Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beat Your Friends For the Girl in Castle Crashers

Since it's inception, Xbox Live Arcade has released numerous games across all genres that have spiked the sales and creation of digital games. This same online market is what spurred Sony to create it's own online store, The Playstation Store, and has even opened a gateway for indie developers to actually release their own games online as well as the tools to develop these games. Towards the beginning of the life of this service, one particular game came out that shined above the rest. Even today, it is still one of the best selling game on the Live Arcade. This game is Castle Crashers, where you can run and help or hinder your friends as you play as four knights (at first) and take on the forces of evil to save your princesses.

The game itself is very simple, an ode to the old 2D side scrolling beat-em up's like Battle Toads, but that's what is so refreshing about Castle Crashers. The game play revolves around moving left, attacking enemies with your weapons and magic, and moving left some more. The characters are hilarious, with no dialogue, but overly animated actions to tell the story of how they are feeling keeps in tune with the simple style of the game. Each player has a unique elemental magic that can be upgraded upon leveling up. The player can also augment his/her strength, defense and speed. Weapons are found in battle or bought from the shops, but a weapon can only be equipped when quickly picked up in battle. If you do end up equipped with a new weapon you do not like, you'll have to wait till the end of the level and go back to the blacksmith toad.
Simplicity at it's Best
Though the battles are simple, environmental hazards also block the way for the adventurers. As the levels come to completion, the gang must battle bosses that protect the respective princesses. These battle are just the right length and difficulty, changing up the flow of game play and difficulty just long enough to not be too frustrated. After the end of each battle, the princess is freed and the battle wages on as each player must battle each other, with the winner taking his/her prize. This aspect alone is great in adding variety as well as a danger to nearby friends playing along.

The art style is a unique blend of cutesy graphics mixed with violent enemies that blends together really well with the stark colors to create a very vivid and interesting world to play through. Environments range from forests and caves to castles and the deserts and even a space ship so the player(s) are constantly moving through interesting locals. The music is subtle, but nothing too new or exciting enough to blow players away.

The game adds replay value by allowing the players to unlock more playable characters to play as and upgrade as well as various battle arenas that can also be played online against other teams of knights and monsters. And with multiple download backs that include more characters and weapons, this game can enjoyed long after it's completion.
Giant Evil Cats. Just one of the Many Awesome Battles.
Overall, this game has a lot to offer in such a small package. Castle Crashers is one of the forerunners of the digital download-able titles on consoles and is still running strong. If you are looking for a good game to pick up and play with friends, Castle Crashers is the perfect package.

8 out of 10 (Xbox Live Version)

Here are some interesting links for more information about Castle Crashers:
The Game Official Page: http://www.castlecrashers.com/
The Wiki Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Crashers
IGN.com Review: http://xboxlive.ign.com/articles/903/903047p1.html
Gamespot's Review: http://www.gamespot.com/castle-crashers/reviews/castle-crashers-review-6196908/

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