(WiiWare)

Defend Your Castle (WiiWare)

Game Review

Defend Your Castle Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Alex Knox

XGen takes a Flash game favourite and gives it a lick of WiiWare coloured paint.

Some time ago XGen Studios released a free Flash version of Defend Your Castle which unwittingly spawned a small following of loyal defenders. The game was unquestionably entertaining, but here at WiiWare World we don’t want to waste our time encouraging carpal tunnel syndrome for the sake of some largely mindless click-and-drag gameplay. When it comes down to it, we’d much rather pay for a game with intuitive controls; this is where the WiiWare version comes in.

At 500 Wii points this version certainly requires a little more commitment, but it also has much more to offer; the Wiimote controls give the experience some much-needed life and multiplayer mode allows the gameplay to come into its own. Add in a charming art style to boot, and you’ve got a solid game with no greater usefulness than to merely pass the time brutalizing any poor, stick-figured souls who rally against the tyrannical rule of your kingdom. That’s probably the best and worst statement you can make about it.

If you aren’t familiar with the original, DYC is a old school shooter hybrid that plays exactly like it sounds. Scores of button-headed stick figures prance across the screen in endless waves with one intention - to pound your castle until it crumbles. There is a little variety in the enemy types and some tactical options for upgrading your defences, but this is monotone design in the purest sense. The only goal in sight is to cleanse the screen of all vile enemies. And did we mention it never ends?

What separates DYC from a typical shooter is that it demands more than just a quick trigger-finger. The emphasis here is on what you do with an enemy after you aim and click on him. The standard course of action (and most immediately gratifying) is to simply flick your wrist and let him fly. You can fling him straight up and let him crash back down, bounce him off the side of the screen, dunk him, spike him, juggle him… basically whatever it takes to crush his little crayon frame. As strangely engaging as abusing defenceless stick figures proves to be, it's clear that it takes a little more than primitive violence to make for compelling gameplay. Thankfully, DYC reveals surprising depth as you progress.

After each stage you are first given the option to save (to one of three save files) and then spend your points on “Fortifications and Upgrades”. These include simple repairs and life bar extensions as well as several options for upgrading your offensive and defensive capabilities. The ‘pit of conversion’ upgrade allows you to pluck an enemy at random from the hoard and drop him into a magical paint bucket to add him to your army reserve. Buy any of four tower upgrades and you can assign these troops to the related tower (signified by a coloured flag). Archers will randomly pick off enemy troops at a distance; Wizards grant you the ability to use the d-pad to wield potent spells on the battlefield, and so on. As you add more troops to a tower the benefits and capabilities offered by that tower will grow more effective. Dividing your time between managing your troops and recklessly tossing enemies is where most of DYC’s depth and strategy lie.

Add a couple players and the relatively dull single-player experience quickly evolves into a manic orchestra of castle defence. The player who scored the most points last round is crowned king and rewarded with the responsibility of controlling the troops and upgrades. Coordinating your troop management while your friends frantically defend adds another dimension to the inherent strategy. However, the standout feature of DYC’s multiplayer is that it allows for true drop-in, drop-out gameplay. If you’re playing alone and a friend shows up all he or she has to do is pick up a controller, point it at the screen, and the game will immediately adapt by boosting both the speed and number of enemies. If you have four people playing and two need to rest their tired arms, the game will likewise adjust accordingly. The universal appeal and overall versatility of DYC’s multiplayer is its main draw; so if you looking for a frantic game to play with friends on a whim there’s a lot of value here.

