GAME NAME: CastleStorm
DEVELOPER(S): Zen Studios
PUBLISHER(S): Zen Studios
PLATFORM(S): Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, PC
GENRE(S): 2D Real-time Strategy
RELEASE DATE(S): December 26th, 2013
I’ve always been a huge fan of the Zen Pinball games from Zen Studios. When I first saw the trailer for CastleStorm and the Zen Studio logo popped up I instantly became intrigued. CastleStorm is the first non-pinball game that I have played from the studio and the trailer left me with high hopes. It looked a part viking and a part barbarian sprinkled in with a little classic cannon fodder action. Did CastleStorm live up to my hype?
The first mode I played in CastleStorm was campaign mode to get the hang of the game before I tried the multi-player modes. In campaign mode, you are held by the hand through the first two levels while you learn how to use the ballista to shoot at incoming enemies trying to break into your castle and steal your flag. The humor in the story is tongue-in-cheek and made me chuckle a few times. The story is nothing to serious, just your average go here and protect the castle, now move on and protect this castle.
The real beef of the game is in the ability to upgrade your weaponry and customize your castle. Everything in the game is upgradable, from your troops and projectiles to your spells and castle rooms, you can use the money you earn in battle to upgrade your abilities. The multi-player modes in CastleStorm include Competitive modes where you will rank up, battle for gold, and upgrade your army, castle and gears to win battles and also co-op modes where you will team up with a friend and fight off endless waves of enemies. Both modes are fun but as always I prefer co-op to competitive.
The gameplay feels like a tower defense game, meets Angry Birds or Worms with a management mode the likes of Pikmin. As much as mash-up of genres that the game seems, it actually works quite well. There were a few times that I felt overwhelmed by the hordes of enemies attacking, but it was never enough to make me what to but the game down. The only odd decision in my eyes is why the developer left out a touchscreen control option. I felt like this would have had a natural feel to it and might have added to the experience.
The graphics have a nice HD cartoon polish to them and never really take themselves serious, which matches the campaign mode. I really like the look of cartoony games in the HD-era, they have such a clean look to them and the animation is brilliant. The music fits the time period the game is going for and has some catchy toons.
CastleStorm was a good experience that I would recommend for fans of tower defense games or worms-esque games. While the decision to leave touch screen controls out is a weird one to me, the inclusion of online co-op more then makes up for it. I love the HD cartoon visuals and the castle builder and upgrade systems kept me coming back for more. I would like to see Zen Studios keep adding to the formula and see what else they can come up with.