Castlestorm: Geektrum Approved

castlestorm0531131600jpg-30b3d2

If Angry Birds had a baby with Dungeon Defenders, I’m pretty sure it’s love child would be Castlestorm. And honestly, it’s a pretty awesome love child. If you like tower defense games,  angry birds, and serious multitasking, Castlestorm is the game for you. Avliable for the Xbox 360 (Live Arcade) and Steam, this is game we recommend checking out.

Originally, I picked up the game because the art style looked similar to Trine (which I seriously enjoyed) and I was hoping it was another game from that developer. However, looking at it, Castlestorm is something entirely different from a different developer, Zen Studios; and it though I was expecting something else, I was pleasantly surprised on how much I enjoyed the game.

The story is really secondary(nothing earth shattering), but what shines the most for Castlestorm is it’s gameplay.xx1236.cache

Looking over the screen caps on Steam, it’s a little hard to tell if Castlestorm was a side scroller hack and slash, or a tower defense kind of game. Once I started playing , it was a little over whelming to find out that it is a combnation of both.  Castlestorm does a good job of walking you through the tutorial stages, so you get a good understanding of what you can and can’t do during a level.

Essentially, you have a castle and flag that you must defend from invading forces.  Depending on your game style, you can play your hero on the field for some hack and slash action, or you can shoot down the hordes of enemies with a ballista and special shots, or command your own troops onto the field.

castlestorm_25_22226The gamer has many different rolls to play, and you can be as active as you like- whether it’s coordinating your troops, or playing the champion; Castlestorm allows you to play however you like, it does not force certain game play on you. There are great RPG elements in the game too. You’re allowed to level up whatever weapon/character that you choose- Castlestorm can be customized to your play style. For instance, I really don’t like playing my hero in this game. Very rarely do I deploy my champion onto the field to wreak havoc on enemy troops; instead, I opt to be far away from the battle and deal damage with my ballista. I pick off enemy troopers with powered up spears, and destroy their castle with awesome PEW PEW items.  Naturally, I dump all my gold into leveling my ballista shots, and I hardly put any money into my hero.

Ultimately, you have objectives in each mission, and in order to win you either demolish the other guy’s castle or steal his flag. If your castle is demolished, or your flag stolen,  you lose the game.  Hence the title, Castlestorm.

Sounds simple enough, but after you get past the tutorials you start to realize the amount of multitasking you have to do for Castlestorm  is serious business, but is very fun. At any given time during a level, I’m trying to destroy the enemies castle, switching to my hero and battling on the field, and then commanding my army to invade- and then I find out some asshole stole my flag, so I have to chase him down, while a bomb just destroyed my solider barracks….

It’s utter chaos, and utterly fun.

There are simple mechanics that keep Castlestorm fun, and on your toes. For example, you’re able to build a castle (OMG, REALLY!? Haha) But your castle contains bonuses- like a gold multiplier- and houses the troops that you have equipped. If a room containing your bonuses, stat effects, or troops are destroyed, you lose that item for the rest of game. My griffin tower was destroyed early in one level, and found that I was at a disadvantage because I couldn’t summon them to battle it out with the enemy dragons . Little things like this, keeps Castlestorm players on edge, forcing them to adapt to new tactics, and keeps the game from getting too repetitive.castlestorm-xbox-360-1372086299-016

But what makes Castlestorm fun, the ingenious combination of several types of games, can ultimately be it’s downfall.  It’s a lot of do and a lot to manage, that can be overwhelming.  So, if you’re the kind of gamer that enjoys focusing on one task, you may want to steer clear of Castlestorm.

There are some great multiplayer options, where you’re able to play as heroes together and hold out after waves of enemies trying to steal your flag. Or you play an endless survival mode with one player playing the ballista, and the other as your champion on the field. You also have the option of a versus mode, you verses another player, and you try to take out each other’s castles.

There are some adjustments that I wish they would make in Caslestorm. Disappointingly, you can’t play as multiplayer through the campaign. I would like to be able to play levels with my friends, instead of against them, and finish the story line with them.  I also do not like that while in multiplayer mode, some games do not allow you to accesses the items you have earned in campaign, or have leveled in campaign. So all that time I spent leveling my sheep missile of doom (yes, a sheep missile) does no good in multiplayer, it’s back to a level one.

All in all, Castlestorm is solid game and sure to provide enjoyment. It’s art style is fun and cartoonish, but not overtly immature- it’s clear it’s making fun of itself, and tries not to make itself to be a serious, epic, fantasy adventure. It’s has great gameplay mechanics, you’re able to tailor it to how you would like to play, and before you know it you’ve lost track of time and lost a few hours to Castlestorm.