Finally and most obviously, an endearing sensibility really sells the whole package. The developers have said they wanted to make the game look like it was held together by “string, tape, and bubblegum.” The result is akin to a kid conjuring an elaborate game with little more than his imagination and whatever junk he finds lying about the house. Sure, when you break it down the graphics are nothing more than poor particle effects and simply animated stick figures on top of a static background. The presentation is about as primitive as possible short of aping the barebones flash style, but that’s the point and if you can go along with it you’ll likely find the art style delightfully crude. One downer, though, is that while the mostly vocal sound effects are cute and mildly humorous, there is no music. This is unfortunate, because the prevailing, repetitive sounds of bopping, knocking, screaming, and whooshing don’t do much for the eardrums and start to grate after awhile. That’s about the only real complaint we have about this game so it’s not the end of the world.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, Defend Your Castle is an easily accessible little oddity with nearly unlimited appeal. It serves as a classic example of old school game design enhanced by the Wiimote’s motion controls. There’s nothing more to the concept than working your way from level one to infinity, with the later levels culminating into sheer tests of endurance. Without a doubt it is great fun in short bursts. The reality, though, is that at some point your arm will get tired or sore and you’ll wonder why exactly you’re doing this anyway. But sometime after your arms recover and boredom has returned, you’re bound to come back once again to fulfil your duties to the kingdom.

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User Comments (80)

JZLAM

#1

JZLAM said:

I've been playing this mostly in single player mode. I've got a few hours of enjoyment out of it before I started getting a little bored and my arm started getting tired. I would have thought I'd tire of it sooner, but the game has a simplistic appeal similar to shooting balloons in Wii Play. My only complaint so far is the limited variety of attackers. It seems like they could have easily had more variety of opponents. My kids are busy enjoying Boom Blox at the moment; when they start looking for a new game I'll start them on the multi-player verson of DYC. WWW's rating of "7" is probably a good judgement. I wouldn't call this a must buy game, but it's a good cheap and enjoyable choice to buy if you've got a few hours to burn and you're looking for something new to play.

sailingtheseaoffools

#2

sailingtheseaoffools said:

At level 40 you do get catapult enemies. It's meant to be played in spurts. The difficulty drasticaly ramps up.

Thankfully if you get a game over and retry the level the points and converts earned in the failed battle get carried over to be added to the castle's archery, stone mason, wizard or one shot used in the demolitions tower. The points can be used to improve the wall hitpoints. Have to spend some to repair the castle from it's wiped out health state but odds are you well have enough left over to add a hundred or so hitpoints to the castle to try again. .

Objection

#3

Objection said:

@sailing
didnt know that (since I only died once and was ready to quit) Thanks
I'm at Stage 45, playing for 4-5 hours in the first 2 days. 500 pts=ideal price
Great game, even single player, but prepare for sore wrists after the harder levels.

CorbsAdmin

#4

Corbs said:

Outstanding review. This is one I'm going to try when things slow down a bit.

KnucklesSonic8

#5

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Outstanding review indeed but the final score reflects more of a tilt. Should have been written with firsttimers in mind, mostly but otherwise great job. But the game deserves an 8 at the least.

Clayfrd

#6

Clayfrd said:

I just downloaded this! I love it much more than the original! Highly recommended.

Clayfrd

#7

Clayfrd said:

Does anyone know how to get more options for magic? Is the eraser the only spell? It seems a bit nerfed to cost 40,000 points! I've added 26 men to my magic tower, but I haven't unlocked any more magic. Help! EDIT: Nevermind! I figured it out. Just keep adding wizards.

ACK

#8

ACK said:

It takes something like 50 troops for the next magic upgrade, which you'll happen to find incredibly useful. There are three in all. Once you're over 100 adding troops to the tower causes your spells to 'reload' faster, increasing the amount of times you can use all your spells. So, you'll definitely want to pump as many troops into magic as possible (but don't neglect your stone masons either).

Thanks for the compliments, by the way. This is essentially my first review, so take that as you may. Don't expect me to dignify complaints about the score, though.

Nonetheless, I hope it proves useful.

DEMON212

#9

DEMON212 said:

I've played the flash version and I really wouldn't class DYC as a shooter.

ACK

#10

ACK said:

It's a hybrid of the shooter genre (with a few minor RTS elements thrown in). The basic concept is similar to your typical flash shooter except that you toss enemies rather than 'shoot' them. That is, you click and drag rather than merely click.

