Game Review: Castle Crashers
Attention everybody- I have good news: video games with zany humor aren’t dead, and their trip to the fjords has ended- they’ve come home to The Behemoth. Don’t believe me? Check out Castle Crashers.
So what is Castle Crashers? Simply put, it’s a fun XBLA title with gameplay in the style of such beat’em’ups as Streets of Rage, with a medieval fantasy twist and the brand of strange, slightly dark humor that The Behemoth seems to be so good at belching forth in their every game.
So what’s the game about? It’s simple, really: some really bad green dudes have stolen away your precious princesses and are laying waste to the kingdom. It’s your duty- nay- your honor to stop them. This can be achieved with hacking, slashing, electrocution and a host of other ingenious methods that involve cartoonish levels of death and destruction that would make any ACME researcher bow his head in shocked reverence. The entire game has a rather cartoonish feel to it, and it’s bolstered up by- you guessed it- cartoonish graphics. Graphically, this game is excellent, and all the sprites look hand drawn. Their animation is fluid, and I have nothing to complain about in the visuals department (well, maybe the catfish boss- that thing was disgusting– it made me regret having an HDTV), and in spite of the game having come out some years ago, it still looks awesome. For some reason, it reminds me of a cross between Gish and Earthworm Jim on the visual side of things.
Now as far as gameplay goes, this title feels a lot like a good old fashioned beat’em’up in the same vein as Double Dragon– you walk to the right, enemies come at you. Then, you beat them senseless. The more enemies you take down, the more experience points you gain, and your character thus levels up. At the end of the level, you’re given a few points to spend on various attributes such as strength and speed. As you level up, you also gain new abilities and attacks, and each character- each crasher I guess? Each has a unique ability- the gray one, for example, can bring down a hail of arrows. The game has an awesome variety of just about everything- enemies, environments, and of course weaponry. What I really loved, though, were pets, which you might pick up after a boss battle. These creatures will follow you around and perform useful tasks, such as knocking away enemies. I must say that the game controls very well- and the controls are pretty easy to pick up and play, for that matter.
As far as presentation goes, Castle Crashers does not disappoint! Besides the game’s great sense of humor, I love how some of the game’s function’s are actually playable. For example, if you go to the map and back to base (the blacksmith) you can walk inside a giant frog’s mouth that’s pretty much a storage place for your weapons. In the same area is some sort of twisted petting zoo/veterinary office in which you can swap out your various pets, or learn about their abilities.
I really loved the game’s co-op. Gameplay is pretty much the same as in single-player, but if you or one member of your party dies, you can use CPR (spam the “Y” button) to bring back your fallen comrade.
Musically, the game’s pretty good. While I didn’t come across any particularly memorable tunes, I thought the songs in the game were all quite fitting. In fact, while I can’t quite remember the game’s music, I do remember it as being very good music. In addition, the game’s sound effects are also pretty good (and occasionally kind of gross).
This is definitely an XBLA title that belongs in every collection- the game is hilarious, features awesome visuals, awesome co-op and many more awesome things that defy ordinary adjectives. If you’re still skeptical, try the demo out first.