Castle Crashers Preview
Summer is always a little thin in the way of blockbuster releases but this generation, we have downloadable options to assist us in our downtime. The PlayStation Network has been excellent for PS3 and PSP owners, as we’ve already had plenty of fantastic (and attractively priced) titles, with more on the way. Last week, Sidhe Interactive treated us to Shatter and this week, we’re going to get the highly anticipated Fat Princess. Later, the PSN will continue its quality trend when the critically acclaimed Castle Crashers, which was once exclusive to the Xbox 360, finally arrives. We don’t yet have a release date, but it’s enough to know it’s coming. For those who appreciate original gaming experiences and might be a little light on cash, games like Castle Crashers are great options, and the title in question is innovative, oddly amusing, and ultimately entertaining. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of playing it on the 360, you’ll soon get your chance on the PS3 and here’s what to expect:
At the start, the king’s four beautiful daughters are kidnapped, and you will be tasked with bringing them back. An evil wizard is holding her prisoner but if you’re looking for more plot and in-depth character advancement, we suggest replaying MGS4; this is all about the accessible, pick-up-and-play style. You will laugh at some of the humorous surprises that are in store for you, and you likely won’t get bored easily. One of this game’s most appealing features is the fact that while it’s mostly straightforward, it’s not repetitive, so it should keep your interest throughout. It’s an action game with simple controls that involve attacks, combo attacks, and magic spells, and you’ll even be able to level up your character. The fighting is the focal point and while it won’t be as dynamic as Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, it’ll be plenty fun, and as you progress; you will explore a variety of distinctly different locales. The developers toss in more spices by letting you ride certain animals, finding new – albeit temporary – power-up items, or even sending you on hilarious chase scenes.
You jump, use light and heavy attacks with the face buttons, hold down the R1 button and use those same face buttons for magic, and just run around with the left analog. How hard can that be? It’ll likely take you all of five minutes to master the control scheme, but as we said, this simplicity blends with the continued freshness to keep you playing. The continued onslaught of enemies won’t allow you to rest, and while you might get a little frustrated during some of the more challenging moments, we’re not looking at an impossible-to-conquer arcade game. The best way to counter the odds is to bump up your character in classic D&D fashion: the weapons will have a direct impact on your stats, so a mallet may give you +2 to strength but you lose a point of agility. You’ll have to visit the blacksmith to learn about a weapon’s attributes (which we imagine might get irritating after a while), but even so, it adds another level of depth to the gameplay. There’s one other modifier to talk about, and that’s the animal orb. You will find these throughout the game and each will provide you with a little boost: the Giraffer gets you bonus points, the Owlet finds hidden fruit in the trees, the Bitey Bat will snap at an enemy’s head, etc.
Any defeated foe will yield experience points, as it would in any RPG. As your character grows more powerful, he will unlock new combos and gain points to distribute amongst your attributes as you see fit. Obviously, this involves the standard decision-making process most avid gamers are familiar with; the distribution of these points will dictate how you play the game. With more strength and defense, you’ll probably go charging into any encounter, but if you want to stock up on magic ability and agility, it’s likely best to step back and wreak havoc from afar. Then again, maybe you want a healthy blend so as to experience both parts of the gameplay, but if you do this, you won’t exactly become an expert in any one style. It’s all up to you. Factor this into the unique visual style and the fast-paced action and combat, and you’ve got one heck of a solid downloadable title. We’ll let you know when they announce the release date…you’re gonna want this one.
7/27/2009 Ben Dutka