Eitherway, it doesn't matter. Class it as whatever you want to. I won't complain.

KnucklesSonic8

#11

KnucklesSonic8 said:

This game is awesome. Enough said.
I never played the original, just heard about it and the element of blood turned me off. This... this is just so well-done and perfectly tailored to the Wii audience/market. Perfect! :)

Wiireview123

#13

Wiireview123 said:

great review! this game is slow at the first 10 rounds but once you get going, it becomes really fun and addctive. deffntly worth the 5 bucks!

ash1

#15

ash1 said:

7/10 is far too generous, in my opinion. A game this simple needs some amount of hidden depth to it to keep the player in for the long haul, but this game just doesn't have it. Not enough new elements showing up as you proceed through the levels, and the incredibly small amount of strategy you put into the doesn't deepen very much. It's just a mindless, shallow game.

thewiirocks

#16

thewiirocks said:

@ash - At 35 wizards, you get a spray can that can convert enemies. At 100 wizards, you get explosive magic. At 901 archers you get an invincible castle. And then there's the various strategies of taking care of the Catapults and Giants without losing your castle.

The basic gameplay is pretty simple, but it DOES have some hidden depth. I wonder if there's a dragon hidden in this version somewhere...

thewiirocks

#19

thewiirocks said:

@Bungawunga - There's no end in the game. The levels simply get more difficult with more crazy attackers. (It starts looking like a particle engine rather than a game somewhere around level 60.) However, it does keep getting more interesting. And since you get to keep all the goodies you saved up while playing, continuously replaying a level lets you forge ahead. :)

@Objection_Blaster - I should probably clarify the "invincible castle". To be precise, the archers take out all enemies near the left of the screen. The catapults can still push forward as they are unaffected by the rain of archer fire. However, they are extremely easy to defeat without cover, and tend to be destroyed by the constant explosions anyway. So in effect, your castle becomes invulnerable.

BTW, a tip for getting to 901 archers: Stop adding masons somewhere around 100 masons. They stop being an effective defense. Focus almost entirely on your archers and some on your magic. (You'll need to improve your magic so that the spray can recharges faster. Faster recharge == more converts. ;)) Don't bother using suicide bombers, either. The horde will soon be sending so many bombers that you'll have no trouble blowing them up. And once you get the upgrade to the magic bomb, you'll be able to cause a few detonations without sacrificing your men.

sportymariosonichybr

#20

sportymariosonichybr said:

This game actually looks to have a slight edge over Lost Winds at the moment.

There seems to be much more replay value here, in which I would not mind playing 1/2 to 1 hour per day.

Also, the ability to save, will allow me to experience a much deeper part of the game, that I could never see on the PC version?

Can anyone confirm whether or not you were able to save and then restart on the level you lost on, in the PC version?

Also, at only $5, it should not be hard for Defend Your Castle to climb to 2.5 hours of gameplay.

Finally, it is a pretty unique style of gameplay, whereas the VC is loaded with platformers!

sailingtheseaoffools

#21

sailingtheseaoffools said:

It has more content somewhat improved better graphics, four player action.

It endlessly repeats. Honestly past level 50 unless you have friends over it's not worth playing an hour each day.

Platformers? Funny I thought it was said to be loaded with shumps and rpgs.

thewiirocks

#22

thewiirocks said:

@sportymariosonichybrid sez... Also, at only $5, it should not be hard for Defend Your Castle to climb to 2.5 hours of gameplay.

I've easily gotten 5+ hours out of the game already. And I haven't even touched multiplayer yet. :)

Kingston

#23

Kingston said:

I've been playing 2 player co-op (It get's crazy!) and I've gotten to stage 57. I have already played about 5 hrs and I could easily see myself playing for another 5. 9/10, especially because of the low price.

sportymariosonichybr

#24

sportymariosonichybr said:

"It endlessly repeats. Honestly past level 50 unless you have friends over it's not worth playing an hour each day."

