Defenders of Time

Game review by
Carolyn Koh, Common Sense Media
Defenders of Time Game Poster Image
Complex tower defense game lacks tutorial, online players.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn strategy and long-term planning to deflect and change enemy paths by placing obstacles and selecting towers to deal with different types of enemies. Stat tracking and in-game feedback provide information on how to improve tactics. Kids must use quick decision-making skills to defeat the waves of enemies. They also can learn teamwork and leadership skills in team-based matches. Tower defense fans will definitely find a fun challenge becoming one of the Defenders of Time.

Positive Messages

Protecting your territory from incoming invasions is the only message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No playable characters.

Ease of Play

Steep learning curve but repeatable tutorial.

Violence

No blood. Defense towers shoot waves of oncoming robots, which break into pieces and spill oil on the battlefield.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Defenders of Time is a downloadable sci-fi tower defense game. Players build and improve defensive turrets, which shoot at waves of incoming robotic enemies. There isn't any "blood" spilled; robots that are destroyed break into pieces and scatter oil across the battlefield. The single-player version of the game is free, although the multiplayer version will cost money (this isn't typical). Multiplayer is unmoderated.

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What's it about?

In fast-paced tower defense game DEFENDERS OF TIME, you fight against aliens trying to rip apart the fabric of time. This explains the names of the battlegrounds: Area 51, Babylon, and the like. Players set towers on a map to deflect the path of ground enemies. You also have to keep an eye on the path of air enemies. As enemies are destroyed, players gain credits, which are used to place more towers and upgrade them. Additional tower types are unlocked as players defeat each wave of enemies.

Is it any good?

Defenders of Time lets players explore both a single-player campaign and a multiplayer mode that pits players against one another in one-on-one, two-on-two, and four-on-four matches. The game is very fast-paced and requires quick hand-eye coordination, fast decision-making, and good spatial cognition for success. Players need to understand how enemy paths change when obstacles are placed in their way to beat each level. Fortunately, there's good information on the game's website, and its tutorial can be replayed multiple times if you get confused. Plus, each tower's abilities are distinct and unique enough to require new tactics. You'll also find that the visuals are very slick and engaging. But one problem with the tutorial is that it's the same as a full-campaign mission. The tutorial doesn't move slower, and the waves of enemies aren't smaller, so you won't get a chance to learn what each new tower does at an easy pace. The developers also rely on their website as a manual, which is confusing; they could have included this info in a separate digital manual to make it easier for players. Also confusing are the sheer number of enemies that flood the screen with each wave; it can be difficult to tell whether you're effectively repelling the threat given the massive amount of robots launching attacks.

The multiplayer game brings an interesting layer of complexity. One player in the two-on-two and four-on-four matches acts as a team commander and decides the types of turrets used by the team. But currently, the community is small, and there may not be anyone to play with. This can be a big turnoff, as the multiplayer portion of the game is what you have to pay for. Ultimately, Defenders of Time is complex and fast-paced with a steep learning curve. Dedicated players will have a challenging experience -- if they're willing to constantly search the game website for help and so long as there are other players.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games like Defenders of Time. Does it seem less violent if robotic towers shoot only other robots?

  • What things should you share with other people during multiplayer matches? Do you know what you should avoid sharing?

Game details

  • Platforms: Mac, Windows
  • Subjects: Math: estimation, patterns, sequences
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, decision-making, strategy, thinking critically
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free (The single-player game is downloadable and playable for free; the multiplayer game costs $20.)
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Valve Corporation
  • Release date: November 4, 2014
  • Genre: Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
  • Topics: Robots, Space and Aliens
  • ESRB rating: T for Violence, Blood

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love strategy

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