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Castle Crashed

Xbox Live Arcade's Endless Summer ends in disappointment.

It's pretty hard to dislike a game that prominently features ninja pirates.
I'm feeling terribly conflicted about The Behemoth's Castle Crashers right now. I spent most of the day yesterday playing the game, and the experience was delightful. Dan Paladin's art style has never looked better, and the jaunty soundtrack reinforces a general sense of referential playfulness. By genre standards, the hack-and-slash gameplay is actually pretty strategic, and the light RPG elements keeps you propelled forward. It's also a longer game than I was anticipating, offering five-plus hours of cute and kinetic action.

Sadly, for all its considerable charm, Castle Crashers is riddled with bugs. Jeff and I experienced some of the game's well-known online problems firsthand when the game seized up just a few minutes into a co-op game. The real killer, though, is a bug that keeps the game from saving your progress when you play Castle Crashers on any Xbox 360 other than the one that you purchased it on. I learned about this the hard way when I turned on my office Xbox this morning to find that my level 26 red knight, complete with a bevy of unlocked weapons and animal orbs, had vanished into the ether.

Truly, nothing can sap one's appreciation for a game like having your progress destroyed, particularly when it's through no apparent fault of your own. I can recall with bitter clarity every time I've lost a game save, and even when it was in some way my own fault, it always leaves an indelible taint on the game itself. What makes the problems with Castle Crashers particularly heartbreaking is that I maintain a certain level of respect for the way the guys at The Behemoth carry themselves. Still, since it's their game, they're the most obvious target for blame. The release of Alien Hominid HD was also hampered by bugs, so they've got a less-than-stellar track record going in.

Then again, I ran into similar problems with Braid, which also had a nasty habit of destroying save games when loaded up on different consoles. Aside from being XBLA games, the only real similarity between these two games is that they're coming from very small, very independent developers, which leads me to wonder how much QA support, if any, Microsoft offers to developers. Sure, Capcom's got rooms full of dudes ready to bug-test the holy hot hell out of Bionic Commando Rearmed, but it's a slightly different scenario when you're a handful of dudes in a small office in San Diego. I guess that's part of the gamble with independent development--whether it's a smash-hit or a miserable failure, it all lands on that handful of dudes. Still, it's moments like this that I wish there was a little more transparency in the whole process of developing and publishing XBLA games.

I was planning on writing a review today, but having my progress zeroed out like that has unfortunately pushed back the timetable a bit. Were it not for these problems, I likely wouldn't have hesitated to recommend Castle Crashers, but right now I'm not sure what to think.
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Posted by Ryan
It's pretty hard to dislike a game that prominently features ninja pirates.
I'm feeling terribly conflicted about The Behemoth's Castle Crashers right now. I spent most of the day yesterday playing the game, and the experience was delightful. Dan Paladin's art style has never looked better, and the jaunty soundtrack reinforces a general sense of referential playfulness. By genre standards, the hack-and-slash gameplay is actually pretty strategic, and the light RPG elements keeps you propelled forward. It's also a longer game than I was anticipating, offering five-plus hours of cute and kinetic action.

Sadly, for all its considerable charm, Castle Crashers is riddled with bugs. Jeff and I experienced some of the game's well-known online problems firsthand when the game seized up just a few minutes into a co-op game. The real killer, though, is a bug that keeps the game from saving your progress when you play Castle Crashers on any Xbox 360 other than the one that you purchased it on. I learned about this the hard way when I turned on my office Xbox this morning to find that my level 26 red knight, complete with a bevy of unlocked weapons and animal orbs, had vanished into the ether.

Truly, nothing can sap one's appreciation for a game like having your progress destroyed, particularly when it's through no apparent fault of your own. I can recall with bitter clarity every time I've lost a game save, and even when it was in some way my own fault, it always leaves an indelible taint on the game itself. What makes the problems with Castle Crashers particularly heartbreaking is that I maintain a certain level of respect for the way the guys at The Behemoth carry themselves. Still, since it's their game, they're the most obvious target for blame. The release of Alien Hominid HD was also hampered by bugs, so they've got a less-than-stellar track record going in.

Then again, I ran into similar problems with Braid, which also had a nasty habit of destroying save games when loaded up on different consoles. Aside from being XBLA games, the only real similarity between these two games is that they're coming from very small, very independent developers, which leads me to wonder how much QA support, if any, Microsoft offers to developers. Sure, Capcom's got rooms full of dudes ready to bug-test the holy hot hell out of Bionic Commando Rearmed, but it's a slightly different scenario when you're a handful of dudes in a small office in San Diego. I guess that's part of the gamble with independent development--whether it's a smash-hit or a miserable failure, it all lands on that handful of dudes. Still, it's moments like this that I wish there was a little more transparency in the whole process of developing and publishing XBLA games.