Is that because it is not possible to win or because nothing changes past there?

And does anyone know how the save function operates?

Boringman54

#26

Boringman54 said:

It's the only WiiWare game I've downloaded so far and it's pretty awesome. I'm on level 30 right now.

Objection

#27

Objection said:

@Everyone who asked something in the last 5-odd posts
You save at the level you are ABOUT to begin, then go to the upgrade page. If you die, you may spend your points you earned and try again until you win and THEN you can save. After level 50, I don't think much is added, just slightly harder and your castle is amazingly tough with way too many people. I have played about 5-6 hours (mid to late 40s now) and 1-2 hrs multiplayer. Herioc is evil, BTW, or maybe it was just because my friend was a noob ;)
@wiirocks When does the magic bomb UPGRADE as you said? I have like 200 odd mages right now

thewiirocks

#28

thewiirocks said:

You should have the magic bomb already. 100 mages is all you need to upgrade your magic to include the bomb. Sadly, the bomb is the last bit o' magic you're going to get. :(

KnucklesSonic8

#31

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Great to hear for you guys.

XGen, I'm excited to hear about the other titles you plan to produce but rest-assured that if blood is involved, I'll be passing no matter how fun it is.

I'm glad you guys took the market into great consideration when you developed the project and for that I'm grateful.

Virus

#32

Virus said:

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but my money was better spent on this game than LostWinds. Sure, the gameplay isn't as deep and the sound and graphics aren't as good either, but DYC is more addictive than LostWinds and longer. I've barely even tried the multiplayer, but I've already chalked up four hours of gameplay, one hour more than my completed LostWinds game, and DYC is five bucks cheaper.

Yeah, DYC isn't mind-blowing or a must-have, but for five bucks and compared to its competition at the same price (NES, MS, and C64 for some), there's really no question whether this is a good buy or not. It's an awesome way to be introduced into the WiiWare world.

TRON

#33

TRON said:

For 5 bucks this game is hard to not recommend. It starts a bit slow (like the first 30 levels) but it has an addictive pick up and play quality. The creativity in the graphics is superb. it's just a flash game at heart, like the countless others you can play online for free, but you can play it on your couch, and it's obvious that they put the effort into upping the quality enough to justify the 500 points.

Objection

#34

Objection said:

I agree with the last posts. I haven't played this much after getting MLAAK but I still have 5-6 hrs. chalked up on my own and even got my Dad (who only liked Wii Sports) to play ahalf-hour of it. He laughed almost the whole time while bouncing the stick-figures off the walls until they plummetted. Thanks XGen :)

Jona

#36

Jona said:

dont even think bout gettin this game!!! 500 points ($5) is way 2 much 4 this game cuz u cud just play it on internet channel or on cumputer 4 free!!! (light comedic slap across face)

couthedman92

#37

couthedman92 said:

I agree w/ Kingston, co-op is awesome. Me and a friend just sat and did nothing but play DYC for 5+ hours and got past stage 60.
P.S. This game IS better than the computer version b/c of the co-op (glares at comment above :()

Quimby

#38

Quimby said:

@ Jona - how old are you? Reading you're comments makes my head hurt. I had to read this one several times as my brain refused to process it.
MayB it tym 2 4mat ur cumputa homes.

Twilight

#39

Twilight said:

@Jona- the internet version does not feel nearly as satisfying and deep as this game. and for only five dollars, where can you wrong. i got 5 hours and 39 levels in one day. Xgen, great game.

strade32

#41

strade32 said:

i am on level 50, and my castle is starting to get really good. i have almost 300 of each people for my upgrades. this game deserves at least an 8 as it provides hours of entertainment and is hard to get tired of.

strade32

#44

strade32 said:

yes i did. 4 hours it took. now i am invincible because i got 901 archers. you do not want to see how many people i have for my upgrades.

mr_niceguy

#45

mr_niceguy said:

MY GOD that is impessive strade32!! Now I want to go back and play DYC again, I got stuck somewhere in the 60's.

