CastleStorm Review (360)
CastleStorm is pretty self explanatory, you storm castles. It’s a neat hybrid of Angry Birds and a torrent of online flash games. It oozes familiarity in the best way, especially when you get to toss a whole manner of munitions between the stony walls of your opposing faction. It’s fun, frivolous and packed full of charm. So as I sit on my throne I am glad to tell you I am “THE TOSSER” who just fucked up your homestead.
CastleStorm is brought to you by the fine folk over at Zen Studios, known for their work on the highly regarded Pinball FX and Pinball FX2. Zen Studios can be considered the maestros of the Xbox Live Arcade. Pinball FX2 and the subsequent expansions have been released to critical acclaim and countless sales with a variety of different tables to play on. So it is safe to say, in spite of them venturing to a new genre, that CastleStorm has been raised and nurtured by the best possible team available.
Posed as a conflict between two factions, CastleStorm sees Vikings and Knight clash head to head, waging war on each other. Each side possesses one coloured and rare gem bestowed upon them by the gods. As the two sides fight you are drawn in to the action by a quite obvious but still rather amusing plot twist. As far as the advertising goes, you are told that you will make decisions between which faction to fight as, whereas in reality you are to play as both under the guise of one hero. It’s a great story with some short and punchy dialogue that unfortunately drags some already overused memes through the mud, but still retains a similar level of charm to a lesser Lego game or The Sims.
The best way to describe the actual gameplay is; A physics based destruction game. For most of you, simply saying “Angry Birds” sums up the aim of the game. You have multiple projectiles and objects to hurl at your opponents castle. But this is where CastleStorm and Angry Birds part ways, because CastleStorm is so much more than that. You also have the capability to build your own castle, strategically placing your buildings in the best possible position to avoid any harm. Most of the time I opted to hide everything at the bottom behind as many walls as possible.
There’s a war between the two castles in a battlefield between your forces, trained and acquired through your chosen buildings, who also have a game of capture-the-flag between them while you try to mercilessly obliterate every brick left standing in the other castle. The three elements combined give a great deal of innovative ways to play. You could simply level up almost every projectile you needed and just focus on smashing the place up (while using your hero character, a player controlled warrior that can be used alongside magic to kill enemies without the need of AI troops), or you can mass a great army and focus majorly on stealing the enemies flag. Occasionally, the game mixes things up by making one or the other unavailable so be wary before you splash all your gold on platinum plated spears before you have even shown the troops what a sword is. There is even the additional challenge of extra targets to meet, such as killing thirty enemies with spears or making sure your troops win in 4:00 minutes, and they add an extra level of ingenuity and replay value to the game.
Outside of the campaign there is also a series of online modes to fight your friends in, including hero battle and a standard fight mode. The major downside to the extra modes like survival and the others, is that you have to have completed the campaign before you get to use anyone outwith the first hero and the knight faction, which does really force you through the story. This didn’t particularly sit well with me at times because I just wanted to watch the world burn, but instead was forced to read a book about how the world came to be in this position.
Overall, CastleStorm is a great amalgam of all the best bits of flash and iOS games brought to home consoles. Everything it has done we have seen before, but arguably never as well. The time spent in building my perfect castle and hoarding gold of the course of a week to ensure I had the perfect set up is almost shameful. I did thoroughly enjoy the majority of the game, but nearer the end I found myself a bit bored with the story, but I pressed on just to unlock and try out the opposing faction, which greatly irritated me. For a fan of Angry Birds this might be the next step for you, but for me it was just short of a fantastic game. I wanted to like it more, I really did. There was just too much of the same after a while, and in spite of all the cool innovations I was rather bored by the end and gave up.CastleStorm Review (360),