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Video Game: Defender's Quest

Are you a fan of Puzzle Quest? Are you thinking "Man, I just have to play another game that's an RPG mashed up with some other genre!"? Then boy, do we have the game for you.

Defender's Quest is an indie game created by Level Up Labs that blends the addicting gameplay of a Tower Defense game with the story and tactical depth of an RPG. The game begins when Azra, the royal librarian of the Ash Kingdom, contracts a plague that turns those infected into horrifying monstrosities known as Revenants, and is thrown into a plague colony known as the Pit as a result. Fortunately, she quickly discovers that, not only is she immune to the malady, but the infection has gifted her with strange powers that allow her to fight against the Revenants.

A very extensive demo of the game, consisting of the entire first two (of seven) acts, can be played for free here. Once you've beaten that, you can purchase the full version (and very handily transfer your save game from the demo to it) here!

A sequel, Defenders Quest II, was announced on October 13th, 2013. Release date uncertain.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Ketta and Niru. Possibly Wrenna, as well.
  • Action Mom: Niru.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Every new hire costs more than the previous one, regardless of what their class is or what ass-end town you hire them from. And after they've drained your scrap supply, you still have to buy them equipment.
  • The Atoner: Bakal.
  • Ax-Crazy: Slak, in a good way.
  • Bad Ending: Losing to the final boss gives you one of these.
  • Bald of Evil: Zelemir is revealed to have this after he takes off his hood. Interestingly, though, this coincides with the revelation that he is a Well-Intentioned Extremist instead of a straight-up Evil Sorcerer.
  • Big Damn Heroes: And it comes from the last person you'd expect. Just as a seemingly-invincible cultist is about to kill Azra, Zelemir suddenly appears and saves her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ending C, "A Painful End", is very bittersweet. Eztli-Tenoch is still alive, Bakal and Markos are dead, and many of the Pit inhabitants die or go hungry. On the bright side, some people did survive, and Eztli-Tenoch has been permanently sealed, meaning the events of the story will never happen again.
  • Blood Knight: Slak.
  • Blood Magic: The seal that binds Eztli-Tenoch uses this. It can only be broken by the bloodline of the ones who originally made the seal.
    • In the New Game+ sidequests, Tletl-Meztli seems to use something like this; many of her spells are activated after she cuts her palm and draws blood.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Slak.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The alternate ending is this for everyone except Azra, Ketta, and Markos. Fortunately, it's also one of these for the Big Bad.
  • Bonus Boss: The "super sheep". It has no special skills aside from having a lot of health.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • "Eye of the Flame", obtained by beating the Final Boss on the highest difficulty. Strangely enough, it's actually outclassed by Evni.
      • Even moreso, the Obsidian Skull obtained by beating the Final Boss on extreme in New Game+.
      • Not necessarily though, as there are challenges in the game even more difficult than the final boss on the highest difficulty; the items may help with these.
  • Brick Joke: "The Tipsy Tiger Song".
  • Buffy Speak: The characters occasionally engage in this.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Ketta in the good ending path.
  • Cutscene Boss: The "true" right hand of Eztli-Tenoch, who is totally invincible. Just as he's about to kill Azra, Zelemir swoops in and dispatches him with a lightning bolt.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Zelemir.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ketta.
  • Decoy Antagonist: Ozimal, very obviously. The Man Behind the Man cements this fact when he transforms Ozimal into a Revenant and sends him on a suicide charge.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: Azra has several dreams about Tletl-Meztli's life with Eztli-Tenoch, which Azra writes down in her journal. You don't really figure this out until after the final sidequest though.
  • Driven to Suicide: After seeing how Eztli-Tenoch has turned into a complete Evil Overlord, his lover, Tletl-Meztli, asks him for a Mercy Kill.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: The sheep level on higher difficulties.
  • Elite Mooks: Cultists.
  • Enemy Mine: Zelemir fights alongside Azra during the final battle against Eztli-Tenoch.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Zelemir. At first, anyway.
    • Eztli-Tenoch is a straighter example.
  • Evolving Weapon: In a New Game+, unique equipment obtained from a regular game can be upgraded using a special currency, giving them improved stat bonuses and special effects.
  • Experience Points: The game also comes with an option to increase or decrease the amount of experience you gain.