This game is definately better than the flash version, and that's saying something since nearly everyone in my DDP class(design and drawing for production,all you really need to know is that everyone has access to acomputer) got addicted to this game, once our teacher's dad died and we had a sub for 2 weeks, whom everyone convinced we had nothing else to do and to let us use the computer until the teacher was back from the funeral.

mr_niceguy

#46

mr_niceguy said:

Oh, and Objection_blaster, do you review for IGN, or do you just do reader reviews? Since it seems like you have more than a limited understanding of the game you are reviewing and have the ability to adjust your expectations based on the curcumstances, I'm guessing it's the latter.

Objection

#48

Objection said:

@MrNiceGuy
Why thank you. I am glad you enjoyed my review. No, I am a reader reviewer at IGN. I just started posting my reviews there. The reason they are thought out is because I have been writing for a very long time and I always play the game for a lengthy period of time before reviewing it. (Usually beating it first) Look for my review of My Life As A King on IGN very soon!

Objection

#50

Objection said:

@MrNiceGuy
My review is up (But not on IGN). Since I dont want to double-post, you can find the link at the wiiware-world FFCC:MLAAK review page under my comment there!

Faithful_Dragon

#51

Faithful_Dragon said:

I went against my better judgement and spent the 500 points on this game, to go about describing this game it's nothing new to the Defend your Castle series. I really wasn't expecting much so it didn't it hit me like a brick thrown through a glass window, what was disappointing was that the only thing that they added was demolitions, the overall design was different and enjoyably pleasant, using the Wii remote gave good control over what was being done and was easier than using a mouse. Around 6-8 hours of game play later I found that no matter what strategy I chose it seemed to get to the point of impossible around level 55 and just plain gave up after 5 tries. I can't help but fell that more should have been added, a way to purchase troops, more upgrades and a way to post your scores to give a chance to put your name up for all to see. nothing new but if your looking for some quick addicting fun, I'd recommend it.

mr_niceguy

#52

mr_niceguy said:

@objection_blaster

Very nice review. While there were parts that felt like an faq or a guide rather than a review, and a general statement about the game somewhere towards the beginning would have been helpful so the less-informed reader would've had a better understanding of what the game is about before they read the rather long review, it was otherwise a very informative and well written review.

strade32

#54

strade32 said:

@mr.niceguy and objecion_blaster- wow, for a second here i thought we were talking DYC, not some reader reviews on IGN. what was i thinking? :)

mr_niceguy

#55

mr_niceguy said:

@strade32

We were talking about DYC, we just happened to be talking about reader reviews at the same time.

Speaking of DYC, I was wrong, I was stuck on level 51, not 61-ish. Now I'm stuck in the 60's(or at least that's when I decided to stop). I also tried the heroic mode, and it kicked my arse! I only got to level 4! This game is really hard, even on co-op, though, the only time I did play co-op was at level 40, thinking starting from the beginning would be too boring(I didn't realize the game jacks up the difficulty when you play co-op), and basically convinced my brother to never play this game again.

Oh well, guess that's how the cookie crumbles, or something like that. I'm going to go doodle some comics and pretend that it's studying so I can play this game again undisturbed".

pApEr_y0sh

#56

pApEr_y0sh said:

the flash game is very fun. i play it a lot. is it worth it to get this game? i know its a little different, but does it really make it that much better?

strade32

#57

strade32 said:

the wiiware version is definately worth it. the online version is nothing compared to this one.

Objection

#59

Objection said:

@strade dont be annoying...the first review is one i wrote ABOUT DYC. Don't need to raise a trumpet if one thing connects to something else, even if something else isn't DYC. No wonder you are starting to tick some people off. :P

strade32

#60

strade32 said:

it was just a joke. i put smily faces to show that. but i can see how you would take that the wrong way, sorry.

