay Fallout 2 but seeing as you’re giving it so much praise I’ll just HAVE to buy it. Hmph.

    • chronoshag says:

      Coincidentally, that’s exactly what I was doing before this released (Playing through with the Survivor mod: http://www.moddb.com/mods/survivor). As good as this is, I won’t be distracted from playing through it again…I think…

      GRAAAH DAMN YOU TD

  7. CaspianRoach says:

    Hah! You can export your savefile from the demo when you complete it! That’s kinda sweet!

  8. Ultra Superior says:

    speeding experience gain / speeding the speed

    are two different things.

    Back to 13.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    I enjoyed the demo and seeing how this is only €5.50 I’ll be happy to buy it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      Started playing and only stopped playing 3 hours later.

      Yes, it’s a lot of fun. Go spend that €5 now.

  10. vodka and cookies says:

    I really enjoyed this well worth buying.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    SOLD! And there goes another evening.

  12. Berzee says:

    Out of that list, the following have nothing to do with being on a PC, but it’s still a good list! I will try this game Mr Smith, yes.

    7) Experience multiplier to speed up/slow down the game’s pace
    8) Cutscenes you can skip, pause, and re-watch at any time
    9) Turn dialogue and tutorials on/off
    10) Layered challenges to make the game as hard/easy as you want
    11) Play the game at any speed ranging from 1/4x to 4x
    12) Make decisions even when the game is paused

    • Berzee says:

      I mean, they’re still good things that every game should have when possible — but I daresay even an Xbox 360 or PS3 would be able to multiply experience points by a number. =P or even, as some radicals have suggested, LAYER CHALLENGES

    • Adam Smith says:

      True enough and I wasn’t attempting to denigrate consoles, even in a jesting fashion!

    • Alec Meer says:

      You weren’t? You’re fired, Smith.

    • Berzee says:

      And I was not suggesting that you were, although reading my post again it sounds rather like I was! Your pardon, consider it begged. =) [Edit: Oh noes, now I beg a double pardon for the first beg, Alec Meer. O_O]

      I just got excited about a list of 13 computery things, and then after reading it I discovered it was in fact a mixed list of 7 computery things and 6 good-game-design things;

      it was at this point that we became enemies. I always wonder if we could’ve been friends had things turned out differently, Smith.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Consider the power of denigration without intent. Imagine what I could do if I put my mind to it. I AM capable of disdain, I swear.

    • larsiusprime says:

      @ Berzee:

      He got that list from an article I wrote: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/LarsDoucet/20120123/9281/Defenders_Quest_Deployment_Strategy.php

      I guess I got carried away at the end :)

      If I want to retro-actively justify myself, I’ll say that though there’s no technical reason they couldn’t be done on a console, but a discerning, sophisticated PC audience like yourselves deserves no less :)

    • Berzee says:

      HEAR HEAR

    • Premium User Badge

      Thermal Ions says:

      It’s missing number 14:

      14) Borderless windowed mode to enable quick alt tabbing and minimal interuption to game time for pizza ordering.

  13. harrylimet says:

    nonononono don`t do this i`ve only just got over my defense grid addiction – ah crap

  14. Robin_G says:

    Bugger. I already bought it before I knew about the coupon. That’s 80p I’ll never see again! Puzzle quest came to my mind when playing it too. It’s scary how a little persistent progression makes a game so much more engaging to me.

  15. Hordriss says:

    Sold. Just what I need after spending far too much time with Kingdom Rush.

  16. Jimbo says:

    Ah, just the ticket after ragedeleting Kingdom Rush.

  17. Sheng-ji says:

    6) Accessibility options for the disabled, etc.

    You have no idea how important considerations like this are!

    This s coming from a household of 2 disabled gamers!

    • larsiusprime says:

      @Sheng-ji

      I’m disabled, too :) My disabilities aren’t the kind that affect my ability to play games, but the features aren’t too hard to put in and we know some people really need them.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Hehe, I didn’t see your reply because I have been so engrossed in your game!

      Clock up another customer, buying it now before I get too far in!

      EDIT: My husbands just got home, guess what he’s been doing all afternoon at work – make that 2 more customers!

  18. vecordae says:

    I started really playing this last night and, before I knew it, it were well past time for bed. It is a marvelously done gem of a game and absolutely worth the purchase price. Larsiusprime has done a fantastic job here.

  19. Sarcophagus says:

    This has kept me up for several nights as well. I played it through once in the closed beta, but I’m playing it through again and enjoying it for a second time. I’d pay double what they’re charging for the fun contained therein.

  20. Veret says:

    Storm, Hermione, Lancelot, Gavain, McCoy, and Spyro? Oh, you wonderfully geeky walking cliche, you. But how are they all level 35? That’s…fairly absurd.

    • larsiusprime says:

      It’s a screenshot from the media kit we sent out, actually :)

      It’s from a test game with arbitrary settings – was wondering how long it would take someone to notice :P

      Should have updated that with a live shot instead XD

    • Adam Smith says:

      Yes. I really was playing this at stupid o’clock and at stupid o’clock I often neglect to take screengrabs. So I used old press release material. I am lazy!

    • Veret says:

      Well since you’re kind enough to reply, maybe I’ll grill you on the other names (Olaf, Stinkoman, Sarah, etc). What are those in reference to? And how did you get John to not be a healer? (rim shot)

      Needless to say, I’m absolutely enjoying this game as much as everyone else in the thread, although it did take me an embarrassingly long time to realize there was fullscreen. Congratulations on an excellent product!