I was planning on writing a review today, but having my progress zeroed out like that has unfortunately pushed back the timetable a bit. Were it not for these problems, I likely wouldn't have hesitated to recommend Castle Crashers, but right now I'm not sure what to think.
Staff
Posted by Coltonio7

My save was eaten up when I was half-way through -_-'

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Prediction: 3 stars.

Posted by Tarsier

Hmm I said first and planned on giving my 2 cents after I read it but it seems it got deleted. What ever.

Online
Posted by TomTheRealist

Huge shame. Huge, huge shame.
It seems co-op over Live is seriously messed at the moment for everyone. Hopefully Microsoft are going to offer some support on the tech side to get this sorted out. It seems worse at busy times, so maybe it's just being completely overloaded.

It's still fantastic though - I'm just going to concentrate on upping my character's stats in single player until it's resolved.

Posted by MasterSplinter

That is extremely disappointing. I am going to hold off on purchasing it until these problems get fixed.. hopefully.

Posted by ImperiousRix

Once I got my Xbox 360 fixed, this was gonna be one of the first games I bought.  This probably won't put an end to that proposition, but it is somewhat annoying to hear of such bugs present in this game.

Posted by Lashe

  They're game = Their game, surely? =P

But that is a damn shame about the game, I was really looking forward to it too =/ Wonder how long it'll be before a patch

Posted by coonce

can't wait to download this bad boy -- when's the review!!!???

Posted by GUnitVer1

Coming out with busted online is almost making me regretting my CC purchase. I guess the hype is too much on my head like the majority of people expecting greatness both locally and online.
Posted by TheWesman

That bug might be on a lot more XBLA and PSN games than we know.  I figure since people download those games exclusively, they don't take them to friends houses too often.  Ryan might be on to a bigger Microsoft/Sony conspiracy......

Posted by Buddycuffs

Besides the XBL co-op thing, mine has been perfect. Fucking awesome game.

Posted by bman3737

I have not had any problems besides the online yet, but then again I got lucky with my Alien Hominid save also.  I personally think it is an amazing game; the bugs will probably be worked out soon.

Posted by Player1

I know how you feeling with the progress not being saved. When I played Braid the same thing happened. 40 puzzle pieces all gone. I agree with the whole "Truly, nothing can sap one's appreciation for a game like having your progress destroyed, particularly when it's through no apparent fault of your own."


Its very frustrating. 
Online
Posted by lockload

From what ive read progress is saved in your gamertag profile not a game save file

Posted by Artie

To be fair Ryan, you're probably one out of twelve people who actually use multiple Xbox360s to play games. The general market (Meaning the other, I don't know, 10 million other people) don't handle save games like you do. So while your situation sucks, it's an incredible niche audience. The online stuff is a global annoyance though, the game works fine with local play though, so why not just play it with Jeff, Brad and Vinny? I don't think you should punish the creators of the game, because they didn't expect people to have more than one console purchased that they play regularly.

Posted by GalvanizedNails

I love Casle Crashers. period. And I've only played the demo, but I think I can safely say its the best brawler in years

Posted by kainen

yo jeff, hadn't had near the problems as you did, but even if it was single player this game is worth it.   totally awesome.  no brainer really!!!!

Posted by KEITH1437

The game rocks! I mean, yeah, the bugs are very annoying but the servers are getting slammed right now so i forgive it.

Posted by logson

Dang, sorry to hear about the save-dumping. I've been enjoying online co-op quite a bit.

Posted by MattBodega

Would Castle Crashers have been better if the development team had access to delicious curry?

Posted by AlexB

I really want to buy this game, but i don't have the money. I hate when my saves are deleted. Makes you want to destroy the nearest thing to you.

Posted by Rually

With the mass of people trying to play it right now, On-line problems might be due to traffic. But Im just speculating.

Posted by RenegadeSaint

I'm hearing about all sorts of trouble with the online co-op.  Other than that, everyone loves it.

Posted by hungrynun

Huge disappointment  with probably my most anticipated summer arcade release.

Let's hope for a patch down the road.

