Castle Crashers is a side-scrolling beat em’ up that combines intense multiplayer action with a unique sense of humor and excellent artistic design.
As the story begins, an evil wizard invades your peaceful kingdom, steals the King’s magic crystal, kidnaps the four princesses, and unleashes hordes of barbarians upon the people. It’s up to you (and your faithful knight friends) to defeat the evil wizard and free the damsels in distress.
Yes, Castle Crashers has an entirely predictable story, but it’s one we all love. Thankfully the story in no way, shape, or form diminishes from the overall fun of the game.
Those who recall the classic arcade game Golden Axe will feel instantly at home with Castle Crashers. You have a light and a heavy attack, a basic magic attack, and you can block and jump. As you progress through the game, you can learn additional magic attacks, as well as the ability to use more complex combos consisting of mixed light and heavy melee attacks. Although the controls are simple, mastering them will take practice. In addition, as you progress through the game, you will have the option to equip different weapons, use several items, and attach a number of familiars to your character.
The enemies you encounter along the way are varied and cleverly designed. The bosses, in particular, come in all shapes and sizes and will not only test your skill but ensure you have a riotously good time to boot. The difficulty is well balanced so that the game is constantly challenging but never feels impossible.
Castle Crashers is meant to be enjoyed in 4 player co-op. When the game was first released, there was quite a fiasco with the online multiplayer not working properly. This has since been fixed, allowing for online play, but Castle Crashers really shines when played 4-player locally with friends. After an epic 15 minute battle with some of the bosses, you and your buddies will feel like you just went to war together.
In addition, the game features a couple other modes, but the jewel here is in the co-op story mode.
This is the category that really separates Castle Crashers from the pack. The graphic design of the levels, characters, and enemies is all superb, coming at you with a unique visual style that you will either love or hate (but most likely love).
The sound effects and music are equally impressive. The intense action is superbly complemented by the sound, and the music is fitted perfectly to the mood of the particular scene. Many of the boss fights, in particular, are enhanced by a great musical score.
At $15, Castle Crashers is one of the more expensive XBLA games, especially for a game that probably takes no more than a few hours to beat, but it is absolutely worth it. The intense action is something that you won’t easily find anywhere else, and with collectibles to be found, a number of characters to unlock, and with an insane mode to boot, you should find plenty of reasons to come back to the game in the future.
The achievements for Castle Crashers are mostly fun and varied. You get some for playing the game in different ways, some for collecting items, some for accomplishing unique tasks, and some for playing different online multiplayer modes. Overall they give the gamer a taste of just about everything the game has to offer.
Castle Crashers is what it is, a wacky and intense beat em’ up that lasts just long enough to satisfy your appetite but not long enough to get you bored. In terms of gameplay, Castle Crashers doesn’t bring a ton of innovation into the genre, but everything that Castle Crashers does, it does very well.