Guard Times: Defender’s Quest II – Mists Of Ruin

Defender’s Quest is my favourite tower defence game. The designers managed to combine the basic idea of positioning units on a series of paths with RPG upgrade systems without botching the balance of the entire campaign, or limiting player choice. It’s a quietly brilliant piece of work and news of a sequel is most welcome. Level Up Labs are taking preorders for Defender’s Quest II: Mists of Ruin now, with Kickstarter style reward tiers. I’d never suggest that anyone preorder anything that isn’t in extremely limited supply but $15 will secure a copy of the sequel on release and a copy of the original game right now. If you haven’t played it already, that’s worth considering. There’s even an online demo of the first game. Teaser trailer beyond the ramparts.

It’s an all new world with an all new art style, with contributions from veterans of Dust: An Elysian Tail and Waking Mars. As I’ve come to expect from Level Up, there’s a reassuring honesty and acknowledgement of the team’s strengths and the limit of their ambitions. I get the impression they once spotted some feature creep and immediately shot it, burned the remains and launched the ashes into space.

Here is a list of things that Mists of Ruin won’t involve.

We favor 2D over 3D because 2D art looks great, it keeps costs low, and most importantly – it’s way easier for the player to understand what’s going on.
We’re not adding multi-player or co-op.
We’re not adding a bunch of irrelevant mini-games.
We’re not committing to voice acting.
We’re not throwing our old engine away and starting from scratch.
Most importantly, we’re not committing to any stretch goals.

If you already own Defender’s Quest, spare copies can be gifted.

…you’ll receive a giftable Humble Store key in your pre-order. And if you’re really in the giving mood, consider buying a 4-pack — you’ll get 4 individually giftable codes, at 25% off the regular pre-order price.



  1. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    This looks great. I love that the game is in a separate continuity from the first one, as I’m getting tired of games that implicitly penalize you for not following along with what end up being byzantine plots that meander across a dozen titles (looking at you, Assassin’s Creed).

  2. FFabian says:

    Best Tower Defense was Grid Defense and lately Orcs must Die (I and II).

    • Moraven says:

      Pixeljunk Monsters you forgot. Sadly I do not think a lot of PC gamers are aware of the port.

      Best co-op TD outside TD maps in Starcraft or Warcraft.

    • Jimbo says:

      Loved Orcs Must Die & Defense Grid, but Defender’s Quest just pips them for me.

      • bstard says:

        Defenders quest was just a lot of weirdness to me. A real TD should be played over and over again, try out every possibility and squeeze out every point. Not some lore story with mind bendingly easy levels you quest by only once. When I want to play rolls I go visit my local prostitute. Good TD’s imo are some war3/sc2 maps, DGrid, en Fieldrunners2.

        • Spoon Of Doom says:

          Well, you could replay the levels on three different difficulties, there’s a new game+ with yet more difficulty and there were also a bunch of endless levels, should even the hardest ones get too easy for you at some point.

  3. Snargelfargen says:

    There’s been tremendous post-game support for the first game, including redone art and an extra difficulty mode. I even got a mail offering a free copy for my steam and GoG accounts, after purchasing the game on their website about 8 months before. Level Up are pretty cool in my book, and probably the only developer apart from CD Projekt that I trust enough to pre-order from.

  4. Hordriss says:

    Woohoo! Looking forward to this. I’d sworn not to perorder any more games or to go in for anything else kickstartery (Godus… sigh) but this will be my exception.

    I’ve put an ungodly number of hours into the first game and still play it regularly. More of the same (or close enough) is most welcome. My favourite tower defence, awesome devs, no multiplayer/co-op/stretch goals… great news to come home to after a tedious day in the office. Time to commence money throwing.

  5. scorcher24 says:

    Flash. No thanks.

    • larsiusprime says:

      Defender’s Quest II is 100% flash free, it uses the Haxe programming language which lets us compile Mac/Win/Linux builds natively as C++ applications, while still being able to create a flash-based web demo, perhaps even an html5 app if we’re lucky. And all from one code base.

      Basically the desktop version of DefQ2 will run way better than DefQ1, be easier to install, not require Adobe AIR or any other trace of flash, and run much, much, faster.

      link to
      link to

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Can I just say, I loved your first game and I absolutely cannot wait for this one to be out!

      • jrodman says:

        Hm, not sold on the metalanguage concept, a decent language has to stew over many years to get any good.
        That said, I see why they had to do it this way to get what they wanted.

        Hopefully it doesn’t give you any trouble!

        • larsiusprime says:

          Haxe ain’t magic by any means, you have to be well aware of the places the abstraction leaks, but it’s waaaay better than writing the game 4 times for 4 different platforms, and it pretty much strictly dominates flash.

          Haxe has been around for at least 8 years, and it feels way more mature these days then when I first tried it out about 5 years ago. So far so good! There’s even been a good number of notable indie games released in it already (Monster Loves You!, Papers Please, EvoLand).

          It’s not a total replacement for C++ or anything, but think of it as an open-source Unity alternative.

  6. The King K says:

    This is great news. I think I sunk over 50 hours into the first one. Good story (great by TD standards), great challenges and rewards. Nice leveling and varied equipment.
    Also liked that there was no mazing. While that doesn’t sink a game, I prefer a game where I don’t have to consider that. It does not take away from Grid Defense or OMD, just doesn’t fit my play-style. I alwasy feel like having to take a cheap tower just to maze.
    Then again, my imagination is pretty limited in that regard, some people did amazing stuff in OMD with those catapults

  7. Alien.Nated says:

    Very stoked for this one too. If you feel anything above utter contempt for the TD genre, you owe it to yourself to play DQ. Go on and preorder folks !

  8. RedViv says:

    Threw money at all these nice lovely people when the pre-orders were still in the double digits. It felt good.

  9. Tams80 says:

    I’m not really into the ‘retro’ look, so the original just seemed ugly to me (hurray for demos!).

    This however looks fantastic. They’ve gone with aesthetics that are to my liking to.

  10. LintMan says:

    The cartoony look of the characters in DQ really complemented their fun, silly dialog. Is the tone of the story going to become more serious along with the new art style?

  11. Tony M says:

    I enjoyed Defender Quests combination of Tower Defense and RPG leveling/gear. I’m glad they have a new art style, because DQ1 was a gem that deserved more attention than it got. Many people passed on the game based on screenshots. I hope a wider audience gets to experience this excellent gameplay in DQ2.

    DQ1 is still the best tower defense game IMO. Other well executed TD games can’t resist the impulse to introduce a “hero” type unit that you control directly, and that totally changes the feel of a TD game. (Please tell me that DQ2 does not feature a direct control hero).

    Add me to the list of people applauding the “no stretch goals”. I’m fine with designers expanding the scope of a game when they get a bigger budget, but keep it all behind closed doors where the designer is free to add and remove features based on what works. Don’t commit to a list of features in the early design stages when some of those features might turn out to be a waste of time or money.

    • larsiusprime says:

      Nope, no direct-control “actiony” hero units! The closest thing we have is the “spellcaster” unit that is also the thing you’re defending (Azra in the 1st game, Bitey the Turtle-Tank in the 2nd).