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Castle storm Review

Castlestorm is the latest offering from the team over at Zen Studios best known for the excellent Zen Pinball/Pinball FX series and associated tables. So releasing a game which is a massive departure from that is a bit of a risk but boy has it paid off. Released several months ago now on XBox 360 and Steam, Castlestorm finally gets it's much requested turn on the PS3 and Vita. Oh and by the way it's a cross buy title, meaning that if you buy it on PS3 you also get it free on Vita or vice versa.

To be clear I'm reviewing the Vita version here as since I saw the first trailer it just screamed Vita at me and, whilst there are very functional well implemented touchscreen controls in the game, I actually found that it  works best using the traditional face buttons on the Vita.

You play as Sir Gareth defending your castle by commanding troops and directing the ballista to fire at opposing troops and enemy castles, think Angry Birds but with proper projectiles. Destroy the castle (or collect the opposition flag) and you win. Simple yet there is a lot of strategy going on while you play choosing which soldiers to spend your resources on which ammo to use for the ballista and when to deploy your hero to the battlefield for a limited time. Simple and easy to pick up yet very addictive right off the bat.

There's also plenty of expansion available, as you play through the campaign mode you unlock various different projectiles, troops and rooms which you can use to add to your castle. Oh that's right you can build your own castle from scratch and do it whatever way you want (within certain perameters which vary depending on how far through the campaign you are). This feels very Legoish and anyone who is a fan of creating things in games (ala Little Big Planet) will feel right at home here.

Graphically Castlestorm pops on the Vita with sharp and vibrant colours the layout on screen is perfect and this is reflected in the control scheme as well which allows for slow build up play as well as all out attacks where you find yourself pressing several buttons in the space of a couple of seconds. And that's not to mention the excellent score by Waterflame (who also scored Castle Crashers).

The story is somewhat whimsical but does a good job of setting up each battle and there are some great one liners in the text. There is some dialogue however Zen have taken a leaf out of TT games Lego book and used grunts and sighs and other noises to add to the humour of the text dialogue. It works fantastically well and rounds out the package nicely.

Almost as a bonus to what is a fantastic single player game we have a whole multiplayer mode as well, yes the matchmaking isn’t perfect yet often pitching you against players at a far higher level than you can deal with, but this seems to be leveling out already and playing with friends is great fun

Castlestorm becomes only the second game (Velocity Ultra being the other) to drain my entire Vita battery in one sitting. No mean feat as it lasts several hours. All in all hours of fun and cross buy to boot, Castlestorm is a must buy for all Vita owners.

Andy Urquhart 42 Level One

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