Publisher & Developer: Zen Studios
Platforms: Wii U eShop (also available on Xbox LIVE® Arcade, PlayStation Network and Steam)
Pricing: ($9.99, €9.99)
CastleStorm is a multi-genre tower-defense type of game with strategy, action and brawling elements inserted for a variety of play.
Sir Gareth leads the Knights into battle against the raging Vikings to recover the stolen gem and bring peace to the realm.There are multiple paths to winning – you can choose how to defeat your enemy. Capture the flag, destroy their castle, or complete another predetermined level objective in order to claim victory. Each level features multiple objectives, each with their own rewards.
Using your castle’s Ballista weapon, you can aim with the left stick and catapult a variety of destructive items at your opponent’s castle including javelins, apple grenades, rocks, and even flying sheep to take out your enemy’s castle and the troops on the ground. Spawn ground troops such as swordsmen, archers, knights, griffins, and golems to counteract your opponent’s troops and keep them from capturing your flag or destroying your castle. Teleport your team’s hero into the action to take on ground troops in hand to hand combat. Cast spells to heal yourself, or cause damage to your enemies.
Maneuvering with the Ballista takes a bit of getting used to, as the analog stick must be aimed ahead of walking troops and seems a bit too precise in execution (this is my only real complaint about the game) ...and friendly fire can kill your own troops, so you must be careful. Yet, it’s not a terrible aiming system, and you can definitely get used to it with practice. The alternative is using touch screen controls which fares a bit better for accuracy.
The beauty of playing this on the Wii U is that the entire game can be played from the Wii U game pad, which means switching between items, troops, weapons and the like will be seamless and even faster than using the standard buttons.
Choose to go through Campaign mode (choose your equipment and defeat stage after stage to unlock levels and to be able to play more modes of play; Skirmish (A type of exhibition mode that pits your castle against a computer-controlled castle); Survival (Persevere through waves of enemies and try to last as long as you can as more difficult troops are added) and Hero Survival (Get through waves of troops, training dummies and more in an arena setting with the hero of your choice using hand-to-hand combat.
In local multiplayer, one player uses the Pro Controller and looks at the TV, the other player uses the GamePad and plays on the gamepad screen, so both players see a full screen image. In online mode, you can share castles with other players. Choose between quick or ranked matches or create a custom match.
Versus - Each player has a castle and faces off against each other. Choose from a bevy of weapons and bash each others’ castle. The first player to completely demolish their opponent’s castle will win.
Survival - Play co-op and fight waves of enemies together. One player controls the ballista and ground forces, and the other controls the hero.
Hero Survival - Co-op hand-to-hand combat. Each player chooses a hero and fights together against waves of enemies. Enemies come from both sides, so stay alive as long as you can.
Earn coins as you defeat more and more levels. As you power up in CastleStorm, new weapons and troop classes become available for use in battle. Upgrade the level of your weapons to do more damage to your enemies.
Besides a bit of witty, comical comments and your typical sounds of medieval battle, grunts, groans and the like, there is an original soundtrack by Waterflame, whose credits include another medieval classic, Castle Crashers!
CastleStorm features a tower construction editor which allows players to construct their own custom castles that will be used in battle, including online multiplayer battle. Construct your castle wisely, as the choices you make determine what types of troops and resources will be available during battle.
The combination of genres, types of game play, variety of troops, weaponry, custom castles and more keeps this game fresh and different each time you play. The single player game has plenty of depth with its mission-based campaigns, weapon and troop upgrades. Multiplayer is where the game shines, as each player has their own screen to view the action (thanks to the Wii U’s game pad). With headshots, kill streaks, magic spells and lots of humor throughout, this game feels much more like a full-on retail title than a downloadable distraction. Picky and precise aiming aside, CastleStorm should entertain you for many hours. Recommended.