Castlestorm Review

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castlestorm

Castlestorm is a castle defence game which takes and borrows from many other established games in the genre and then mashes them together and attempts to improve upon it.

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Gameplay in Castlestorm contains…
– Troop summoning
– Castle destruction (Angry Birds style)
– Ballista / player controlled weaponry
– Hero Summoning system
– Castable spells
– Gold system (used to upgrade spells/weapons/units/perks)
– Loadouts
But wait, theres more!
– Hitting enemies in the head does critical damage
– Ability to get your troops to guard on command to defend against the enemy castle’s Ballista
– A Frenzy system
– A combo system
– Castle editor
and probably more which I don’t come to mind right now.

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As a castle defence kind game? Yeah, it’s pretty good I guess.
There is enough of a range of weaponry, units and spells to provide variety should you want it.
The castle destruction and defence is pretty well done, even if it is very angry birds, and fighting off units is pretty fun because of the headshot mechanics and different enemy units you will encounter (some are armoured, some are giant, etc).
Though I didn’t get a chance to try it, I hear multiplayer is all of the depth of single player, but against an actual real person which sounds… insane. I can’t imagine playing this against another actual human without the game taking forever, and there are so many commands and spells it would almost become a battle of micro.

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The single player campaign has a vague story woven into it, and is a fairly typical save the world kind of plot which has you leveling a bunch of enemy castles, each level comes with its own sub-objectives which will need to be completed to gain a 5-star rating, these little sub-objectives help encourage you to not play every level the exact same way, though you can still do so if you wish as the star system doesn’t actually seem to count for much as far as I know.

The graphics and music in the game are solid, the graphics in particular are deceivingly pretty yet clear and easy to ‘read’ whilst being charming and cartoonish, Music is a mixed bag, some of it is pretty good but in general tracks are repeated a little too much to stay likeable.

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The biggest issue I have with this game is that it isn’t great amounts of fun to play, one sided castle defence games usually provide satisfaction when you are able to look at your fortress with its 1000 archers (or whatever) and feel happy with your progression, this kind of progression doesn’t really happen in Castlestorm because everything is new every level, your ground units are squishy so you can’t mass them, and your castle weapons have long cooldowns which prevents you from dominating the battlefield. It’s hard to feel that sense of empowerment that you would get from similar games in genre and as such you’ll find yourself almost grinding through the levels and not actually enjoying them much.

Other than the above, the difficulty is perhaps a little on the easy side – the most efficient way to attack an enemy castle is to achieve a killing frenzy which is activated upon getting 5 kills, unfortunately when the game refuses to spawn enough enemies this can be more of a challenge than it should be.
As mentioned the musical variety is a little lacking, which is a shame as the tracks which are present are fairly good with a nice beat to them.
Oh also.the game includes an arrow to the knee joke, so 2011 guys, honestly.

Verdict:

Zen Studios have clearly given it their all to try and make the definitive castle defence experience, and while it may not be the genre definer they want it to be, its certainly a solid piece of work which manages to be unique despite its borrowing of elements from other games.

Approximate Game Length :  Few Hours (2-5?)
Actual Worth / Steam Price:  £3 / £7 = 0.42
Should you play it : Probably not, the game never comes off as genuinely fun, and for the £7 they want you to pay, you could buy something that IS genuinely fun instead.

Rating: 2/5

Not bad. Just not particularly good either.

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