Posted by sneaky77

It's a shame they did not properly test it

Posted by CaleShepard

You deserve this if you were willing to pay $15 for this game hehe

Posted by ScrapMetalHead

The game is great, don't think it's a bad game, BUT there is a lot of problems to be worked out, I have been very lucky in that none of the glitches happened to me , online or off and I'm able to play with my friend in co-op no problem. It's really lame too because all these bugs and stuff will make people think it's a bad game when it deserves praise. AT LEAST The Devs are aware of the problem and are trying to fix it, now since they're a small team who knows when a patch will come out, but when it does I fear people will have lost interest or hope because of the current problems. That really blows because these guys worked their ass off on this game and because of it's current problems (that will I'm sure be fixed at some point) will probably be permanently tainted and that really sucks. I urge Ryan to hold off on the review until the game is fixed because I think it would be unfair to give the game 2-3 stars now, and then when it's fixed and plays awesome to still have a lower rating then what it should when it plays properly. If anyone is too blame I'd blame MS, because I thought they usually check the game for bugs and what not before it comes out, obviously they didn't put the effort in or ignored it. Either way the games been done I believe since May so there's no excuse why MS missed out on the bugs or maybe it is the Behemoth's fault. No matter who's fault it is, its really sad that this stain on the game probably will keep it from being the monstrous XBLA game it could have been.

Posted by Milkman

Wow, that blows.I had really high hopes for Castle Crashers too.

Online
Posted by zityz

Haven't tried online co-op yet, heard of the bugs so I'll hold off, but man, it's a damn fun game to play, and it has that earth worm jim style humor as well. Id recomend it to people, but let them aware of the online problems as of now.

The game save bug sucks, doesn't matter what game, The worst for me was when I was playing FF9 on the 3rd disc and my save save was corrupt, and couldn't access any of my other game saves, that was a real downer. Did finish the game though.

Posted by Apathylad

I'll probably purchase this game in the weekend, and I don't have multiple 360s so it shouldn't be a problem. I wasn't planning on playing this game online anyway...which leads me to question is broken online is better than none (I'm looking at you, Geometry Wars 2). Maybe I'll purchase Alien Hominid HD while I'm at it as well.

Posted by Crono

I think anyone put off by these bugs are truly focusing on the wrong elements.  Especially the "missing save when playing the game on different console than original purchase" because let's face it, not many people are going to run into this problem; not many people play on multiple 360s with a single Live account.  The Co-op online problem might be a problem from time to time, but I honestly don't know because I am enjoying this with people in the flesh, and it is a lot of fun on the couch with friends.

All in all, I can't complain about the game, personally.  While I do hope the fix these bugs, I think that stressing the importance of them, as well as claiming that this month's Arcade blow out ended in "disappointment" over such paltry, and overall insignificant bugs is grossly irresponsible sensationalism on Ryan's part.  He claims he really enjoyed the game (which is apparent by the level he reached) yet turns around and focuses on all of the negative and makes the claim in his headline that this wrought disappointment to the closing of an otherwise stellar Arcade lineup (Galaga excluded of course).

I don't know it just seems sort of irresponsible to me to let a bug caused by using multiple 360s, something that a large percentage of even the hardcore audience here at Giant Bomb will never experience, lead your review of a game.  I understand that it is a substantial bug for those that would do such a thing, but I think that just because it affected you, you should keep in mind that most will never run into that particular bug for lack of access to multiple 360s, or for lack of logging into anothers 360 account.  The online co-op bug, however, is much more understandable.

Posted by Vlademir

In my opinion, the game looks pretty bad. It just feels like any old flash game that I could play on newgrounds (for obvious reasons), and doesn't really seem to bring anything new to make it more of a worthy purchase.

Posted by Newnab

It's terrible. Such a great game completely destroyed in my mind by lack of online workingness.

Posted by JunkanooPunch

The game is awesome, i just beat it in Co-op with my brother and it was a hell of a good time..............

BUT !

I did run in to this problem as well about characters not showing up.  I bought it at my house and took my HD to my brothers house to play, and my stuff was missing.  So I signed out of my profile and loaded up my brothers on my controller instead, and every thing appeared back.  I then signed out of his and back in to mine and it was still there and I was able to continue playing with all my weapons lvl's and animals.


I HIGHLY recommend this game, but yea it does have some bugs.  I noticed a few times I would walk of a ledge in the forest level and my character would not fall down to the ground but rather he would keep walking forward  on invisible ground.


Overall though, its my fav game on XBLA.  9/10 and if they can fix the bugs it would be a 10/10

I LOVE IT.    LONG LIVE BEAT'EM  UPS !

Posted by MitchyD

Overall though, it's a great game and it sounds like you're enjoying it. Multiplayer is completely botched, but it's worth playing alone, though the balance hates single player.

