Reading the Behemoth’s dev blog
, and NotAZombie’s Dtoid blog
got me really hyped up for this game, and it didn’t disappoint.
It’s got all the fun of a brawler and the joy of a 2D sidescroller combined, plus Dan Paladin’s kick-ass artwork. Seriously, what more could you want?
The game begins with the king’s four daughters being kidnapped by an evil wizard. It is then up to you, the most valiant knights in the land, to beat the shit out of anything standing between you and those princesses. Okay, fine. The story might not sound too thrilling, but when put in light of the gameplay, it’s really okay that they haven’t written a novel-sized backstory.
If, for some reason, you’d think that beating enemies senseless and gorgeous scenery would become stale, there’s tons of quirks throughout the game to prevent just that. The simplest of them being the very levels themselves. Yes, most of the levels are the standard beat-‘em-ups, but throw in the occasional wall of siege weapons, a run-for-your-fucking-life level or two, and a battle against your once-allies for the right to make out with a hot chick, and it really helps to mix it up.
Which brings me to another great part of the game: PvP combat. It’s true that during the levels and boss fights, you want to fight with
your friends to get through. Once you’ve bested the boss and freed the princess from her cage/ropes/whatever, it throws you into a battle against
all your friends. So therein lies the ultimate question: how much do you really
want to help your friends out? If you help them out a ton during the levels, i.e., letting them have that spiffy new weapon, or standing back and letting them get all the XP from killing enemies, then they’ll be able to help you progress more quickly, but they can then give you a swift kick in the aft end when it comes to fighting for the heart of the beautiful lady. On the other hand, if you refuse to help them, you can beef up to win the princess fights hands-down, but you leave your valuable allies crippled and worthless at level 3, and more of a hindrance than a help. I think that adding this feature was a huge boost to the inventiveness of C.C., and it also helped keep gameplay fresh and fun. Plus, it gives you a chance to work off any player/player tension by beating the hell out of one another (which you can also do in Arena mode).
Another feature about C.C. that I thought was great was Animal Orbs. Many games have something like them; an item you pick up to boost your stats in one way or another. But do many other games have them in such an adorable and
helpful form? I think not.
You can find them randomly in levels, by beating bosses, bombing your way through an obstacle or by buying them in a store. And depending on how you like to play the game, whether you’re a tank, mage, or destroyer at heart, there’s bound to be an Animal Orb for you. They’re all conveniently stored in their own little section of Noah’s Ark. Poor Seahorse gets no love. :(
Having the ability to get new weapons with their own special bonuses is nice. It is a bit tedious to go back to the Blacksmith’s shop every time you get a new weapon or animal orb to check what it is, but really, holding down your control stick for a few seconds is what you’re doing anyways in the game, so it’s not that big a deal. You can go inside Weapons Frog to check on how good (or bad) or great (or fucking horrible) your new weapons are. This is also the part where you can laugh at your friends as you pick up your +5Def, +5Att and +5Mag stick, and they can only cry in shame as they pick up their +1Att pitchfork from level one.
Overall, Castle Crashers is totally worth it. It’s easy to learn, fun to play. The level design is really clever, and mixed with the classic arcade-style gameplay plus some seriously awesome artwork just make this game great. You can fight giant corncobs, dragons with sock puppets, flying necromancers and giant, mill-destroying trolls. Aside from everything else kick-ass in this game, who wouldn’t love riding a rocket-poop-powered deer as you run for your life?