Castle Crashers (XBLA)

By: Tristan Clark    On: Xbox 360
Published: Tuesday 9 Sep 2008 10:00 AM
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Being a long-time fan of classic brawlers like Streets of Rage, Double Dragon, and Guardian Heroes, I’ve been looking forward to Castle Crashers for quite a while now. And if you’re also a fan of the aforementioned games (well done!), you’ll no doubt be interested in hearing whether it’s worth going gaga over.

Let me put it this way: this is the game you’ve been waiting for.

Castle Crashers updates the side-scrolling beat ‘em up genre while retaining what made it so awesome, and adds generous dollops of humour, originality, and sheer fun into the mix. It’s not perfect, but it’s a shining example of multiplayer mayhem that will keep you and your mates entertained for hours.

If you’re a bit young to remember the good old days of 2D beat ‘em ups, Castle Crashers is essentially a button mashing action game. You traverse from left to right, and along the way slash at countless enemies of various shapes and sizes. Every so often the action is punctuated by boss battles or other scenarios, and then it’s on to the next level.

This kind of gameplay can get repetitive very, very quickly if the developer isn’t careful – so it’s to the credit of Behemoth that Castle Crashers is so much fun from start to finish. The core gameplay itself is relatively basic – you can jump, perform light and heavy attacks, use items, cast a magic spell, and block. You’ll use all these abilities to dispatch the hordes of enemies that fill the screens. But things stay fresh thanks to the sheer variety of enemy types and environments you’ll come across. One moment you’ll be slicing through a crowded battlefield, only to suddenly find yourself frantically swimming down a river, or riding a deer with diarrhea (don’t ask) away from a giant monster. Just as you might be thinking that things are getting a bit boring, the game almost always throws you a curveball to keep you on your feet.

This gameplay is complimented by a great sense of humour and an extremely polished and fun art style that looks amazing in high def. The cartoonish visuals really help bring the game to life, and the myriad of animations keep you well entertained in between the slaughterfests. They are in turn backed up by a great soundtrack, and appropriately battle-like sound effects.

The game is also relatively deep. While its running time isn’t overly long, the huge amount of unlockable characters and items encourage you to play through the adventure a few times. If you’re tired of the main story, you can enter a simple arena mode, where you simply have to either beat up on the enemy, or each other.

Speaking of which: if you don’t have any friends, don’t bother buying Castle Crashers. It’s relatively fun all on your own, but you need three other people by your side to get the most fun out of this one. The online code isn’t the best, and coupled with New Zealand’s wonderful broadband situation, I firmly recommend getting some mates over. And if you’re of age, add some beer into the mix…

Overall, Castle Crashers is well worth your money, and is certainly one of the better titles on Xbox Live (one of the others being Braid). If you want a co-operative multiplayer game that will keep you hooked for hours, this is the one for you. And even if you’re not too sure, download the demo now - it’s well worth a look in.

The Score

Castle Crashers
"Well worth your money."
Rating: PGR   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 15 Min


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Comments (14)

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Ubercuber VIP VIP Silver
On Tuesday 9 Sep 2008 10:10 AM Posted by Ubercuber
Great game. And great to finally have a 4 player offline co-op game. Actual people FTW!

Braid also looks pretty damn good. Played the demo, and had some nice little puzzles in there.
stupidlikeafox VIP VIP Gold
On Tuesday 9 Sep 2008 3:19 PM Posted by stupidlikeafox
good game, still wonder how replayable it is though.
Ubercuber VIP VIP Silver
On Tuesday 9 Sep 2008 3:23 PM Posted by Ubercuber
Im sure we'll find out when I chain you down to help unlock the 74 characters and 346 weapons!

....ok so maybe just one more play through on Insane mode.
On Tuesday 9 Sep 2008 3:40 PM Posted by Ruptunex
Sounds nice.
On Tuesday 9 Sep 2008 4:09 PM Posted by alienhominid
looks good. i was gonna dl the demo but its to big(1.3gb)
On Tuesday 9 Sep 2008 4:42 PM Posted by tim705
I think this is the biggest XBLA title i have seen.
stupidlikeafox VIP VIP Gold
On Tuesday 9 Sep 2008 5:00 PM Posted by stupidlikeafox
yeah, one more play through is understandable, but every character and weapon? could get very old, very fast.
Grunt of God
On Tuesday 9 Sep 2008 7:25 PM Posted by Grunt of God
I love it, well, the Demo that is :p
On Tuesday 9 Sep 2008 7:42 PM Posted by alienhominid
i might dl it this weekend
NiCkAdAmZ73 VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 9 Sep 2008 10:23 PM Posted by NiCkAdAmZ73
I love this game too bad I only have the trial version
Phoenix VIP VIP Gold
On Thursday 11 Sep 2008 8:34 PM Posted by Phoenix
Posted by alienhominid on 9 September 2008, 04:09PM
looks good. i was gonna dl the demo but its to big(1.3gb)

I just downloaded the demo yesterday, it was only 120mb..
Syn-Ryn VIP VIP Gold
On Friday 12 Sep 2008 8:13 AM Posted by Syn-Ryn
This is one of the games I really want once the 360 I'm getting is unRROD'ed. How large is it?
On Friday 12 Sep 2008 1:57 PM Posted by alienhominid
maybe i got confused with something else then. o well
chinaman71 VIP VIP Silver
On Sunday 23 Nov 2008 11:42 AM Posted by chinaman71
great game worth the 1200 ms points :P