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Video Game / Defender's Quest

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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!. You can also find it on Steam


On June 14th, 2016, an HD update was released enhancing existing textures and giving new features such as Azra's journal from the get go.

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

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Ketta, Niru and Wrenna. In some case, Azra 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.
  • Ax-Crazy: Downplayed with Wrenna. She has an excessive propensity to cheerfully discuss her personal acts of homicide, but is otherwise really just another young woman with deep personal troubles.
  • The Atoner: After all the conflicts between the Quaid Empire and the Ash Kingdom, Wrenna and Bakal are these.
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  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Knights specialise in these, being able to ignore or even break the defences of armoured enemies. Ranger's can also gain a passive armour penetration chance on all their attacks.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: Azra's teams grows into this, bonus points for an actual Blood Knight as her first companion.
  • Bad Boss: Zelemir does not take to lightly on Ozimal's failures. It comes back to bite Niru when she realized her children were slaughtered by Zelemir on his way to get to Azra.
  • 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.
    • Ending A, "The Way Out" leaves Eztli-Tenoch effectively sealed for good, but most of Azra's companions are also dead, along with all the inhabitants of the Pit and the last of the Quaid. Azra herself is probably scarred for life.
    Wrenna: Someday, you will learn that it is better to die with your comrades than to live forever, alone. May the lesson be bitter.
  • Guide Dang It!: The Strange Monument is positively notorious in the community. Not only are the puzzle solutions hidden in extremely obscure ways, so is the existence of the puzzles themselves.
  • Bishōnen Line: At the start of the battle, Eztli-Tenoch looks like a golden man with a blue cape. As Azra boosts her power, Eztli-Tenoch gradually becomes more monstrous, growing more limbs and resembling human less and less... until Azra boosts herself to the max and Eztli-Tenoch is revealed to be a nude old man with very long hair and beard.
  • Blood Knight: Slak, a memetic example. To the point that inspires Azra to develop the Berserker ability to the entire party.
  • 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, if Azra chooses to try and stop Zelemir's plot at the end.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Ketta, of all people, is in love with Slak due to his proud machismo and Blood Knight tendencies. She gets jealous of Evni, a sword.
  • Cutscene Boss: The "true" right hand of Eztli-Tenoch, who is totally invincible. Just as he's about to kill Azra, Zelemir drops a lightning bolt on it.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Bakal is dressed in black robes, despite of owning a monastery meant to heal the sick and maintain order in his place. Zelemir turns out to be this as well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Azra, in her journal. Ketta in some extent.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Blasting the caverns in order to stop Zelemir from kidnapping Azra was just an idea, Bakal forgotten that it left Niru's nest defenseless to reanimation.
  • 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.
  • The Empire: The Empire of Quaid, until it got wiped out by Zelemir and the plague.
  • 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: Despite being essentially diagnosed with insanity, Slak knows how to read and write like a printer, much to Azra's annoyance.
  • 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?
  • Guide Dang It!: The Strange Monument is positively notorious in the community. Not only are the puzzle solutions hidden in extremely obscure ways, so is the existence of the puzzles themselves.
  • A God Am I: Niru and, by extent, her bloodline of dragons before her.
    • Eztli-Tenoch. He may not be entirely off the mark, though...
  • 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: More like, a not really nice person but icy Wrenna, trading "the fire of her heart" that she can continue to live on.
  • I Call It "Vera": Slak is really fond of Evni, to the point of treating "her" like a real person.
    • He's also named all his abs. And his glutes. And the skulls on his necklace of skulls.
      Slak: I call the big one Blinky, and the little one here Mr. Teeth.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Evni for swords, Gilded Death 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: Berserkers. Effectively a basic class for the players to take advantage of. High attack speed and evasion, decent regeneration and the ability to hit multiple enemies allows easy denial in a single path without taking significant hassle pick off enemies at a long distance. No ranged abilities, though, and no utility other than a chance to inflict Bleed.
  • Large and in Charge: Ozimal is noticeably taller than many of the cast. Subverted when he turns out to be a Decoy Antagonist.
  • Light Is Not Good: Ezti-Tenoch appears in the form of a man of glowing golden light, but is anything but good.
  • Light The Way: Healers, and they are the only ones who can dispel the shadow hordes evasion buff for other defenders to kill them.
  • 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.
