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Dungeon Defenders: First Wave is the shape of Android gaming to come

If you’ve not already downloaded Dungeon Defenders: First Wave on your Android phone it’s definitely worth a look. Even if your phone doesn’t quite make the grade in terms of spec, you should check it out.

If only for the simple reason that it provides a glimpse of what to expect from future Android games, and what Tegra 2-powered Android phones will be capable of.

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of fuss around something called a Tegra 2 chip right now. This powerful component will allow for Android phones and tablets to do some pretty cool things, like render 1080p video without breaking a sweat, have several web pages running at once and play games like Dungeon Defenders: First Wave.

Like Infinity Blade on the iPhone, DD:FW runs on the Unreal Engine, the first Android title to do so. This should give you some indication of the game’s visuals. Gamewise, DD:FW is something of a mixed bag. It’s a toss up between a hack ‘n slash RPG and a tower defence game, effectively combining two popular mobile game formats.

As well as erecting automated towers and traps to keep enemies at bay, you also control a character allowing you to run to and from choke points and engage enemies hand-to-hand. Anyone who played Final Fantasy VII back in the day might be reminded of the Mount Condor side-quest (only with better graphics).

In traditional RPG fare there’s four character classes, the Squire (slow moving, strong direct attack) Apprentice (powerful magic abilities) Huntress (ranged weapons specialist) and the Monk (healer/all-rounder). Towers cost mana to create, which can be obtained from fallen enemies or chests.

In traditional tower defence fare, enemies come in a series of waves, each one set on getting to and destroying a level’s Eternia crystal and each one more challenging than the last. There’s chance for a breather between waves, where your health is resorted and you’re given the opportunity to level up and erect new towers.

DD:FW isn’t a perfect game by any means; menus are often overwhelming and the layout of the controls sometimes makes things confusing. When furiously tapping the attack button, it’s often all too easy to accidentally make your character jump, instead of hacking at your foes.

Our poor old Nexus One met the minimum spec for the game but really struggled, especially when there were lots of enemies to fend off. Playing it on a Nexus S meant for a much faster experience but the control layout still frustrated at times.

Gameplay niggles and hardware requirements aside, Dungeon Defenders: First Wave offers a glimpse at the future of Android gaming and we have to say we’re impressed. We’re eagerly anticipating the next wave with bated breath.

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