Castle Crashing Is Good Fun

On Wednesday I wasn’t feeling very good, and took a sick day from work.  Don’t worry – I’m better now.  A little rest and relaxation can go a long way!

In the midst of my brief recovery, I fired up my Xbox and had some time to try out (and eventually purchase) a fun little game called Castle Crashers, by The Behemoth, the same team behind Alien Hominid HD.

I’d seen some trailers for Crashers before, and thought the game looked like fun, so you can imagine my excitement after playing it for a few minutes and finding out that the game was indeed fun, and even more so than the trailers made it look.

In Castle Crashers, you (initially) take on the role of one of four animated heroes ready to take on legions of baddies and bigger baddies.  The game plays like your standard beat-em-up game, where players advance slowly through levels by killing each wave of enemies, and usually take on a boss somewhere in between start and finish.  Levels can be re-played via the world map, and players can accumulate new weapons and pet orbs to use as they punish hordes of minions and level up each playable character.  Up to four players can play at a time, either on the same console or via Xbox Live, in any combination of locals and players abroad.

The world is presented from an isometric side-scrolling view a la Streets of Rage, and Flash / Newgrounds style animation is applied liberally.  In fact, the entire game has a sort of Flash-like “hand-drawn” look to it, and is incredibly attractive to view.  Animations in players, enemies, and backgrounds are slick and smartly crafted.  Color is utilized expertly.  And the game’s catchy soundtrack and effects compliment the visual style impossibly well.

I dove into the game not knowing much about what to do, and found myself playing as the orange knight, wielding a long sword and magical fire.  I battled through the first area, cleaning up my home castle, picking up a sweet bow and arrow, and eventually thwarting the leader of the opposing castle crashers amidst a crowd of his fellow (and smaller) baddies.  The demo ended as the leader approached death by my sword, and I promptly bought the game and continued playing.  The boss was destroyed, I rescued my princess, and proceeded on through the next few areas.

I’ve now fought my way (all solo, so far) through a fortest, a lumber mill, and a swamp, and though each progressive level is considerably harder than the last, I’m still having a great time with it.  The humor in Castle Crashers is in tune with a lot of the goofy stuff you see on the internet these days (particularly NewGrounds, for obvious reasons), and I’m looking forward to crashing some castles with some friends on Xbox Live as soon as I’ve got enough time set aside to do so.

The game also features an eating mini game, and an arena mode.  Player versus player combat is also an option.

If you’ve got an Xbox 360 and you’re looking for a fun beat-em-up game that’s a joy to watch and listen to, and which doesn’t feature a steep learning curve (but still offers plenty of more complex fun), I recommend trying out Castle Crashers.  The demo’s free on Xbox Live Arcade, and from the looks of my friends list over the last few days, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding other players to fight with online.

Images courtesy of CastleCrashers.com

7 comments:

  1. xot - Over a year ago

    Castle Crashers looks fun. I really like the look of it, so very good design work there. Ending the demo on the verge of beating a boss is diabolical. I have to remember that.

    I’m finding it consistently annoying that I’m getting closer and closer to buying an X360. I just don’t know if I can justify the purchase and I really don’t want to give my money to Microsoft. I’m mostly interested in stuff on XBLA (and dammit, why is Pirates! on XBLA only $20, when the same game on Steam is $30?). But there are other factors, Fable 2 looks cool, I’m psyched for Fallout 3 … but both of those will be available on PCs eventually. Then there is the whole XNA thing that I’m starting to get into. It would be very cool to make X360 games. Damn you, Microsoft! If I buy a X360 before a Wii, there will be hell to pay.

    And Steam … you bastard. You take all my money! Portal for $9.99? How dare you! This weekend only. Unfortunately, it’s another sweet deal I have to pass up. In all seriousness, thanks, Marty, for getting me to give Steam a second chance. It was just the thing to get me out of my PC gaming slump.

  2. Nailog - Over a year ago

    Thanks for telling me about the weekend deal, xot. Portal now downloading.

    Castle Crashers does look like fun. I’ve always liked beat-em-ups like Streets of Rage. I just wish they’d work with Steam to distribute it to the PC market. I never do understand the point of limiting your market if technology exists to relatively easily port your product to different platforms (Xbox 360 Windows).

  3. Dmaster270 - Over a year ago

    I <3 Castle Crashers. I have a level 24 Red Knight with Maxed out Magic. I'm stuck at Lava World because it's basically impossible by yourself. I've been trying to get to play with for a better chance but when I got it you said no. I really hate how it's impossible by yourself at some parts and you need someone else >:{. But I’ll beat it eventually.

  4. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

    @Xot
    Glad I could help! I go through phases with games too (my TF2 addiction has risen to new heights again lately), so I completely understand. I had also given up on Steam a few years ago… before Valve re-worked the whole thing, it was dismal. Oh, and I wish I would have picked up AudioSurf for $5 last weekend! Boo!

    @Nailog
    I agree, though MS already has the “Games for Windows” framework which acts like Xbox Live on Windows. They even recently made the PC version of Live free, so hopefully we’ll be seeing more games use it (and more achievement points for those games, yeah!).

    @Dmaster270
    I don’t see anything but what you’ve posted either… perhaps WordPress thinks you’re trying to insert code or it’s being clipped out / escaped when it tries to ad it to the database? PM me the full text on GMC and I’ll have a look if you want.
    It’s fixed now. It thought the < and > were enclosing HTML I guess.

  5. Dmaster270 - Over a year ago

    I can see how that would get confused. I didn’t even think of that.

  6. xot - Over a year ago

    Yeah, AudioSurf was the other “sweet deal” I was thinking about. The demo was too short for that game, and I didn’t quite get the impression my music had a whole lot to do with the game play, probably because I just didn’t pick the right tunes. By the last song I was starting to get into it, but it didn’t convince me to lay down the money for it. If the demo allowed a couple more good songs and I might have bought it. When it was $5 for that weekend I was sorely tempted to give it another chance, but just couldn’t swing it … I think I was in the middle of damn-near-hurricane Fay. C’mon, Steam, lets see some $10 Pirates! … but not until I get paid, please.

  7. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

    I finally tried out the demo for AudioSurf, and while it was entertaining, I’m not sure that I’d buy it for more than $5. I played one of the tracks from Team Fortress 2 (I guess these tracks come with the Steam version?), and I could definitely pick out which objects were being constructed from each part of the song, but (unless I missed it) not having any kind of “career” mode kind of ruins it for me. I guess I’m just not enough of an audiophile.

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