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