  • Magikarp Power: Rangers. They start off picking targets one-by-one with a unique medium ranged basic attack that deals a few hits short than a berserker. Later levels allows rangers to group together in a single pack that can shower enemies endlessly at a safe distance with little help from other classes.
  • 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.
  • Mana Shield: The Psi Shield book gives Azra one of these when equipped.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Subverted. Eztli-Tenoch was never behind Zelemir and Ozimal was just a warm-up boss for the three-bit heroes until stronger characters showed up.
  • Meaningful Name: "Zelemir" is Old Slavic and can read as either "Desire for Peace" or "Desire for the World".
  • 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.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: Azra's letter to Markos has an interesting analysis on his Porn Stache, considering how long Azra's been surrounded by nothing more but bloodthirsty sociopaths, Desert Bandits and an old man she barely get a chance talk to, she takes Markor's sanity is well guarded by said mustache. Even Slak knows what's up with her.
  • Mushroom Samba: According to her diary, Azra ends up going on one after her fifth boot of Slak's "boot wine" during the celebrations after slaying the super-sheep. Her diary the next morning consists of many, many reiterations of the word "NEVER" concluding with "AGAIN!"
  • 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.
  • Noodle Incident: The "Raisin Pudding Incident" Azra mentions after completing the third sidequest in new game+.
  • No Social Skills: Wrenna is exceptionally unaware that people outside of Quaid are terrified about her bloodthirsty stories.
  • Only Sane Woman: Azra, in perspective, compared to the more culturally-inclined characters like Ketta and Wrenna.
  • 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. Some of them give additional effects to spells. 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 and the entire Quaid empire, until the Empire is destroyed by the plague.
  • Pun
    • This absolute groaner in Chapter IV:
      Wrenna: (on Niru, the dragon) Many have thought they were wise enough to fool the powers of darkness. Do not let hubris lead you to deception.
      Azra: Of course, Wrenna. I realize we're... playing with fire.
      Wrenna: *facepalm* That's not... even... ugh.
      Azra: Come on, it's hilarious.
      Wrenna: ...My mind hurts.
    • The Right Hand of Etzli-Tenoch (which is a literal hand) includes in its flavor text: "On closer inspection, it seems to be a left hand. How sinister."
  • Redemption Equals Death: Eztli-Tenoch's ultimate defeat is brought about by Zelemir and/or Bakal, who vanish/die as a direct result.
  • 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.
  • Riches to Rags: Turns out, Slak used to be in fine royalty which includes his librarian-like education that rivals Azra, but finds the sport of riches to be very boring and decides to ruin his own life then turn it into a bloodbath adventure just for the fun of it.
  • Samus Is a Girl: A subtle case, it's uncanny to tell Niru is female until she spoke out that she does have a nest to tend with.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Ketta, considering that she is a desert tribe bandit her likelihood of running away from a fight is expected. She becomes absent if you pursue Zelemir instead of following his advice, but comes back later on since she couldn't get her eyes out off Slak.
    • Azra, if you allow Zelemir to do the ritual himself, leaving to speculation to the other characters who remained to fight through the caverns.
  • 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.
    • There's also equipping the Book of Daring and/or Book of Silence obtained from the last bonus missions which prevent you from re-summoning defeated/recalled units and prevent you from casting spells respectively.
  • 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, if buying Evni beforehand was enough to expose it.
  • 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. Also 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.
  • Sole Survivor: Wrenna is the sole surviving heir of the Quaid imperial family, and a powerful fighter and ice mage.
  • Squishy Wizard: Healers, but subverted with Ice Mages, who dons similarly heavy armor compared to knights and are built specifically to stun-lock enemies in a lane or two.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Slak's whole persona. Two lines from the script file convey this succinctly:
  • That Man Is Dead: Bakal thinks Zelemir is this after unleashing the overworld calamity across the world.
  • 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: Oddly enough, Slak towards Azra. Markos as well for Azra if Azra decides abandon her journey to save her own skin instead of ending the plague for good.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Slak and other berserkers invoke this, since fighting bad guys with a suit of armor doesn't look cool. Markos and Ketta even insist Slak to put on a shirt, because the latter couldn't keep a straight face looking at his abs.
  • 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.
    • In the New Game+, Azra calls out Ketta for showing no interest in rescuing some children still trapped in Ozimal's dungeon, only wanting to pursue a blood feud against a member of the rival tribe.
  • You Have Failed Me: Ozimal gets turned into a Revenant by Zelemir for failing to capture Azra for the last time.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The plague caused this for the Quaid Empire and threatens to do the same to the kingdom of Ash.


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