    • larsiusprime says:

      @Veret,

      The generic ones, “Sarah, John”, etc, are just generic. Olaf is because I’m Norwegian and that character is nordic looking, and “Stinkoman” is a reference to “Anime Strongbad” (Gotta have blue hair!)

      The blue hair is actually an artifact of that test save being carried over for months and months, originally starting from manually inputted data, before we had the character customization menu (which I don’t think has blue hair options….)

      Blue hair and other nonsense is probably still possible by manually hacking save files :)

      As for John … that reminds me of my stock Final Fantasy I party named after the 4 evangelists:

      Fighter : MARK
      Thief: MATT (Matthew, Roman tax collector)
      White Mage: LUKE (Luke, doctor)
      Black Mage: JOHN (John, wrote the dark and apocalyptic book of Revelation)

      I sometimes substitute PETE (Peter) as the fighter, for chopping off Malchus’ ear :P

    • Veret says:

      @larsius:

      You, sir, are my kind of nerd. I love naming everything that way, although I gave it a miss in DQ because the generated names are pretty good and the colorization options weren’t really enough to pull it off. Perhaps I will try that save game hacking after all…

      On an unrelated note, is there/do you have plans to add a sandbox mode or level editor? I think I’ve already got about double my money’s worth, but it could be cool to play around with that stuff.

    • larsiusprime says:

      Those sound like some pretty cool features – we’ll have to see. It depends on how well the game does, and a bunch of other things, like how fast I can program :)

      I would love to add cool tools and full-fledged mod support to the game, but that’s a tall order so I might settle for just releasing a version that lets all the data files hang loose, free for hacking.

  21. tanith says:

    This game is simply awesome.
    Normally I do not like Tower Defense games, the last three that I played for a considerable amount of time were Sanctum, Revenge of the Titans and… Starcraft Brood War maps, back in 2003 or so.
    The setting of this game though… it is simply fantastic! The humour, the levels, the characters and the great music (if you are planning on buying it get the soundtrack, too).
    I really, really, really hope that this game sells well, it would totally deserve it.

  22. dontnormally says:

    I feel daft.

    Where do you go to export your save…?
    I can’t find this button anywhere.

    I have the buy page up, waiting for me to find the export…

    [edit]: Nevermind.

    I think, instead of saying “You can export your save game! Here’s a screenshot of what it would look like if you were at the right place to do so!”, it may be awesome to just have an “Export” button right there.

    Regardless, awesome game!

    • larsiusprime says:

      @dontnormally:

      That sounds like a smart idea!

    • Rakishan says:

      I feel like that guy from the XKCD comic. So how do I export the save game? (Without accidentally closing the game and losing my state.)

      Got it sorted. Continue quitting out of the game, and eventually you return to the opening screen. (This also works if you’ve quit the game, closed the browser, and are reopening the demo page on their site.) From the “Start” screen, choose start, and the next screen is one with the export button. (The save slot screen I’d forgotten about by now.)

  23. Chris D says:

    I just finished the demo. It does exactly what a demo should do which is make you click “buy” immediately as soon as it ends.

  24. Bobby Jaffa says:

    What a fabulous little game. Purchased.

  25. FKD says:

    I feel kind of bad saying this since so far pretty much everyone has bought it, but Tower Defence is not my kind of game it seems (seeing all the other games of that type has never “gripped” me if you will). However, just saying that would probably be rather pointless, so I also wanted to tell the developer since I noticed him roaming around in here (Hej!) that eventhough it is not my kind of game I did enjoy the demo. I was impressed with how easy everything was to play around with and I was actually nerdily extatic when I saw that when purchasing weapon upgrades it told you who it would be a upgrade/downgrade for! That is such a handy feature that I can not believe it when games do not put it in! I also liked the humour and cutscenes. So eventhough my play through did not end up with a sale, I want to say that I am very impressed with your work, and I hope you do get alot more purchases from this because I would really like to see what other kind of games you come up with! :D

  26. Chaosgabe says:

    I just spend 5 minutes on it, and i already looks like a sure sale. Awesome art and fun so far, lovely jokes. Ty, dev guys!

  27. Premium User Badge

    Devan says:

    Very good! I’ve never been super into tower-defense games, but I’ve been enjoying Orcs Must Die and some flash-based ones lately and I have to say this is even better.
    +1 sale, and I like the soundtrack so picking that up as well (the RPS coupon even completely covers it!)

  28. Skusey says:

    Never really got into Tower Defense before, but I loved the demo. And this is probably just me being an idiot, but I can’t work out how to export my save, so for now I’ve just left it open in a tab so I can enjoy the lovely music.

  29. luckystriker says:

    For the 2-3 weeks leading up to the release, I was checking the dev’s blog on a daily basis (even though I was subscribed to the newsletter and would have been immediately informed of any development). Lovely game, worth every penny.

  30. vanzer says:

    Picked this up and i must say it was well worth the coin.

    One of the more enjoying TD games outthere.

  31. Premium User Badge

    Keymonk says:

    …I think I’ll buy another copy. I frankly think it’s worth the money. I’ll grab the soundtrack too, now that I’m there.

  32. Jimbo says:

    Great game. GSOH and charming as hell.

    “This year’s Game Dev Story.” – Jimbo

  33. Ruffa-Duffa says:

    Does the coupon code still work? I tried it at the link provided but it said RPS is not a valid coupon code. Does it have anything to do with living in Australia? Sorry, I’m just a bit confused, as it is still January. He says as he notices the 2012 timestamp on the article. Whoops! Oh well, I was only 1 digit off.