The Defenders: The Second Wave is an action/strategy game that plays like a side-scrolling tower defense game. It’s a very specific genre mash-up that tends to be used in free web games rather than games getting a full steam release, but to me, it’s one that has a lot of potential for a unique experience. Unfortunately, The Defenders is a lackluster example and does little to advance the genre.
The game is plagued by clunky combat and unforgiving progression mechanics. There are 3 main paths you can take your character down, but attempting to create a jack-of-all-trades character that dabbles in multiple styles isn’t feasible. You can either be a builder, which is fairly similar to a traditional tower defense game, a warrior, which focuses on direct combat, or a mage, primarily using spells to defeat enemies. While each build is different, none of them are particularly interesting. My favorite was the builder, but it was awkward trying to play a tower defense game from a side-scrolling perspective. Due to the game’s money mechanics, you are given a finite amount of money with no way to replay levels for extra cash. This causes most playthroughs to end due to a single mistake, usually either because of a poor upgrade choice or building placement (when playing as a builder). The game almost becomes like a roguelike, but with no variation in each run. It’s a mind-numbing process and kills any desire I had to replay it.
Overall, there aren’t many people that will enjoy this game, especially when there are much better games in the genre that you can play in a web browser for free.