Couch co-op is the jam, dudes!

Posted by MrMiyagi

I love the game and I've yet to have a problem with it... so far.

Posted by HatKing

I'd have to assume that the fraction of people who are actually playing the game on multiple consoles is significantly smaller than those who play it on one system.  Although the online bugs are very annoying, I'm getting sick of playing the game by myself and would love to do some co-op and as most of my "real-life" friends are either busy or not interested most of the time I'm left with online friends, I've accepted that, but this game just doesn't function properly.  It is a shame to because as Ryan was saying it is such a great game it breaks my heart to see a few bad glitches ruin it.  Although still I must say if the game weren't packaged with online co-op to begin with it would still have been a great package, but the thought that it is there and not working almost hurts it more.

Posted by DefAde

YO DUDES....

The loss of save data is not down to using the game on a different console... (not unless that is a different and seperate bug)

People have been reporting an 'all stats erased' bug all over the internet, on consoles they used to purchase the game

Pretty quickly people seemed to clock onto the fact that the data loss problems seem very much related to the online... More specifically the loss occurs when you leave straight from an online game without going to the title screen... either by just switching off the console... or after a 'connection loss' or straight up game crash

Anyway... a fix appears to have been discovered...

If you crank up the game and discover your stats are reset... then DO NOT START A LOCAL GAME as this will overwrite your missing stats

follow these steps to retrieve your stats back:

-create an xbox LIVE castle crashers game

-sign in with your XL GamerTag

-create a match: i used these settings
-private slots 0
-maxplayers 4
-hidden characters (this maybe a *must* I haven't tested it though)

-then click create match

-toggle ready then back all the way out to the main menu then try your local game again


This has been CONFIRMED to work

enjoy :)

Posted by donaldkhogan

Sorry about your troubles Ryan, your post serves as a warning for us all!  See, with this post you've basically "taken one for the team" and now we can all enjoy the game without making the same mistakes as you!  (well not really YOUR mistakes, but you know what i'm sayin)

Thanks!

Posted by s0ck

i had a similar problem with geometry wars2 after spending hours trying to beat my high score i eventually managed it!but all i was greeted by was leaderboards not currently available.the next day i turn the game on only to discover my high score had vanished and the old one remained!

Posted by BelowStupid

yeah the behemoth games have had problems, like when AH dropped saves and when missle master had no sound, they are a very young developement company so maybe it speaks to their inexperience.

Posted by Chris

Ryan,

I hope you'll take it into consideration that the majority of people NEVER change consoles. I understand that's a hugely frustrating bug for someone like you but most people only have access to one XBOX 360.

It's an issue but it doesn't ruin the game for most people.

Posted by John

damn that sucks.

Posted by Ontheocho

i would like to reitterate what some former posters had said.


I have never transferred my save games to another xbox360.  I purchased the game today and I have fully enjoyed it, and it sounds like you enjoyed the play experience as well.

I am not a gaming journalist, and in light of the recent infighting between reviewers from competing sights over Too Human, I feel I have no business indicating what a subjective review by you the reviewer should be.  It is your opinion, and it is your opinion that keeps me coming back to this sight over others.  Stars are stars, but history shows that one star can't keep Vinni away from Pub Games.

I sincerely hope that in your review that you take into consideration that some people may not run into the glitches you have because of the way that they play. 

Posted by Lepuke

The game itself, is extremely awesome.
Considering it was made by a handful of developers brings it even a level above that.
So far, Single player I have had no problems whatsoever in 8+ hours of gameplay.
I haven't ventured into co-op action yet so I can't comment there, but I would have to recommend people at least give this one a shot. It's great, and hopefully with some of the sales revenue this title creates the developers can fix the bugs.

Posted by ZAPBoston

I haven't experienced the problem with Game Saves yet. I did have some issues connecting to Xbox Live and finding a cooperative game. Despite the bugs, this is a really nostalgic, entertaining game. It displays a unique art style too. It is definitely worth the 15 bucks for me.

Posted by HTTenrai
Ryan, I think you can fairly criticize the online component for being busted like it is, but like Artie said, this is a bug that's likely limited to the few privileged people who have access to more than one Xbox. It's worth mentioning, but it won't affect a large number of people. I do, though, appreciate just how truly heartbreaking it is. I've lost more than one game of Final Fantasy Tactics, and you can't tell me that doesn't hurt, man...
Posted by albedos_shadow

Thank god I don't have 2 360's.

Posted by Ubergeist

Nothing a little patch can't fix.

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