After what seems like centuries of waiting, The Behemoth finally bring Castle Crashers to PSN.
Time for a little side scrolling button bashing fun direct from the PSN Store with Castle Crashers. Castle Crashers is a game which mixes the aforementioned side scrolling beat em up style of gameplay with some of the more fun aspects from the role playing game genre, such earning experience, levelling up and the purchasing of items and weapons. So does bringing both of these genres together work, and do they come together to create a game that is both fun to play and worth picking up from the PSN Store? Let’s have a little look at it and see.
So what is the story? Well, it’s really the usual thing when it comes to a tale of swords and sorcery. A bunch of thuggish barbarians, who are ultimately working for an evil wizard, have gone and kidnapped four of the land’s princesses, leaving it up to the player, or players as the case may be, to sort it out. The player or players take on the roles of one of four knights, quite simply Blue, Red, Green or Orange, before setting out on an action filled adventure battering numerous barbarians, creatures, monsters, evil knights and wizards.Â And so what it comes down to is a simple tale of hero rescues princess and beats up on evil forces, returning a peaceful tranquility to the land.
The gameplay in castle crashers is such a simple thing, but the game is actually pretty deep. The game begins as you would expect any side scrolling beat em up to begin, you choose which colour of knight you wish to play as, the only difference really being their starting weapon and the magic which they use. I personally went with the Blue knight, meaning I was using ice magic freezing the bad guys so as I could beat on them without repercussions. The orange knight uses fire, green knight poison and the red knight lightning. Other than this, all the knights are identical to begin with, ready to be shaped by the player as they gain experience throughout the adventure. On selecting your hero you are thrown right into the action with the first stage which introduces you to the games simple combat system with two melee attacks, a quick light attack and a slower heavy attack, each assigned their own face button. These can be spammed on their own or used together in a series of combinations. Along with that, each knight has the ability to defend themselves from incoming attacks using a shield and, adding to the combat moves, each knight has a ranged attack in the form of some archery skills. Although the combat system, set out how it is, means that the game can become a bit of a button basher at times, this is not really a bad thing because it is so much fun bashing those buttons.
So that takes care of the action side of the game. As you play through each stage, killing and maiming the forces of evil, you gain experience for each kill and most of the bad guys drop either fruit which replenishes a little health or more often they drop gold and this is where the game take a turn towards the more Role Playing Game style. After each stage the player is presented with a levelling up screen in which they can spend any XP they have gained in one of four skills; Strength – which determines how much damage you dish out with your melee weapons, Magic – which determines the power of your knights magic powers dealing much more damage and increasing its area of effect the higher it is, Archery – which funnily enough increases the damage that can be dealt with your knights ranged weaponry, And finally agility – which deals with your knights speed when it comes to attacks. This levelling up offers the player the chance to give their knight a little more personalised originality.
Separating the side scrolling action sections, the player is presented with a large map screen with their own current location represented by their knight. On that map are the locations of each stage and these must be played in order, with them beingÂ unlocked as you go and previously completed stages are re-playable – perfect for grinding some XP if you are having trouble in later stages and need to toughen up a little. From this map you can also visit numerous stores and NPC’s who will sell you health potions and weapons. Melee weapons come in a variety of forms from what you would expect, swords and maces, to the slightly more fun pointy stick, to what looks suspiciously like a lightsabre. All of these weapons can be found in the game and once found are also added to those in stock in the weapons store, with each having its own damage and speed value. Which you use is completely up to the player. Also accessible through the map screen are a series of gladiatorial arenas which have the player fighting off wave after wave of bad guys, reaping the rewards of gold, gems and the adoration of the crowds.
You could right now be thinking that this sounds like a really fun game, and you would be right. But there is one other thing that makes the game more fun than it already sounds and that is the fact that the game can be played online with up to three other players. The gameplay is exactly the same as the single player game, with the missions available to play dependant on how far the host player has progressed through the game. On the whole this is a good system but it also leads to the games one and only problem. Because everyone is a different levelled knight, you can find yourself in a game with someone who is level thirty compared to your level five. This means the high level knight can run through whatever low level stage you play, or in higher level stages you are so low level you do barely any damage. Ideally you would want to play with people who are around the same level as yourself. This however is a small problem and does not really detract from the fun of the game.
Overall, Castle Crashers is a really fun button basher of a fighting game with the added depth of certain Role Play elements. The stages themselves can be pretty challenging and when playing on your own definitely means you will be playing through some of the stages more than once. When you add to this the fact that there is quite a number of stages within the game, it means there is plenty to keep you interested for a decent length of time. Adding to the fun is the multiplayer mode with every mission and indeed the full game playable by up to four players in a co-operative mode. If that was not enough, there are also defecating owls and deer, the game does not score any bonus points for that, but it certainly made me laugh. If you are looking for a fun, challenging and lengthy game to pick up from the PSN store, then you will not be disappointed with Castle Crashers. Even better, there is a free trial so you can check it out before even buying.