Not often a coop campaign feels this good
Even if you examine Castle Crashers as a full legitimate game, this title still holds itself up pretty well. If you are like me, you are iffy on the whole buying a digital game thing, but the developers of this title make sure you feel as though you get your money’s worth here. This fact is evident in the games length and replay-ability. For the price, the length of the campaign feels perfect. There are something like 30 dynamic levels that flow into each other and culminate in about 10 or 15 boss battles. Playing alone it might take you around 10 hours to get through it but that is not how to play Castle Crashers. The game really shines in the 4-Player coop. Never being popular enough to engage in a full four player experience I can’t speak much on that, but I was able to get some time in with a three player game and even though the game tries to scale the difficulty, it is still easier to pilgrim through the story, probably cutting the time in half.
So what to do after you finish the story? Well there is plenty to do. Just about every character you beat the game with will unlock you a new character to start all over again. For completionists, you will find 24 additional characters to unlock, if you figure the shorter end 5 hour rate of the game you are still looking at 60 hours of work. (Each character who beats the game unlocks a new character so a 2 player game would net you 2 unlocks for the playthrough.) Along with collecting characters, you can also collect the games over 60 weapons. Even given the fact that you get one with each character you unlock there are still over 40 to be obtained. Throw in a bunch of little animal stat-boosting sidekicks to find, with an insane mode to take on and you can see that there is a lot of potential for replay ability in this game.
So it can’t all be good, and it isn’t. The first ding against the title is that the characters start out WEAK. The nifty little RPG style character progression is really over shadowed by the weakness of the characters. The creators try to remedy this by giving you 2 stat points per level for the first 19 levels, allowing you to specialize early in the four different stats, but even then each point you put into a stat, you really won’t even notice a difference until you are around level 40 and able to take on just about anything in the game. It is a shame that this system just wasn’t implemented well enough, it could have been another way the game stood out instead of being a knock against it.
The second demerit comes from the fact that you really can’t enjoy this game by yourself. I understand that it is a download only game so therefore you must have a solid internet connection to play it, but some of us out here in video game land still like our single player experiences. You could say, “but wait this game is obviously a multiplayer game!” To that I say hogwash. Any game that’s worth its salt remembers that you will not always have friends around to play a game with online so you MUST consider the single player experience because after all, no one likes playing with strangers online, they are all a bunch of pricks.
I could also mention the lack of different battle animation sets as another negative point to harp on but honestly I really dig the animation style of the game in general. So what if there are only really 2 different battle animations for all of the characters, the game looks good. So I can give it a pass there. All in all the game is well rounded in every respect and even with the shortcomings I mentioned before, I think that this is a solid piece of gaming goodness and, provided you have people who will commit to playing it with you, well worth the price of admission
Released Aug 31 2010 more then 2 years after XBOX