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Game Review

CastleStorm (XBLA)

A fun, endearing, and entertaining way to kill a few hours; an ambitious twist on the Tower Defense genre with plenty of replay value.

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There aren’t many Xbox Live Arcade games coming down the pipeline at this point, considering the console is most likely nearing the end of its life cycle. But many of the stragglers set for release from now until the advent of Xbox One are still quality, however, and definitely worth trying out. CastleStorm is one of these decent offerings, and while it’s more of the same brand of tower defense we often see on this venue or across mobile phones, it’s still an exciting amalgam of games like Tower Defense and Angry Birds.

The creators of Zen Pinball have teamed up with Microsoft to branch out from mini-golf and other random side projects to bring CastleStorm to fruition via the soon-to-be defunct Xbox Live Arcade. Players take up the mantle of medieval knights in the single-player campaigns, rallying against vikings who’ve usurped a magical crystal apparently meant to be used for the nefarious goal of world domination.

The knights have their castle acting as a stronghold at one end of the playfield, being used as a base of operations to attack the vikings. How do the knights go on the offensive? By lobbing enormous rocks and other bits of ammunition via catapult at them. Aside from the occasional farting sheep or exploding apple used as an offensive attack on the vikings, armies are employed as well.

In fact, troops act as an invaluable support team and are necessary for victory, capturing flags and slaughtering enemy soldiers. Keeping the armies supplied with food will keep them regenerating, and you can supplement with other types of troops as well.

Aside from soldiers and catapults, various magic and spells are available for your use – shields, weapons, and support magic are valuable tools for pushing back the vikings, and it’s prudent to learn how to strike a happy medium between all three for offensive and defensive strategies.

Customizable and upgradable castle rooms, armaments, and various other augments work together to ensure you have all you need both to defend your belongings, drive away the enemies, and sit pretty as lord of your own hold. There’s something addictive about this quirky riff on tower defense that takes familiar conventions and ties them together in a palatable way.

CastleStorm is a fun, endearing, and entertaining way to kill a few hours, and Zen Studio should be proud for releasing another slick, ambitious project with plenty of replay value.

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05/29/2013

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Zen Studios

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