Castle Storm Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Zen Studios

Publisher: Zen Studios

Release Date: Out Now

Price as of Article: $14.99 USD, £13.49 GBP

Game code provided by Zen Studios for review

Story

CastleStorm is about two factions born to battle. Medieval knights against barbarian might. Battling constantly for their rights. The Peace Goddess stood watching them fall. She cried tears of sadness that stopped the war. Her tears turned into gem stones, blue, red, and peace returned to the land and war was stopped dead.

That’s me rhyming for today, just like the intro of CastleStorm which is voices by an actress speaking in rhymes about the conflict between the two factions.

Of course peace only lasted so long, before barbarians attacked again to try and steal the knights’ blue gem stone and this is where our story begins.

Gameplay

Before I start, CastleStorm was one of my favourite games on my Wii U. Yes, this was originally on the Wii U and it was one the few titles that had DLC, which you could purchase. The Switch version has some updates, and both DLC packs are included this time around: Outcast to Savior & The Warrior Queen.

Also, the game had a few more additions, such as touch screen support, Pro Controller support, HD rumble, support 2 joy-cons in split screen mode, new improved camera controls, 60 frames per second at 1080p resolution while docked, as well as 60 frames per second at 720p in handheld mode, plus a vast array of modes and content makes this the definitive version to own.

What is apparent from the very beginning is how good everything works in CastleStorm. The main concept is simple, each side has a castle with rooms in each that gives the player different troops, perks, and weapons to use in battle. The main goal is to either get your troops to break enemies’ castle door and retrieve their flag, or destroy enemies’ castle using a plethora of weapons at your disposal.
As you begin the campaign you go through a series of missions; side quests which unlock more troops, weapons for your ballistic, spells and rooms for your castle.

Castle Storm Screenshot
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Each time you acquire a new room or troop, for example, you need add them to your castle so you can use them in battle. This is were editor comes into play and its really easy to use.

Designing your castle is easy as the instructions are all in the editor for a reference point. All the rooms are clearly described, so you’ll know what each one does from the get go.
You are only allowed to have 5 troop rooms, so picking what types of troops you want is totally up to you. You can also add additional rooms to support walls and infrastructure, which is important to make your castle hardened to attacks.
Each room takes up a certain amount of space, so picking the right stuff is important. After you’ve sorted this out, you can start your mission.

Castle Storm Screenshot 2
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You control the ballistic with the left analogue stick. You can also change the trajectory of shots by moving the left analogue stick up or down. And firing with the A button plus you can cycle through weapons with the L and R bumpers.

By pressing the Y button you see a unit menu and cycle through them with the L and R bumpers and activate them with the Y button.

That’s the same with the spells menu, which can be accessed with the X button. You control the camera with the right analogue stick for panning left to right as well as zooming in and out.
The B button, however, is your cover fire option. When you’re firing it’s easy to hit your own allies, so by pressing the B button you will shout out alerting your troops of incoming fire. At which point they will duck and cover, letting shots fly by without hurting them, it’s very useful.
It’s really easy to use and feels very natural and intuitive in the heat of the battle.
Some spells, for example, can be targeted on certain foes with the right analogue stick. Also, you can activate a hero character which is my most favourite option in the game. This gives you the ability to run among your troops and help in hand to hand combat. Plus your hero character has his or her own attacks, projectiles and special moves. However there’s a catch, you can only use them for a limited time before you’re returned to your castle’s ballistic.
The story is pretty long and after each mission you get gold coins which helps you upgrade stuff, which you will want to do as the enemies will become more difficult and stronger as you progress.

You also can do side quests which don’t progress the story but give you more money to upgrade more things. Side quests can be anything from shooting gallery to escort missions, these are normally highlighted in blue in the mission menu.

There’s also an online leaderboard that tracks scores through most of the modes.

Not only do you have access to the campaign mode, but there’s skirmish mode, survival and hero survival mode, not to forget local play as well as online.

The options are many and I think there’s a lot of bang for your buck in this one.

Castle Storm Screenshot 3
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Quick recap on other modes: skirmish mode – let’s you play any map you’ve unlocked so far in the story. You can pick any unlocked factions, what side you want the castle to appear on and what enemies you’ll fight against. Then you have an option on picking a pre-made castle or your own creation and what equipment you want to use. Any gold you win can be spent on upgrading units, weapons and spells which can then be used on any other mode.

Survival mode – what it says on the tin, you pick a level and have to survive as long as possible against a wave of enemy encounters till you are defeated.

Hero survival – is a little different as this time you control just a hero character, no one else. And the areas you fight on are a lot smaller, but still have waves of enemies approaching. The main goal is to protect a flag from being stolen.

Online modes include: survival, hero survival and versus. I’ve had a few matches online and they were fun, mostly. However, sometimes I couldn’t find a single person playing online, which was a little disappointing.

You have leaderboards for friends on your system, which you can compare your scores with, or press the filter button to see online scores as well.

Local play is were it’s at! Really fun and very addictive!

Audio

I really liked the music in CastleStorm, it fits the medieval period well. I like the little sound clips for troops and the explosions, spells all sound good too, making you feel like you’re on the battlefield. Sometimes the music gets cut off as a new track plays, but it’s a small issue in a sea of positive vibes.

Visuals & Performance

I really like the bold graphics in CastleStorm. All the environments look really detailed, characters as well have really quirky animations which I like a lot.

All the troops look like they’re supposed to, and spells, castles and just little details all look great. There’s certainly been a lot of time and effort gone into making this look as nice as possible on Switch’s hardware.

Performance is perfect, not a single issue, and I’ve played for about 10 hours so far without any concerns.

Game also supports screenshots and video capture!

Value

For £13.49 it’s a steal! What’s on offer here is fantastic! Plus with all the added extras and DLC, it’s a must buy in my book! Local play is great fun and added bonus of online play is topping on the cake.

There’s just so much to do. And for what I’d consider a fairly low price point, it’s a complete bargain.

Pros

P

Tons of modes to play through

P

Single player, local play and online

P

Troops, spells, heroes play

P

Castle editor

Cons

P

Sometimes it was hard to find a match online

P

Requires grinding to level up everything, for later stages