Guild's Castle Crashers Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Guild McCommunist, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Guild McCommunist

    Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

    May 6, 2009
    United States
    The Danger Zone
    Back again for yet another XBLA gem review, Castle Crashers!


    Castle Crashers is the second game from The Behemoth, who made the surprisingly awesome Alien Hominid and most well known for its association with Newgrounds (one of its founders and programmers, Tom Fulp, created Newgrounds). So after making a successful 2D action-platforming-shmup game, apparently the team decided for a RPG-beamup type of game (if you're thinking River City Ransom, good for you, that's what you should be thinking). And for the most part, they did a great job.

    Castle Crashers isn't a big story game but it's fill with quirk and zazz, token of Dan Paladin (whose the artist behind these games). Roughly, you're a knight when barbarians attack and steal all the princesses in the kingdom. It's up to you to track down their captors, fighting through barbarians and dark wizards and trolls, amongst other things. Again, it's not very story heavy but it's still full of a lot of life thanks to the great art direction. The Newgrounds art style is something that will live on for a long time, and I do love it.

    I mentioned before River City Ransom, which most of you should know. It was a beamup-RPG type game that first came to the NES (and ported to a few PCs) and was later remade for the GBA under River City Ransom EX (I recommend this one the most personally). Really, there haven't been many games like it for quite, even since its NES days. Castle Crashers I guess is a true allusion to it after 20 years. It successfully blends the same RPG-beamup formula that we all loved in RCR. Basically it's your rather standard beamup affair as far as combat goes. You have two attacks, X and Y, and can chain them together. You can also use B for items (such as potions for healing or your bow for a ranged attack) and hold the Right trigger and either Y, B, or A for a magical attack. The RPG aspects come in when you level up, as you need to assign points to either Strength (more melee damage), Magic (better magic powers and damage), Defense (more health and armor), or Agility (more speed and better archery). And of course as you level up, you'll learn new combos. Altogether it's a great formula that works well in execution, but the game itself has some kinks. For starters, beating the entire game alone is both arduous and frustrating. It's a game that really requires people to play with, and more specifically good friends. With friends it becomes a great party game, but it also becomes quite distracting. With all the magic, bad guys, and general stuff happening, it's easy to lose track of your character. And it happens rather frequently too. Ideally you can play this game with 2 people and have the best time. It's still playable with more or less though. Still, the combat is solid, the bosses are great, are it's probably the truest thing we've seen to River City Ransom since the original game.

    As for graphics and sound, it really does well here. Graphically the entire game is 2D but it's done in the whole Newgrounds style. If you played Alien Hominid and loved the style you'll love it here too. The animations are pretty good too and all the artwork is great. The framerate is also consistently great, on or offline. The soundtrack here is also something I really liked. It very nicely transitions from grand orchestral themes to techno. Yeah. And it all sounds great. Sound effects and other stuff are pretty good.

    Overall, Castle Crashers is still a very enjoyable game and a great treat to fans of beamups or, more specifically, River City Ransom. And for $15, you can't complain.

    Presentation: A great overall art style. Story is rather barebones but it's made up for by the silliness and humor common to The Behemoth's games. Menus and settings can be a little bare though. 9/10

    Graphics: Very pleasing 2D art style with good animations and great art work. Framerate is steady on or offline. 9.5/10

    Audio: An odd soundtrack that goes from techno to grand overtures, but it still works very well. Sound effects and the like are pretty nice too, but nothing special. 9/10

    Gameplay: The whole formula of RPG-beamup, similar to River City Ransom, is great here. There's a surprising amount of depth. Unfortunately, it's a game that is pretty bland alone and can get to hectic with too many people. And like most games in the genre, it can get rather repetitive after a while. 8.5/10

    Lasting Appeal: You'll be playing through the story time after time to unlock new characters or just to level up others. There's also hidden weapons and animals to find. However, as I said before, it can get repetitive after a time. The versus modes are alright but nothing special. 8/10

    Overall: 9/10