Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten is a tower defense game with heavy RPG elements. Developed by Level Up Labs, the game tells the story of Azra and her quest to escape “The Pit” after being condemned to die there having contracted a deadly plague.
The story of Defender’s Quest centres on Azra Livbar, Royal Librarian of the Ash Empire. After contracting a disease known only as “The Plague”, and before she has even succumbed to it and died, Azra is thrown into “The Pit”; a massive valley where all those who have been infected end up.
Upon gaining consciousness after having been condemned to The Pit, Azra meets another plague victim, but is soon pulled into what is described as a “Halfway world” in which a golden man on a throne calls out to the both of them. While the other plague victim turns into a “Revenant”; a monstrous zombie-like form which can only be killed within this strange world, Azra is determined to resist him. Desperate for help, Azra pulls a passing Berserker named Slak into the halfway world, and with him, manages to fight off a number of revenant and escape.
Returned back to the normal world, Azra finds she is not only now immune to the plague but possesses new powers which allow her to enter the halfway world at whim, bringing others into it as she sees fit. What then follows is her quest to escape The Pit and discover the meaning and source of her powers.
The gameplay in Defender’s Quest is primarily a set of tower defense battles set upon a 2D grid-like map. Enemies are spawned in waves from set points and follow a route across the map to attack Azra. In order to defend her, various classes of units can be deployed on the map to attack the various enemies as they pass towards Azra. Actions carried out during battle all cost “psi”, a resource gained through defeating enemies. Azra starts each battle with a set amount based on her level, and her psi can be used to deploy and power up units, as well as casting a number of spells which she can use to influence the battle.
Victory in battle provides experience points towards each unit. As units level up, skill points can be distributed onto class-specific trees. Skills can be both active and passive, and their use is linked to a unit’s power level, which is a separate leveling system which exist solely within battles. Each unit with the exception of Azra has 5 levels of power when in battle. Psi can be used to boost a unit’s power level and therefore unlock skills corresponding to those levels for use. Boosting not only unlocks the use of that unit’s skills, but also increases their attributes such as attack power, defense etc. However, each boost of level requires an increasing amount of Psi to unlock. If a unit dies in battle, Psi can be used to redeploy them, but they will have their power level reset. Units can also be recalled while alive and subsequently redeployed elsewhere, but they too will have their power level reset, although an amount of Psi is recovered with each recall.
Battles are tied together via a world map which forms the hub for the game. From it, party information, bonus stages, towns, vendors and game options can be accessed. Battles are also set with 4 different difficulties; Casual, Normal, Advanced, and Extreme. Each level provides a progressively larger reward of experience and Scrap; the game’s currency. Scrap can be used to recruit further units and purchase weapons and armour for them. Some battles however, will offer such items for completion at the higher difficulties. Victory also awards gold stars with which various bonus battles can be unlocked.
Customisation and Persistence
Units in Defender’s Quest are persistent and customisable. The names for all the characters can be changed, as can the colour scheme for all recruited units. These changes can be made at any time. Skills points can also be reassigned. For each class of unit; Berserker, Ranger, Healer, Ice Mage, Knight and Dragon, the game allows for a maximum of six each to be present in Azra’s army. Their individual levels, skills, and equipment all carry over from battle to battle regardless of mode. The game offers a new game plus mode following completion of the story; however the normal game mode will remain available and run parallel to the new game plus progress, allowing for battles in either mode to be played or replayed, and for the rewards of those battles to persist over both game modes.