CastleStorm (PS3, Vita, PC, 360)

CASTLE_BOXKnights and Vikings are at war, and it’s up to you to protect the knights’ castle and save the kingdom. CastleStorm, made by the folks that brought you all those awesome Pinball FX and Zen Pinball tables, is a creative mix of games that includes Angry Birds, but also implements plenty of strategy and action. How does this all work? Read the review to find out! (PS3 version reviewed here)

The missions are presented in 2-D, with the knights on the left side and Vikings on the right. In most missions, it’s your job to destroy their castle by aiming and firing a ballista, or giant slingshot. This part of the game is similar to Angry Birds, in that you knock down the enemies’ structures by strategically choosing weapons to aim and fire. But while you’re doing that, Viking soldiers may spill out of their castle and head for yours, with the intention of stealing your flag. If they breach your castle and bring your flag back to their base, you’ll fail the mission. You can fire on the enemy troops with your ballista, too.

But you can do more than just fire from a distance. You can also send troops of your own, like swordsmen and archers, to do battle with the enemy while you take out their castle. And when things get really rough, you can teleport the hero of legend, Sir Gareth himself, out to the battlefield. Sir Gareth is kind of the main character hero in the game, and when you send him out to the battlefield, you control him directly for a short while. This part of the game is like a 2-D action hack and slash title, as you block and swing your sword in real time, and the screen zooms in for a close up of the action.

Completed missions will earn you stars and coins, which you can then spend to upgrade and build your castle, add more troops and upgrade them, buy new weapons, raise Sir Gareth’s levels, and much more. After you complete certain missions, you can then replay them in challenge modes. While you don’t necessarily do everything at once in all missions, the only problem I had with the game is that it was too hard, even on the Casual difficulty setting. But then, I’m not good at multitasking either, and you have to do a lot in this game. So if you enjoy titles like Angry Birds but crave a little more challenge and depth, then CastleStorm may be for you.


Kid Factor:

CastleStorm is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Blood and Violence. You do hit enemies with swords, cannonballs, and javelins (which still stick in them), but you can turn off the blood in the options screen. But with the 2-D nature of the game and the small characters, violence really isn’t that graphic. I’d be OK with kids younger than teens playing this, but it really is best for older gamers because of the reading involved and high level of difficulty.

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