Turns out building castles is insanely difficult. If you had a chance to check out our Indie Taste Test of ‘Castle’, you probably were thinking castle-building was a task for children. Mere mortals build castles. Why should I build castles? I’m half-god! Well you’re wrong on so many levels. Because castle-building can be next to impossible.
‘Castle’ is insanely challenging, although it doesn’t greet you in such a way. At first, ‘Castle’ seems friendly and inviting. The art style is cute and humorous, with funny shaped kings and horribly grotesque penguin kings. The early levels make you think that this would be a great game for phones, which we stated in our Taste Test. It is not suited for phones. Games suited for phones aren’t so difficult that they make you want to throw your phone at innocent children in veterinarian waiting rooms.
However, ‘Castle’ is a good kind of challenging. It requires wit, instincts, and awareness in ways that most other games do not. There is a quality of sensory overload to ‘Castle’ which is welcome and stays away from being prohibitive. There is a constant balance of looking for monsters, pieces, and ever-valuable coins that adds to the chaos, but also requires the user to be perceptive and engaged. This is not a casual game. This is a legitimately trying experience for even the most experienced gamers.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEzabI49FmI]
Unfortunately, the curve on the difficulty is sharp. I felt like I breezed through one puzzle and then was challenged to be able to complete something much harder and more challenging just seconds later. This led to me once finishing a level in one attempt, and then immediately going into the next level and getting stuck for 30 minutes. The game regains its footing at some point, but it was really jarring to have the pacing so abruptly spike upwards.
Other than that ‘Castle’s mechanics are really sound. There’s plenty of variation in the puzzles, enemies, and difficulty. The trophies are a good reward system instead of achievement points and the nice codex full of jokes and whimsy is a cool addition. There’s plenty of content here, all built around a pleasant puzzle like mechanic. It’s just you have to do every puzzle like there is a gun pointed at your head. There are two main difficulties. I never bothered with the harder one, because my commitment to anything is spotty, especially when challenged.
The ascetic of the game wore on me a bit. There were three types of level design. The rolling hills castle, the ice castle, and the desert castle. You pretty much play one of each, then recycle. Do this about 6 times over 18 stages and you’ll feel a little bit sick of it. The music was pleasant, but forgettable. The art style was generally great, but there was only a little variety to enjoy.
Overall, ‘Castle’ is a pleasant indie game that is totally worth the time and paltry money investment. It challenges players mentally and physically. I needed to up my dexterity rating by at least two to finish the final puzzles. I enjoyed ‘Castle’ greatly and it surprised me as a polished and well-thought out piece of work. I don’t think it’s revolutionary or trail-blazing, and it definitely has its flaws, but it doesn’t stop ‘Castle’ from being pretty darn fun.
Indie Games AAA’s Rating: