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Heroes and Castles Review
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Heroes and Castles, a castle defense/fantasy-RPG/real-time strategy hybrid from Foursaken Media, is now available from the app store. Featuring intense battles, resource micro-management, and plenty of upgrades and options, Heroes and Castles is a force to be reckoned with.

Heroes and Castles Pros:

  • Crisp graphics with plenty of enemy variety and exciting battle animations
  • Soundtrack has an epic feel; sound effects enhance the battle atmosphere
  • Controls are easy to manage and items are items are at your fingertips
  • Multiple heroes, tons of purchasable/upgradeable skills, buildings, units, and runes
  • GameCenter integration for leaderboards, achievements, and challenges

Heroes and Castles Cons:

  • Can be quite difficult and frustrating at times
  • Some difficulties during battle with targeting enemies or anticipating depth for effective strikes/dodges

Upon launch, Heroes and Castles offers a 30-battle Campaign and online Co-op Multiplayer mode that sees you controlling a hero selected from one of three classes (Knight, Paladin, or Engineer) as you fight to defend your castle’s keep from hordes of evil marauders. Knights provide a good balance between offensive and defensive prowess, while Paladins focus on strengthening their comrades to the detriment of their own defensive skill. Engineers utilize strong defenses that help to mitigate its slow, ranged cannon attack. Once chosen, you’ll teleport into a battle scenario where you and your wooden walls are the only things keeping invading forces from reaching and destroying your keep. You earn gold at a steady rate, though purchasing and upgrading a gold mine in order to expedite your rate of gold acquisition is a generally-accepted strategy. Gold is used to purchase and upgrade buildings and units during the course of battle. Peons and archers sit on the low end of the food chain, acting as damage sponges to take the heat off of you and the castle via melee and ranged attacks, respectively. Archers are typically safe from most attacks, though they can be easily lost if the wooden wall atop which they sit is breached. As you complete battles, you’ll unlock better units to use. Buildings are also key to keeping your head on your shoulders and keeping the riffraff out of the kingdom. Battle Academies will arm your Peons with swords for increased effectiveness against enemies. Archer towers, ballista towers, and the like also produce positive results. You can also upgrade your keep between battles and repair your walls on-the-fly.

After dealing a certain amount of damage against opponents, you’ll level up your character, earning experience points that can be used to unlock and upgrade their 3 active and 3 passive skills. Crystals are earned after completing battles. You use them to unlock and upgrade unit and building attributes on a permanent basis. You can also use crystals to craft runes that give your hero boosts in significant categories like increased likelihood of critical strikes, additional health, reduced unit costs, etc. Runes come in varieties of common, uncommon, and legendary, and no 2 seem to be alike. In addition to crafting them, you may also find some on the battlefield after defeating enemies. You can only equip one at a time. Replaying and completing battles using the other two hero types will allow you to earn additional experience and crystals to continue upgrading and improving your chances for future victory.

Battles are both stressful and exhilarating. You’ll need to keep an eye on your gold count in order to know when you can afford buildings and units to support your effort. You’ll need to keep an eye on your castle walls to keep enemies from damaging your structure. You’ll need to keep an eye on your health bars, replenishing your own by ducking out of the battlefield and behind the castle walls to regain health at a slow rate.  You’ll need to keep an eye on which enemies are attacking from a distance and possibly trek out into the heat of it all to take them out. You’ll have to keep an eye on your peons and make sure that one or two enemies aren’t occupying their attention while a bunch of more dangerous creatures descend upon your position. It’s easy to see how you can get distracted by one or two elements and lose a battle. At the same time, it really puts you into the thick of things and gives you the adrenaline rush of managing all of these aspects and coming away the victor.

The graphics are fantastic, with terrific character models, distinguishable enemy behavior, and realistic movements. Battles take place in different seasons, so you’ll experience both lush greenery and harsh white winters. There is plenty of info available to help you evaluate your current situation, putting much of it front and center so that you don’t have to dig through menus to know where you stand. The upper left corner contains your hero’s image (with current rank) and health indicators, while the upper right shows your current gold count/rate of acquisition and ground/wall populations, which are capped and cannot exceed a certain threshold. The screen bottom houses your Buildings and Units tabs, giving you access to purchase both during battle. The screen’s left side will be adorned with your most recent purchases from these tabs for quick re-purchase. Moving your hero requires dragging your thumb around the left side of the screen, and holding the attack button on the right will allows you to attack baddies. There is a sprint button above the attack button that gives you the power to run for short bursts, but you’ll need to allow this to recharge after depleting it. The soundtrack has an epic feel on par with fantasy movies like Lord of the Rings.

Replay value is outstanding, with multiple heroes to use, tons of strategic battles to fight, lots of purchasable/upgradeable items, awesome runes to craft, an Endless mode that unlocks upon completion of the regular campaign, and online co-op multiplayer that allows you to team up with another player to see how long you can last. GameCenter integration also allows for leaderboards, achievements, and challenges. Foursaken Media have big plans for this game, including versus and siege modes, new heroes, and more. We’re confident that this game will keep us occupied for a good long time to come. A universal app for an extremely reasonable $1.99, Heroes and Castles is an amazing 4.5-Dimple champ.

Heroes and Castles Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2013-01-20T20:11:08+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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