Game Review: CastleStorm
For years, gamers have been divided over the tower defense genre. You either love it or hate it.
I happen to not be such a great fan of it. The repetitive gameplay, the endless waves of enemies. Millions of games, all of them pretty much identical.
Every once in a blue moon, we get an attempt at innovation in tower defense games. We saw it in Dungeon Defenders. We see it again with this title, CastleStorm.
It starts out like most higher-shelf tower defense games: it gives you a flimsy reason for the two sides to fight. Something about a goddess and a gem or something. It isn’t really important at all. It’s just an excuse for the two groups to fight. While not a lover of the flimsy excuse of a story, I do like the method they use to convey the story: the characters simply move, a voice actors make a simple noise to show an emotion, and a dialogue pops up. It’s simple, but it works, especially in a world where Triple-A titles rule the masses, with their pre-rendered cutscenes and costly voice acting.
The gameplay is much like any other tower defense game: you aim a ballista to help you keep enemies at bay while you spawn troops. Simple enough. Or it would be, if the ballista wasn’t so finicky. On the Xbox 360, you do it with the left thumbstick. The direction you tilt it is the direction your arrows (or other projectiles) will fire. However, the aiming line disappears during rapid fire, making it difficult to properly aim, especially if you try to make adjustments on the fly. Sometimes, the aim will just randomly change, causing you to pour tons of arrows into your own soldiers. Troop spawning happens with the push of a button, though, so at least that’s functional.
This is where CastleStorm begins to knock off of other games, which is my biggest issue with the game. It takes the whole premise of Dungeon Defenders, which revolutionized tower defense by adding a cool third-person combat system, allowing you to kill the enemies yourself. CastleStorm gives you a spell, allowing you to launch a hero that you control directly in a cool third-person combat system, allowing you to kill the enemies yourself.
Another plus to the game is the variety of objectives: In one mode, you would play capture the flag with your opponent, having your soldiers kill the troops, tear down the door, and take their flag. In another, however, you have to tear down the entire castle yourself using your ballista. This mode is a direct rip-off of Angry Birds. Instead of birds, you fling bombs and the buildings collapse in the same way as the structures. The game isn’t even sneaky about ripping off this game: It has achievements with the word Angry in them when you destroy things certain ways. There’s even a mission called Angry Bears. There’s a very fine line between being inspired by and blatantly ripping off of something.
All in all, the game is okay. It’s average. It’s nothing new. It’s fun, and I guess that’s really the most important thing.