Cardboard Castle, a side-scrolling, puzzle-solving adventure from Bulkypix, is now available from the app store. A terrific art style mixed with clever puzzle design makes for an enjoyable, albeit regrettably brief, experience.
Cardboard Castle Pros:
- Fun art style
- Intuitive controls
- Clever puzzle design
- Achievements to earn
Cardboard Castle Cons:
- Controls often mix up selecting and scrolling
- 30 levels are easy to complete in a short period of time
- No undo button
Cardboard Castle features a great cardboard cutout look with charmingly stiff animations and a children’s storybook appearance. You play as a knight who must make his way across the land on his trusty steed to unlock castles, defeat bosses, and rescue damsels. The gameplay revolves around removing all obstacles in your path, using the various tools and environmental elements at your disposal. Cutting down trees with axes produces lumber which can be dragged over a hole in the ground to form a bridge. Bulls can be used to kick armored knights out of existence as easily as they can be coaxed into running through a mangled gate by applying a little fiery incentive to their hindquarters. Day and night changes can reveal new tools, as well as make certain actions possible. Depending on the circumstances, these changes can be controlled by dragging the sun or moon down to raise its counterpart, or tapping on owls and roosters to bring about the desired change.
Half the battle is determining how to use all of the variables with one another. The rest of the battle is determining the proper order to pull off the maneuvers, as using an element out of place can be as detrimental as accidentally destroying an element that still has use. Coins can be collected along the way to purchase clues when you get stuck, though a walkthrough is also available. The knight automatically moves as far as possible until he meets an obstacle that must be dealt with. There are 15 levels made up of 2 parts across 3 different environments, for a total of 30 scenarios. There is also a locked Endurance mode. Depending on how good you are at solving puzzles, there is anywhere from an hour to two hours of gameplay here. Our hope is that this game will be like Angry Birds, where the developers are continually adding more and more levels to the game in the future. As it stands, you’re likely to be left wanting more when you’re through.
The game’s soundtrack is cheery and pleasant, and the sound effects add a little something to the mix. The controls use simple tap or drag mechanics to combine elements or initiate actions. When you drag an element over another for which an action is possible, a visual indicator twinkles over the area. Panning around the levels is also accomplished by dragging the screen, and the game often gets confused between the two, requiring a good deal of re-dragging, which became a bit annoying. Otherwise, it was pretty intuitive and fun to play.
Replay value is pretty low, since knowing the solutions to the puzzles takes away from the enjoyment of discovery. There are a few achievements to earn, but no leaderboards, despite recording your time to complete each level. The lack of an undo button was also frustrating, since some elements are in close proximity to each other and hacking up a bull instead of the fence he’s standing next to can end your attempt and require you to go through the steps all over again. At $0.99, Cardboard Castle is a 4-Dimple adventure that’s priced right for the bite-sized fun that it offers.
Cardboard Castle Review,