Castle Frenzy, Gameloft’s first title in the Castle Defense genre, recently hit the app store. Combining great 3D graphics with plenty of content and enjoyable gameplay makes for a game that shouldn’t be missed.
Castle Frenzy contains only one map, a large stone castle with a moat and dirt path leading to the castle doors. It is along this path that waves of enemies will continually attempt to storm your edifice. Preventing this breach is your task, and it can be as simple as flicking enemies away with your finger. However, this is not your only option. There is a great variety of enemies to defend against, 10 in all. Each has its own abilities, which often dictate the manner in which he must be dispatched.
The enemies include goblins, boars, warlocks, trolls, dark elves, skeletons, and more. Goblins are easy to eliminate by slamming or flicking away, but warlocks, with their anti-gravity abilities, cannot be flicked into oblivion. They must be slammed. Boars, when freed from their riders, can be used to destroy other enemies as they turn and run back from where they came, bowling over any enemies in their path. Dark Elves can avoid your magic attacks, while some skeletons are hurt by fire but not ice, and vice versa. Keeping these straight is just part of the challenge.
There are two modes of play, Campaign and Survival, and three levels of difficulty. There are a total of 10 campaigns, each requiring you to defend your castle from sun up to sun down for a specific number of days. At the conclusion of each day, you can visit the shop and spend the gold that you’ve earned from destroying enemies on various upgrades. There are 18 upgrades in all, including the hydra, the griffin, the fire ball, the ice ball, and spells for lightning, boulder, tornado, and ghost army. The spells are brought about by gesture-based gameplay. These are a blast to use and add a lot to the overall aesthetic of the game. The Hydra is especially useful, as feeding enemies to the Hydra earns souls, which are needed to purchase some items in the shop. Survival is similar to Campaign, except there is no set number of days. You play until your castle wall is eventually breached. All enemies and upgrades are present in both modes.
The graphics are really exceptional for a castle defense game, and the 3D aspect is one not often seen in this genre. Sounds are great, from the slamming of bodies to the chomping of the hydra. The background music gives it a bit of an epic feel. Controls work very well, from flicking to tossing to the gesture-based spells. Gameplay can get crazy at times, but this is always due to the number of characters on-screen and never a control issue. Your success directly translates to the trophies you can earn, for anything from destroying 100 goblins to killing a mind control warlock to playing more than an hour straight without quitting. There are 23 in total, which should keep you busy.
The overall difficulty has left something to be desired, thus far. In Campaign mode, any damage to your castle is automatically repaired at the conclusion of each day. We spent most of our time on normal mode, and rarely did enemies get very close to our castle at all. The most difficult mode certainly adds more enemies and more difficult ones earlier, but it still takes a while before our castle is threatened. Perhaps as we get to the latter stages of the Campaign, we will see the enemies put up a more impressive fight. Regardless, the game is still very enjoyable and will require you to spend considerable effort to keep your castle in good shape. Survival maintains any damage done to your castle from day-to-day. Though the castle starts with 1,000 points worth of protection, this depletes very quickly once the enemy reaches your gate.
Castle Frenzy has great replay value, and the inclusion of Gameloft LIVE for high scores and achievements only reinforces this. There are a good number of castle defense games in the app store, but few that have captivated us as quickly and wholeheartedly as Castle Frenzy. For the $1.99 price tag, this is yet another quality game at a ridiculously low price. Castle Frenzy is a 5-Dimple value.
Castle Frenzy gets our AppSmile 5-Dimple rating: