Catapult King, a casual physics-based game in the line of Angry Birds and Siege Hero, is now available from the app store. Developed by Wicked Witch and published by Chillingo, Catapult King marries the popular “flinging-and-flattening” gameplay with a slick 3D presentation that, once again, manages to occupy a significantly greater portion of my attention than expected.
Catapult King Pros:
- Beautiful 3d presentation with colorful storybook graphics and clever structural designs
- Soundtrack is whimsical and sound effects/chatter bring the world to life
- Controls are simple to use and responsive
- Variety of cannonball types, purchasable perks, and objectives to complete
- GameCenter and Crystal integration provides global leaderboards and plenty of achievements
Catapult King Cons:
- Cannot alter camera viewpoint outside of panning
- Determining cannonball pathway can be difficult
Utilizing a first-person viewpoint similar to Siege Hero, you load your catapult (which looks like a slingshot, but I digress) with heavy projectiles and fire them into the distance at a structure occupied by soldiers who have clearly paid off the code enforcement officials of the day. A solid collision or two with your ammo will reduce the edifice to a pile of rubble, earning points and jewels based on your effectiveness. Much like Angry Birds, the level of housing disrepair is moot if you fail to eliminate each and every soldier, with any survivors mocking you with high-pitched laughter. Each level begins with a cinematic look at the new structure, pulling back to reveal your distance and your pre-loaded weapon. Simply drag back on the loaded ammo to set the power and drag side-to-side to aim. Releasing your finger will hurl the object and allow you to enjoy the carnage. After a few levels, you’ll earn a cog that allows you to set the device forward or backward in incremental steps, giving you the option to fling balls high into the air or bounce them low along the ground.
The speed with which things happen will earn you jewels, up to 3 in each of a number of categories such as blocks destroyed, soldiers killed, balls bounced, balls used, points scored, direct soldier hits, and more. Coins hidden throughout the levels also beg to be collected via contact. Three of these objectives are selected for each level, helping to mix things up as you play through the game. Much like Angry Birds, there are also a handful of projectile types to employ, such as the splitter, the heavy shot, and the bomb that all act similarly to the various types of birds to which gamers have grown accustomed. A Lunar Storm ability, an Earth Shock ability, and an Aiming Assist feature also add to your repertoire of options, though they are consumable (last for one level) and must be purchased with magic earned during play. There are more than 60 levels to enjoy at launch, with more promised in the future.
Graphically, the environments are colorful and detailed. Each feels as if it was ripped from the pages of a fairytale storybook. The enemies have a lot of character, goofing around while waiting to be obliterated by the sling…, ahem, catapult. The animations are very smooth and the affected blocks and balls react appropriately when struck or impacted by the environment. In a change from the norm, the game is locked in portrait mode rather than the expected and typical landscape orientation. The soundtrack has a flighty, whimsical feel that mirrors the game’s style, and there is plenty of ambient noise and character chatter to make the world come alive. The controls are simply a breeze to handle. In addition to the aforementioned mechanics, you can also tap at the screen top to enter exploration mode where you can drag your finger around the screen to pan and get a better overview of your surrounding from your locked perspective. A tap anywhere will return you immediately to your firing position. It would be nice to be able to adjust your perspective prior to initiating your shot, but the game fixes you in a specific direction and does not offer this option.
Replay value is very good, as repeated plays with specific goals in mind (nabbing the coin, meeting the objectives to max out the jewels, earning the gold crown, etc.) are necessary to fully complete the levels. They are also so much fun to play, you’ll want to come back for the simple joy of wrecking the elaborate structures. GameCenter and Crystal integration allow you to challenge others for supremacy on the leaderboards, as well as snag more than 2 dozen achievements. A universal app for $0.99, Catapult King is an excellent 4.5-Dimple challenge.
Catapult King Review,