Aegis Defenders

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Aegis Defenders Game Poster Image
Complex but highly rewarding adventure focused on teamwork.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive messages

Primary focus of game is teamwork. Characters have to work together to survive, overcome various obstacles in their way. Story also does a great job of bringing characters together to form bond beyond simply working together out of necessity.

Positive role models & representations

Main characters are generally good people, willing to help others as needed, work toward a common goal. Players can also choose different dialogue options that earn extra points, while also helping to shape characters' personalities.

Ease of play

Although game does a great job of easing players into things with on-screen tutorials and a gradual (sometimes too gradual) difficulty curve, that doesn't stop it from being complex. Managing multiple characters' actions simultaneously can get overwhelming, especially during solo play.

Violence

Players constantly battle against strange creatures, fighting them off with a variety of weapons, abilities. Game's pixelated art style leans more toward flashy effects, explosions to represent damage. Some minor pixelated blood splatter on occasion.

Sex

Some female characters, as well as some statues of deities, have slightly revealing outfits, but nothing overly sexualized.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Aegis Defenders is a hybrid platform/tower defense game available for download on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. Players control a party of characters scavenging the world around them for valuable relics. The characters fight for survival against strange, dangerous creatures using a variety of weapons, such as gun turrets, explosives, hammers, bows and arrows, and more. While there's plenty of action, the game has a pixelated art style that keeps the violence in the game from being too intense or bloody. The game eases players into the controls and difficulty, but it's still relatively complex and requires a lot of practice and focus. Apart from slightly revealing clothing for some female characters, there's no inappropriate content to be found.

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What's it about?

AEGIS DEFENDERS introduces players to a world that's still healing after a great catastrophe nearly wiped out all of humanity. In time, those that survived slowly began to rebuild, discovering the relics from their past and working to create a better future. Many became hunters, people brave enough to explore the harsh environments and seek out artifacts of the old world. While out on a scavenging mission, two of these hunters, Bart and his granddaughter Clu, stumble across an ancient relic of great power. This discovery leads to a greater mystery, as well as another looming threat to the world. It's more than scraps that need to be defended ... it's the survival of the human race. And so it falls to Bart, Clu, and their allies to uncover the truth behind the original Great Desolation, and to prevent the gods from repeating that history.

Is it any good?

Every once in a while, a great idea comes along that seems to fly in the face of logic, because on paper, there's no way it should work, and yet somehow it does. Aegis Defenders is one of those great ideas. The game takes the back-and-forth exploration elements of a traditional platformer and melds it with the tactics and strategy of a tower defense game. Usually, the way it plays out is that the player runs, jumps, and shoots their way to a relic, then has to defend that relic from waves of attacks. The key is to make sure to pick up enough resources during the platforming sections to last you during the defense parts of the game. Adding to the difficulty is a color-based rock-paper-scissors element to combat, where certain enemies are weak or strong against certain colored (elemental) attacks. If all of that wasn't complicated enough, players have to switch up characters on the fly, controlling all the on-screen action simultaneously. It's not so bad if you're playing with a friend in co-op, but in solo play, it's one more challenge to overcome.

As complicated as the game can be to play, Aegis Defenders does a surprisingly good job of easing players into everything. The tutorials are straightforward and the difficulty increases gradually over time. It's a good thing, too, as you'll want to spend some time taking in the game's story and characters. Like the difficulty, the plot is something that builds slowly but keeps your interest. What starts off as a day in the life of two simple scavengers eventually becomes a team-up adventure with the fate of the world hanging in the balance, and yet the progression never feels forced. Make no mistake about it, Aegis Defenders is a complex, team-driven game that takes time to get the most out of. But with patience, practice, and the occasional help from a friend, it's a unique hybrid experience that proves to be greater than the sum of its parts.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about single-player verses co-op gaming experiences. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of playing games like Aegis Defenders alone or with friends? What are some other good games or activities to play with others?

  • Talk about teamwork. How important is teamwork when facing obstacles in life? What are some of the ways that people can work together effectively to accomplish common goals?

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