Plot: What’s it about?
The tower defense genre has become quite crowded of late, but Zen Studios’ CastleStorm has managed to carve out a unique place in that genre to call its own. At the core, CastleStorm tasks you to…yes, defend your towers. You have a castle and within that castle, various rooms that can help further your defenses. So when an attack knocks out one of your important rooms, you feel the loss and that adds a lot to the experience. As you progress, you can build more rooms, taller towers, and more potent wares to house in them, making your castle all the more powerful. The level of control given to you is immense, you can tasks your minions to handle battles, lean on long distance attacks, or go on the front lines yourself. Or do all of those things at once and more, depending on how hands on you’d like to be. You earn resources from victories and use them to upgrade your castle, from wall strength to weapons to volume & skill of troops to special attacks. In other words, you’ll always have your eye on some new enhancement to drive you to really rout your foes.
CastleStorm has been a success across numerous platforms and for this review, we played CastleStorm: Complete Edition on Playstation 3. As this is a cross-buy release, if you purchase it on PSN, you can play it on either PS3 or the Vita, which is a very welcome gesture. The Complete Edition delivers the full original CastleStorm, which is deep with content to wade through, as well as both add-ons, The Warrior Queen and From Outcast to Savior. The game has a story based single player campaign, on-line multiplayer, co-op play, and of course, the ability to create your own custom castles. In other words, however you’d want to play CastleStorm, is how you can play CastleStorm. The game’s mechanics are complex to describe, since you control so many facets of battle, but quickly become second nature. It will take practice to master the techniques, especially you’ll face so many varied enemies, but CastleStorm is just a ton of fun. A classic example of simple to pick up and difficult to master, CastleStorm is an evolution in tower defense and is highly recommended.
Video: How’s it look?
The game’s visual design is cartoon inspired, with vibrant images and humorous character designs. This cartoon based approach adds some humor to the more violent moments, like putting a massive arrow through a viking’s head. The game’s story matches the silly visual tone to perfection, so this was a wise choice. And don’t think that cartoonish means crude, as these are well detailed, polished visuals. CastleStorm has some terrific artwork throughout and I think the vast majority of players will be most satisfied with the graphics.
Audio: How’s it sound?
As you’d expect, the sound design reflects the same sense of humor as the visuals, so expect madness and fun over realism in terms of audio. But again, that suits the content perfectly and makes the most sense. The audio is effective as well, from the war cries of soldiers to the voice acting and of course, the music. The sound design is rather reserved, letting the visuals be the focus and knowing when to cue up and when to lay low. Overall, a solid sound design that seems to hit all the right notes.