Review: Castle Crashers (PS3)
|Game Name:||Castle Crashers|
|Publisher(s):||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Genre(s):||Beat 'Em Up|
|Release Date:||August 31, 2010|
Castle Crashers is the second game from Tom Fulp, Dan Paladin, and John Baez’ game company The Behemoth. It follows the classic 2D side scrolling beat ‘em up formula we know and love from arcade classics such as Golden Axe, while adding design elements from modern games.
You and up to three of your friends play as a group of knights with differing magic abilities and weapons. As you slay your opponents, you gain experience points and level up, granting you points to spend improving the four attributes: strength, magic, defence and agility.
The controls are smooth & intuitive. You start off with a basic light/heavy attack, jump & magic attack then learn additional combos every few levels. My only gripe with the control scheme is the lack of a traditional run command. In most beat ‘em ups you either tap the direction twice or hold a button down to sprint. The game can also be particularly unforgiving when it comes to your character’s depth. While it may look like you’re lined up exactly to strike an enemy, being just a little off can cause it to miss.
The graphics look fantastic, largely in thanks to the artistic styling of Dan Paladin (aka Synj of Newgrounds fame). It has a quirky sense of humour pervasive throughout. Animals crap themselves, some things are off the wall ridiculous (shark-cat anyone?) and gamers familiar with the developers’ previous work will appreciate the various homages hidden throughout.
Besides the main game, Castle Crashers features a variety of competitive multi-player modes. The Arena mode is a standard PvP battle with different types of combat. You can go head-to-head in melee, archery or play a game of treasure hunter where you damage you opponent by collecting treasure faster.
While these modes are a fun diversion, I would’ve liked to see the arena gameplay from the single player mode with cooperative play. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d have way more fun trying to fight off waves of baddies with my friends rather then just fighting each other.
The PS3 also features the exclusive volleyball mode where up to 4 players can form teams with AI players for a game, the winning team being the first to 10 with a 2 point lead. Standard scoring rules apply, except you’re allowed to hit the ball more then once and you can use your magic abilities on the ball to cause confusion and/or incapacitate your opponents.
Overall, Castle Crashers feels like a fresh take on a classic genre and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys old school beat ‘em ups or cooperative multi-player gaming in general. It’s one of those games that you can pickup and play for any amount of time and still feel fully satisfied with the experience. With plenty of unlockables and multi-player options it also offers a lot of replayability for a relatively low price of $14.99 on the PlayStation network.