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.