Upon hearing the name “CastleStorm” I was definitely wondering what this game could be about. Once it had downloaded, I fired the game up and was instantly hooked. Coming to you from the awesome minds that are Zen Studios (Pinball FX 2 geniuses), I was really looking forward to getting to grips with CastleStorm.
The basic goal of the game is to go toe to toe with the enemies and try to take down their hordes of Vikings and wolves that are determined to breach your walls and destroy your castle. For you to win, you have to either hold off waves of enemies, destroy the enemy castle, or capture the flag and return it to your base.
There are several ways for you to attack the enemy and defend your castle. First up, you have your mighty ballista. This is the main point of attack, for me anyway, and it brings a variety of attacks – from arrows to exploding apples. You even have the choice to use sheep, which never provides a dull result. Now whilst the ballista can be the easiest choice of weapon, it is not always the easiest to aim. Next up, there are the troops. You have a large selection of troops to despatch, from soldiers to knights, to the comedic looking donkey riding troops. You can have the choice of which selection of troops you want to use during battle by spawning as your food and money supply increases. Personally, I find that the archers have the most affect but I like to send out a few of each to cover all angles.
Next, we have the Hero (Sir Gareth). You can choose when and where you would like to use him. Simply press Y on the controller to use him and then choose a point on the map to spawn him. I find that he is very useful when you are waiting for troops to get to where they should be and also for when there is a large group of enemy troops approaching. You can choose between using his bow and arrow, or stick to the easier to use melee attacks. The Hero does take a little bit of time to ‘recharge’ so use him wisely. Finally, there is the option to use Magic, for both attacking and defending. You have a healing spell to give your troops a little more oomph if needed, as well as a magic missile that targets enemy troops. Again, choose the spell you would like to use and select the place of impact for casting.
With all of the above, you need a way of being able to view the enemy castle easily and quickly. The camera zooming and movement controls can take a bit of getting used to as there is a lot of button pressing, especially when you are having to spawn troops, fire your ballista, cast spells, and summon your Hero. It can take a bit of getting used to, you just need to use it a few times.
You have the choice of playing through a single player campaign, co-op with a friend, or go head to head in online multiplayer. The intended outcome is always the same no matter which mode you play – defend the castle and defeat the enemy. Whilst playing the single player campaign you have the usual campaign missions to complete, as well as side missions where you have to survive waves of enemies – each wave more difficult than the previous.
There is a handy castle editor too, which enables you to chop and change the layout. This could be a good strategy point as you can move rooms to either the back or front of the castle, depending on their importance. Since the front of the castle gets attacked first, the important rooms can be located at the back to make them harder to get to. As you play through the game you also unlock extra rooms that have extra bonuses, etc, so the castle editor does become important. Editing your castle is not mandatory, so you can skip this if you wish.
As you play through, you will find that you unlock more and more items and with the coins that you earn after each battle, you can upgrade everything from your troops to your weapons to your spells. You can even upgrade your recruitment office so that you are able to expand your maximum troop number.
Looks wise, the game is very nice to look at. With its cartoon style graphics and wide choice of characters, everything fits together quite nicely. You can tell from both the realistic visuals and the way the game works that a lot of time and effort went into making and developing it.
To wrap things up, CastleStorm is a game full of fun and battles, and will easily provide hours of fun. It will keep you thinking about how to plan your next assault and is definitely worth the 800 MSP that it is available for on Xbox LIVE.