Castle Crashers is a fun beat'em up with nice humor.
I was a big Alien Homnid fan back in the Gamecube days. So when I heard about Castle Crashers, I was pretty excited. I originally played this game last with in a local multiplayer setting. It's almost a different experience when you're playing with someone else. You're not concerned about secrets or items or money.. it's just a stupid button masher. So I was curious what it would be like in a single player setting, and it was very rewarding in some senses.
I liked the amounts of secrets you could find in this game. I also loved the freedom to backtrack anytime you want. The art style was fantastic and the music was pretty amazing too.
The only things I have to complain about is they way you level up. They give you no reason to power up your magic or speed to be honest, unless you want a stupid challenge. When the game is 95% button mashing, you better power up your strength and defense.
Another thing that bugged me was the generic enemies, they have the same tactics and same moves over and over again. It gets really old fighting them.
Otherwise, Castle Crashers was a really fun game and easily the best Xbox Live Arcade game I've played.
Castle Crashers is a typical sidescrolling beat'em up with RPG elements for good measure. You gain experience each time you attack something (rather than killing something). Once you gain a level, you get 2 points to distribute among your four skills (Defense/HP, Power, Speed and Magic). Once you hit level 20 or so, then they only give you 1 point to spread around.
You find loot, such as money, food (health) and weapons when you kill enemies. Each level flows in a linear fashion, so no branching paths really. There are a ton of secrets to look for. There's even a bit of Zelda/Metroid elements. You'll run into things you know you can destroy or move, but just don't have the powers to do it. Then when you are finally granted those powers, you can then grab that item or bust down a wall or whatever.
The enemy AI is mostly stupid. While they usually have good art designs, they just didn't focus on their fight styles. You'll either run into an enemy that will melee you or shoot arrows at you or both. It's not very deep and it gets old fairly quickly.
The boss fights make up for the generic enemies though, as they're usually pretty fun. They're very easy to figure out, but they're still a blast to encounter.
----------Characters / Story----------
There's really nothing to the story or characters. It sort of reminds me of a Nintendo game at times. The game isn't relied on the story or even dialog, just the gameplay and stupid humor. The only real dialog you'll get in this game is the stuff from shopkeepers. The character you choose really doesn't effect anything either. So yeah, this is about as basic as it gets, but I do dig the humor... even though they rely to much on poop jokes.
The graphics are super impressive in some spots, but in others it just looks like a flash game. I really like the backgrounds, there's always something that subtle that will crack you up. The later levels have more detail into them, and are usually more interesting looking. I love the animation of the characters too. Overall it's a pretty nice looking game.
The music is surprisingly good. Very catchy and rememberable stuff. I'm shocked how good the music is. There really isn't any voice acting though, besides maybe a Princess will yell "Help Me" or something. The sound effects get old after a while.. but the music makes up for it all.
The world map is a typical dot-to-dot map you would find in say, Final Fantasy Tactics. When you beat a stage (or sometimes up to 3 stages in a row) you can advance. Sometimes the path branches out, but there's only a couple times that give you a real option to do something. You can always backtrack to any previously beaten level if you want. The storylines within these levels restart too, but it doesn't effect your current missions or anything. Overall, I like the map.
----------Time to Complete Game----------
I have no clue how long I spent on it, since they don't record my time with it. However, I would have to guess around 10-12 hours, which is a meaty download game. The final boss was very very simple, but the ending was nice. Once you beat the game, you unlock a new playable character, and "Insane" mode.