SMASH ALL THE BUTTONS! That’s how I felt when playing a beat-em-up side scroller. Just keep tapping on the buttons and eventually, your enemies will fall. An old-school formula that is still an awesome time waster. Castle Crashers following the footsteps of Streets of Rage, Final Fight!, and River City Ransom. The Behemoth, creators of Alien Hominid, brought this magical and wonderful game to the XBOX 360, Playstation 3, and Steam starting in 2008.
Set in Medieval times, the story is set in a very fairy tale-like world with a twisted sense of reality. The story just revolves around saving four princesses kidnapped by an evil wizard. The four main knights go after the wizard to save the princesses and fight all his minions head-on. There are no twist ending (well…kinda), just go save the princess. And not in a Super Mario Bros. type of way where the princess is “in another castle!” The fantasy world is fascinating with all the cute, yet dangerous enemies. You start off choosing four different fighters, each with a different magical ability. Think of them as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but the medieval knights version (sort of).
The artistic directions is cartoony, cute, and crude. The creators made the world so colorful and violent, it just works. The world is beautiful and the details are enormously well done. Each weapon has a distinct look and feel; so do each character. Levels are unique in there own rights and help the world of Castle Crashers become more believable. The music is old-school with a twist and just blends so well with the action and the world you fight in.
There are a couple of RPG elements sprinkled in this game. You gain experience as you beat down those baddies and level up your character and improving any of the four stats (strength, defense, magic, and agility). As you progress, the better and more badass your character gets. Also, to help increase (or decrease) those stats, you can find various hidden weaponry your enemies carry or found in hidden areas. You can also recruit a “pet”, which is really a floating cute blob that provides various perks to your character and are again hidden either in plain sight or…just hidden. You can replay all the stages you beaten over and over again to grow your character and make the game a lot easier or harder.
The gameplay is just simple. Button mash, with some variance, to perform combos and other magical abilities. Collect coins, weapons, and pets to help your character. Then use your collection of various arsenals to beat your opponent (or friendly) down. The co-op is where this game is at. It reminds you of the original arcade games like The X-Men, Teenage Mutant Turtles, and The Simpsons to name a few. When is it not fun to play with a bunch of friends, laughing at the little crude humor strewn in the game, and when you beat a boss, fight each other to the death to win the kiss of a princess? It’s always fun! There are mini-games to enjoy with others (or by yourself) too for each system. The Xbox holds a mini-game called, All You Can Quaff, which is who can eat the most fastest. The PS3 holds a volleyball mini-game, where it’s a 4-on-4 game of…volleyball. And all systems hold an Arena mode, where you try to survive waves after waves of baddies. Beating the game also allows you to replay as your character or another one. Plus, there are hidden characters to unlock with different magical abilites. The gameplay is short, I played around 3-5 hours to beat the game with one character, but expands when you play the other characters, mini-games, and co-op the game.
The battles are fierce and fun. The visuals are beautifully drawn. The gameplay is never boring with sprinkles of random mini-games. Castle Crashers is just a game for everyone. The first-timer, casual, and hardcore group of gamers can thoroughly enjoy this fight fest. The Behemoth wanted to bring a world of cute art and color, with a hint of violence and crude humor of course. Castle Crashers is simple. Period. Not to difficult nor is it too easy. The story is simple, princesses are kidnapped and knights go after baddies to save them. Controls are simple. And because of this simplicity, the game is almost flawless.
Rating: 9.2 /10