Friday, November 8, 2013

Kate Reviews: CastleStorm 

Knights Vs. Vikings


Release Date:  5/29/2013
Developer:  ZEN Studios Ltd.
Publisher:  Microsoft Studios
Genre:  Action & Adventure, Strategy, Simulation
ESRB Rating: T for Teen (blood, violence)
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade, PS3, PC, Vita, WinPhone, iPhone, Wii U
Reviewed on: XBLA
Original Sale Price: $9.99
Reviewer purchase price: $4.99

  • Offline Players 1-2
  • Offline Co-op
  • Stereoscopic 3D
Online Features
  • Online Multiplayer 1-2
  •  Online Co-op 2
  • DLC
  • Leaderboards
  • Voice Chat

I wasn't sure what I was getting when I downloaded CastleStorm on XBL.  It was on sale for half off of the regular price of $9.99 and seemed different from everything else in my collection.  Here's how the XBL description sold it:
It’s Knights vs. Vikings in CastleStorm, where medieval warfare meets 2D physics-based destruction! Controlling the battle in real time, players will harness the power of medieval artillery, manage a fearsome ground attack, and cast powerful spells! CastleStorm features a story-driven solo campaign, a custom castle editor, online multiplayer, co-op modes, and more. Building castles and knocking them down has never been so much fun!
Really all I read was medieval, destruction, and castle editor.  I was sold already; the rest was filler.  The description and the sale price were intriguing enough for a purchase.  As soon as the game loads it asks if I want to enable Stereoscopic 3D.  Hells YES!  I wasn't even aware it was 3D-enabled so this was a cool bonus as I don't have many good 3D games.  A first-world problem, amiright?
medieval destruction of a castle in CastleStorm on Xbox Live Arcade, XBLA

It starts slow since there are varied methods of play to learn and accompanying controls to master. 
Control a Ballista and use different types of upgradeable ammunition to knock down the opposition's castle.  It's physics based so if you are unfamiliar with the play-type, think Angry Birds and Wreckateer. The aiming is a bit hard to master, but crushing the Vikings' castle is so satisfying.

Control Ground Troops like swordsmen, paladins, archers, dragons, and priests.  That mechanic is a bit like a tower defense game where picking the correct types and leveling them can affect the results on the battlefield.  They aren't controlled directly; they are purchased using a renewing pool of resources and are set out at the foot of the castle where they traverse the path between the two castles and fight any enemy in their way.

Magic spells and the summoning of a hero (who looks strangely a bit like my brother) can be chosen to aid in battle.  Controlling the hero is quite a bit of hack-and-slack fun as he, like the magic spells, can be leveled up to do a great deal of damage.

These elements are interchangeable at any time and can be selected to carry out the strategy desired.

  • So freaking funny
  • Different ways to play the game
  • Some of the best 3D I've seen yet
  • Customizable castle, troops, spells, and ammo to perfect a strategy
  • Accurately aiming the ballista is more tedious than it should be

The Wrap Up

This game has a lot of corny humor that completely delighted me and was reminiscent of the Deathspank series which are some of my favorite XBLA games.  It jokingly referenced other games like Angry Birds and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.  I really enjoyed playing this in 3D and it looked spectacular.  I'm having fun playing this game and am really glad I got it.
Interested? Check it out and buy it on XBL HERE.