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'.