The Castle Game is a tower defense game that has been available on Playstation Network for a while that will be available on Steam in the near future, which is something I take full credit for.  As I mentioned in a preview dated September 2nd, this game was stagnating in Steam Greenlight.  On September 3rd it was announced that this game is coming to Steam.  You’re welcome, Steam players.  (Prior the 9/03/15 announcement, this game had a booth at PAX Prime that received a lot of attention and had a 4.5/5 rating on PSN out of several thousand votes, rendering your statement of being the cause of its Steam release with an article of under 100 views at the time of the announcement equal parts delusional and narcissistic–Editor).  To be honest, I am not very well versed in the history of this particular genre of gaming.  My first experience with the concept that I remember was in Final Fantasy VII, which was a short minigame that you had to play once to advance the plot and had the option of returning to later, which I never did.  I also remember that minigame not being all very good, so I am happy to say that this game is much more enjoyable.

battle
In this scenario I decided to forego the traditional stone wall defense that had become standard for castles and went with a modern exploding barrel motif.

The Castle Game is influenced by Minecraft, Rampart, and Warcraft.  The old Warcrafts, not WOW.  I got an odd feeling of deja vu when I typed that.  Tucked away in the game are subtle nods to well known fantasy franchises, such as The Lord Of The Rings and Game Of Thrones being the more recognizable ones.  This game I more or less came across by accident at PAX, but after spending some time playing it and talking to the developer I ended up being quite impressed with the game.  Since this is a tower defense game, it goes without saying the main objective in every level is to keep your castle from being destroyed, with some levels having additional objectives, such as having miners safely make it to your castle or there is something that needs to be defended in addition to the castle.  When you begin the game your options of what you can defend your castle with are very limited.  You pretty much only have access archer towers and defensive walls.  As the game advances more things to build become available, along with gaining access to additional types of soldiers you can send into battle.  Later on you are given god like powers such as being able to summon a phoenix or call down lightning bolts, which allows you take an active role in your kingdom’s defense instead of just watching your minions do your dirty work while you make on the fly repairs.

dragon
I had such a great thing going here and then this dragon just trashes everything I built.

One of the things I love about this game is that there is no particular strategy you have to adhere to in order to be successful.  You do need to develop a plan and put some thought into what you are doing, but for the most part you do not have to leave your comfort zone as far as what approach you wish to take to.  There is story/campaign mode which is pretty self explanatory, this mode has a normal and hard difficulty.  There is a sandbox mode where you begin the level with a larger than normal amount of money but after you begin the game you will not be able to build anything new, just repair what you have during an endless onslaught.  The goal in that is simply to see how long you can survive.  The last mode is survival, which is where you just face an infinite amount of waves of monsters and are allowed to build new structures and make repairs after each wave.  I actually figured out a cheap tactic that made me virtually indestructible during survival mode.  The longest I ever lasted in survival was up to wave 34, and that was because I got tired of the level after wave 30 and stopped making repairs.  Traps are among my favorite things to play with this game.  I would like to set up teleport traps near the spawn points and have the enemies be sent to a place where they are surrounded by spiked walls and exploding barrels.  The game recognizes that the most efficient method is not always the most fun method and gives you the freedom to come up with some Rube Goldbergesque ways to ensure your castle’s safety.

Endboss
Did I mention I like traps?

There is some semblance of a level up system.  You are awarded gems for beating a stage on campaign mode (you can get two gems, one for normal and one for hard) and for surviving eight waves/minutes in survival and sandbox mode respectively.  You can spend these gems on various upgrades, like shorter cooldown time for abilities or more damage by attack units.  These upgrades do make a world of difference in the later stages and some of the challenge modes.  This game has a very user friendly interface, and while it takes some time to figure out the more intricate nuances of gameplay you can learn the basics in a matter of seconds.  Unfortunately I am not well versed enough in the genre of tower defense to make an accurate comparison to other games of this type, but just playing this game and judging it on its own merits this game is excellent, and based on the user ratings I saw on Playstation Network for it my opinion is not in the minority.  Even after I beat every level on every mode I was still having fun with this one.  I would make up random rules I had to follow just to make a fun challenge for myself, like completing a level only using traps.  Follow me on Twitter

4.5/5

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The Castle Game Review
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