Objection

#61

Objection said:

It seemed sarcastic raher than joking but alright, no hard feelings ;). Just that sometimes mods take that topic seriously...and i always make a point to stay on topic. :)

strade32

#62

strade32 said:

well, it was sarcasm but in a joking way. i didn't mean to offend you. i usually try to stay on topic too, but sometimes i stray away.

CanisWolfred

#63

CanisWolfred said:

Defend Your Castle is a suprising masterpiece if you ask me. It's simplicity draws you in and its hidden depth hooks you! An amazing achievement that is rare in this modern era of gaming. Bravo, XGEN Studios, bravo!

When I post, I generally try to be both on topic and off topic at the same time, so that way I can add to a mini-conversation, or try to start my own, while still adding to the overall topic. It's a great way for me to get everything I want to express in one post, even if some of it doesn't quite adhere to the topic.

Ricardo91

#65

Ricardo91 said:

First game I got from wiiware. It's fun to play in short bursts, but it can get boring in extended play sessions. I also don't like how this game doesn't have as many items to buy as the flash game original, which makes the game more boring in extended play sessions methinks. The 4-player co-op is also quite nice. A bargain at 500 points, though I wouldn't pay much more than that for it.

Plus, It's easier than playing the original game on the internet channel, which I tried :|.

PrimePrimid

#68

PrimePrimid said:

i read some of these posts, and i am really concedering buying it, however, if you have internet channel, you can just go to the site and play, it isn't as flashy, but it is still fun

calculon

#72

calculon said:

It looks like absolute garbage. But for 500 points, I'm sure plenty of people will buy it.

Objection

#73

Objection said:

@calculon Not at all. Give it a try. Its very addictive and has fun multiplayer. THATS why people are buying it. Its at #3 in N,A.

SepticLemon

#74

SepticLemon said:

Yeah, it's great fun, and IMO it's better than the flash version. I bought myself a whole load of games recently, Final Fantasy IV DS, Soul Calibur IV and Trauma Center 2, yet I seem to rack up more hours with Defend your Castle. I'm just that silly, lol.

Tate24

#75

Tate24 said:

i bought this game same time i got, my aquarium

ive manage to get to level 48, but now its becoming tricky, is it just me, but, my hand & wrist becomes sore with constant picking and throwing, its shame they didn't add little extra stuff, like more weapons and more options to ungrade your castle. But as it stands it cheap and fun and great when you get 4 people around helping out. I find i can only play it 4 couple of minutes, here and there though, maybe they bring sequel out with new ideas, more upgrade options or even online leader boards or, mode were you could fight castle to castle online and see who survive's. maybe???

vonboy

#76

vonboy said:

i decided to play the game again after not playing it for a few months, and i ended up playing it for 4 and a half hours lol. i lost my save data for it (stupid corrupt sd card >.<) so i started over, and i'm at around round 65 now, with 400 archers, 500 mages, and about 350 stonemasons. it's getting really hectic now in the game. if i was to stop doing anything, i would probably be dead in about 10 seconds 0.0.

overall, it's still fun, even after a few months of leaving it to collect dusts.

elvatosabio

#77

elvatosabio said:

It's a good game to play for a few minutes... Although the first time you play you'll probably be hooked for more than an hour. It has some cool easter eggs. But I don't like the fact of unlimited levels... I need to pass the game :D

Namo

#78

Namo said:

Now all XGen needs to do is make Stick-Arena Wii (with online play, mind you.)

CaptainDingo

#80

CaptainDingo said:

I really enjoyed this game. It was the first WiiWare title I got.

The only problem I had with it was that the unlimited levels thing was very poorly implemented. After a while, I had so many archers that I could literally start playing a level, go to make a sandwich, come back and win. I did this for like 10 levels. Start the level, leave the room, and win without any input from me whatsoever. :P

But to get to that point in the first place, you do have to sink a good 10 hours in.

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