  • First-Person Smartass: Azra during her journal entries, which are only available on New Game+.
  • Forced Level Grinding: Lots. You will need to return to older levels and try them at higher difficulties to have any hope of continuing the main story. Frequently.
  • The Fundamentalist: Quaid was apparently full of these before it fell.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The quality of the ending you get after the final level is tied to your performance during it. You get the worst ending if Zelemir dies, a better ending if they are only injured, and the Golden Ending if they are unharmed.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Extra recruits are never mentioned or referenced in the main story, and only really seem to be there to make gameplay easier.
      • Extra ice magi in particular are rather awkward, since Wrenna's backstory seems to imply that her powers are supposed to be unique.
      • That's only if you fail to pay attention to the story. When Wrenna tells her story how she came to wield ice she also says: "I am not the only one who has had this experience. Many survive this plague and return changed." Actually every story character explicitly explains where other recruits come from except Slak and Ketta, because, raging half-naked nomad warriors and female nomad bow wielders are just way too common among Nomads and don't require any extra explanation.
    • Also, it is entirely possible to revisit levels (or even towns) that you shouldn't be able to access according to in-story events.
  • Genius Bruiser: In the New Game+ it is revealed that despite being an idiot Slak knows how to read and write.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Right Hand of Eztli-Tenoch. Lampshaded.
    Slak (boggling): Is that a...giant...hand? Any other unusually sized body parts fixing to burst out of the ground?
  • A God Am I: Eztli-Tenoch. He may not be entirely off the mark, though...
    • Niru as well, although in her case its played more for comedy.
  • Golden Ending: Receiving this requires not allowing Zelemir to be harmed.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Averted with healers and dragons (though dragons do also have a ranged attack), played straight everywhere else.
  • Healing Factor: Everyone. Berserkers get a trait that specializes in it, however, probably to balance out their lack of armor.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Zelemir has a very slow one. He starts off appearing as a typical Evil Sorceror, then is revealed to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist, and at the very end, he fights alongside you for the final battle.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Bakal, Zelemir, and/or Markos can die while resealing/killing Eztli-Tenoch at the end of the game.
  • An Ice Person: Wrenna, much to her chagrin, as it is at odds with both her personality and religion.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Evni for swords, Warlord's Triumph for bows, Kozomon's Scepter for staves.
  • In the Hood: Zelemir for the first half of the game. Afterwards, he's revealed to have Bald of Evil.
  • It's Personal: Eztli-Tenoch is noticeably emotional after he kills Tletl-Meztli and warns Azra to prepare herself.
  • Jack of All Stats: Rangers, roughly. They're well-equipped to deal with a wide variety of enemies (as opposed to most classes, which are geared towards eliminating a single enemy type). Which is probably why many enemies in the New Game+ have abilities specifically designed to nerf rangers.
  • Large And In Charge: Ozimal is noticeably taller than many of the cast. Subverted when he turns out to be a Decoy Antagonist.
  • Light The Way: Healers.
  • Line in the Sand: At the end, if Azra decides to stop Zelemir, she offers this to her teammates. Ketta is the only one who takes up the offer, though she changes her mind later.
  • The Magic Goes Away: The source of everyone's supernatural powers was Eztli-Tenoch, so when he dies, everyone reverts back to normal.
  • Mama Bear: Niru. And she is NOT happy to discover that Zelemir has been killing her kids.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Happens twiceEztli-Tenoch behind Zelemir behind Ozimal.
  • The Medic: Healers, natch.
  • Mighty Glacier: Knights. Their attacks are all single-hit and they have the slowest attack speed out of all the classes, but they hit like a truck.
  • Mood Whiplash: Frequently. Scenes love to swing from deep, serious philosophizing or plot exposition to lighthearted jokes or even madcap comedy in the span of a single second, and vice versa.
    • In particular is the ending of Wrenna's sidequest. After her tough shell fractures and she spills her heart out to Azra, detailing the horrors of the Quaid genocide that she experienced, the scene ends on...
      Azra: you want a hug?
      Wrenna: What's a "hug"?
  • Multiple Endings: Five.
  • Multiple Life Bars: The Final Boss uses the first variant; they have five health bars that must be depleted in sequence. They also become invincible after each one is knocked off until you expend some psi.
