Published on June 2nd, 2013 | by Tony0
In the whole time this site has been running, one thing has been certain, that is my love for all the guys and girls at Zen Studios. Partly the reason this site even began was my love of their pinball FX games, as their pinball FX game was the first time I sat down and gave this reviewing lark a try, that and they were one of the first guys who would happily let us review their games for the site. Fast forward close to two years now and Zen Studios have tried something new and out of the comfort zone with their latest game Castlestorm.
I won’t lie, I was a little bit worried reviewing a new game from a studio I do actually have a lot of love for, as that email back with a review link saying your game sucks is never a nice one to send no matter who it is, so when the code was sent to us for a review I did get a little worried that I would have to tell these guys about a bad game for once, but I went ahead and gave it a try anyway.
The game begins with knights and barbarians locked in battle with a peace goddess over looking this war raging on, this war does not sit well with her which brings her to tears and from those tears come two jewels, one red, and one blue. Each side take a gem each which gives them never ending life and with it and end to this war the war, but one day a gem is stolen and so the story goes on.In a nutshell this game is about protecting your castle or flag from the other team who have a castle and flag (sometimes) that they must defend from you. Initially it can all seem a bit daunting with what seems like a lot to do to achieve your goal, but I found with the amazing tutorial early in the game after about twenty minutes in your quite the nimble castle protector.
The main character in the whole campaign is a guy called Sir Gareth, he is your typical looking knight with long flowing blonde hair and built like a brick toilet house (UK term for quite muscly). You play through the game protecting your castle from whatever the campaign throws at you, but this can be both flying items and from sets of enemies that will attack you from the ground, so the game turns into this like tower defense game as you use what items you have wisely while you try to protect your castle, but try to take down their castle while you’re at it. The actual campaign is actually quite big and will easily give you at least 5 hours of play, but the harder the difficulty the longer it will last. At points in the campaign you also have side missions to do if you wish, so this only adds to the length of it all.
For the single player guy out there the game offers you four different modes to stink your teeth into, but I found the main place of play will be the campaign, but other than that you have.
Skirmish: This is a place to come test you skills away from the campaign, and once again you have to either smash their castle or get their flag to win.
Survival: This is what you expect it to be. You have to protect your castle and flag for as long as you can from waves of enemies. Nothing fancy here.
Hero survival: This mode is just your hero (Sir Gareth) fighting off waves of enemies, so a nice mode to do if you’re bored of the whole castle thing.
Onto the controls for Castlestorm and they are quite simple once you overcome how many buttons the game needs you to take control of. The A button covers what sort of ammo your ballista bow will use, which is really your first line of defense when protecting your castle. This ammo ranges from the basic single arrow shot to a triple arrow shot, but beyond that you get explosives items that you can aim at both the enemies castle or the enemies themselves to take them out. One such bow weapon is a Worms style sheep that you can shoot and use like a battering ram, which comes in useful when trying to weaken the castle, so the games does not take itself seriously at all. The X button covers your troops, which can take the advancing enemies out on the ground to slow down their advancing attack on your castle. Early on these are just basic swordsmen, but the further you advance in the game the more forces you unlock, so soon enough you have a decent army at hand to dispatch. The Y button is your ability button, this will give you control of the star of the show Sir Gareth who is the main guy throughout the game, but later in the game you can use it to heal troops and protect you castle for a few seconds, finally the B button which just tells your troops to duck in they need to.
This all sounds a lot but after a few minutes you will have mastered it.
Multiplayer does not really offer anything ground breaking, but it at least puts it out there for you to try.
The modes found here are:
Versus: Fend either your local or Xbox live player from your castle/flag while trying to wreck or collect their castle/flag.
Co-op survival: Same as the survival mode I spoke about earlier, but this time the other player will join you in the quests of trying to protect your castle or flag.
Co-op Survival: Once again same as earlier, but this time with a co-op partner joining you.
The game also offers a couple of avatar items in the form of a Castlestorm t-shirt and a Sir Gareth’s helmet on offer to you, but of course you have to earn them. Add into the mix the power to upgrade all the weapons, Abilitys, and troops I spoke about above by earning in-game money, and the power to build your castle however you see fit and Castlestorm is a nice neat package for only 800 Microsoft Points.
Summary: I like what Zen have done here away from their normal love of pinball. They have yet again made a decent game that works well when you have either a short or huge amount of gaming time on your hands. The game is is really good fun, it has some good humour in the campaign, and who doesn't like making buildings crumble to ashes with a flying fricking sheep? I know I do.