  • Necromancer: Zelemir. Also, given that the infected have visions of him, Eztli-Tenoch is probably one as well.
  • New Game+: However, enemies are buffed up (and given special abilities) to be on par with your godly levels. You also get access to seven optional levels.
  • Only Sane Woman: Ketta. Azra sometimes as well.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: According to Wrenna, dragons were originally a rough equivalent of angels — creations of the Quaid's fire god, sent to watch over the realm of mortals. Unfortunately, many were corrupted by greed, leading to their hoarding and pillaging tendencies. Others also forgot their original purpose over time.
  • Path of Most Resistance: At the end of the game, the levels branch — you either fight one easy level, or a series of much harder ones. The former will get you the bad ending, the latter will get you the good.
  • The Plague
    • The Virus: Those who do not survive the plague turn into Revenants.
    • The Corruption: Averted. Many of those who do survive get superpowers out of the deal, but they don't corrupt people mentally or physically. They're also key to defeating the source of the plague.
  • Post-End Game Content: Several "bonus" levels consisting of special challenges, as well as New Game+.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Azra's books. Their description makes them sound like they just have awesome effects — what they don't tell you is that they also have negative drawbacks, such as tripling the cost and quintupling the cooldown of the relevant spell. In many cases, this makes the powerups simply not worth it.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Wrenna.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In the Golden Ending, Eztli-Tenoch is struck down by Zelemir, who vanishes afterwards.
  • Redemption Promotion / Redemption Demotion: When Zelemir joins your side during the final battle, both of these apply to an extent. They basically become a copy of Azra, so their spells are weaker, but can be used more frequently. Their massive, boss-level HP is also cut down to be comparable with Azra's.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Ketta, at the end of the game. She changes her mind if you pursue the good ending, however.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Eztli-Tenoch.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The game is very generous with the options it gives the player. There is nothing stopping the player from attempting to beat the game by only using hero characters or cutting xp gain in half while playing on the highest difficulty.
  • Sequential Boss: The Final Boss transforms every time you knock off one of their his bars, requiring you to expend some psi in order to keep damaging him. However, other than HP, his stats and battle tactics don't change between forms.
  • Ship Tease: Slak and Ketta.
  • Shipper on Deck: On the final page of the final entry in the journal, which is obtained by beating the New Game+ then going back into the game (and might require getting the Golden Ending to boot), and is an epilogue written months after the events of the game, it is revealed that Slak thinks Azra wants Markos.
    • Brick Joke: ...and that Azra kept the soup ladle, that useful instrument for interrupting Slak when he is being annoying.
  • Side Quest: Seven, three of which even have a connected subplot. They're only available in New Game+, however.
  • Squishy Wizard: Ice mages and healers.
    • Possibly subverted with ice mages, as unlike virtually every other Squishy Wizard ever, they can wear heavy armor.
  • That Man Is Dead: "Those names are dead."
  • Tsundere: Ketta. Slak is merely a "tolerable comrade in arms"? Even Azra sees through that. This gets on peoples' nerves, to the point that Azra claims to have seriously considered letting the dragon eat her.
  • Undying Loyalty: Markos towards Azra.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Slak and other berserkers don't wear shirts. They can't wear armor either.
  • Was Once a Man: Revenants.
    • Also, Etzli-Tenoch, as revealed in the final sidequest.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Zelemir, emphasis on extremist. Eztli-Tenoch to an extent as well if the final sidequest is to be believed.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Azra will get this from Niru and Wrenna if she decides to flee the Pit instead of confronting Zelemir. Subverted by Bakal, however, who will fully support her choice.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Ozimal gets turned into a Revenant after failing Zelemir one too many times.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The plague caused this for the Quaid empire.

Cursed TreasureTower DefenseDefenders Quest II
DEFCONWebsite/GOG.comDemon Stone
DEFCONUsefulNotes/Apple MacintoshDepression Quest
DEFCONUsefulNotes/SteamDefense Grid: The Awakening

alternative title(s): Defenders Quest
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