(Wii U eShop)

CastleStorm (Wii U eShop)

Game Review

CastleStorm Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Lee Meyer

Always in another castle

Zen Studios, known mostly for its pinball titles, has created a promising new IP in CastleStorm, a tower defence / real-time strategy game with easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master gameplay and a tongue-in-cheek story filled with humour and personality. Playing a bit like a hybrid of Swords & Soldiers and Angry Birds, it's often a hectic and frenzied experience, but it remains addictive throughout. With a good amount of customisation and player choice, too, this is a meaty, fun adventure that is only occasionally brought down by finicky controls.

CaslteStorm's story is simple, silly, and filled with intentional cliché. Players are cast as the hero of a kingdom that is besieged with attacks from the Vikings, after a special stone that kept the peace between the warring kingdoms disappears. The hero is in charge of the knights, wizards and other units, as well as a ballista that is used to throw objects at the opponent's stronghold or castle. The ballista is this game's defining feature, and a very clever one at that; with a physics system that resembles that of Angry Birds, players will watch with glee as the enemy castle slowly — and sometimes rapidly and suddenly — crumbles to the ground as the war rages on the battlefield. While manning the ballista, players are tasked with deploying various troops to fight incoming enemies, infiltrate the enemy stronghold and capture the flag.

Multitasking the ballista and various troops can be quite challenging, as the 2D playing field is rather large; there were various moments when we were following the troops as they attacked the enemy stronghold, not realizing that the enemy ballista had just taken out a large portion of our castle. Fortunately, the camera can be zoomed in and out and the entire stage can be viewed at any time, which and eventually you can adapt. It takes some time to get the hang of the many different tasks to manage during each stage, but once mastered, winning becomes very satisfying.

The controls are fairly straightforward, but the ballista can be a bit finicky. Using the analogue stick for the ballista tended to cause some frustration early on, with imprecise, loose aiming, but it became easier as the campaign progressed. Combine that with using the GamePad's buttons to deploy troops, while dragging the camera with the touch screen, and things can quickly get frantic.

Luckily, there are several side missions that will help players hone their skills. The side missions also provide the player with gold to level up troops and customise their castle. CastleStorm offers a lot of options when it comes to fortifying your castle and making it as destruction-proof as possible. The castle editor — for setting the up your fort pre-battle - is easy to use and intuitive, but for those that would rather rush into battle there are plenty of pre-made castle formations with different attributes and strengths.

The game employs a smooth 3D visual style with no slowdown to be found, but the audio is a bit of a let-down. The music doesn't match the game's irreverent and wacky tone; it sounds more like generic elevator music. There's no real voice acting during the campaign, and the troops' various rallying cries and shout-outs are funny, but grow repetitive. Still, the sound design is by no means unpleasant — it just doesn't take the experience as far as it could.

In addition to the main campaign, there are several other modes, including a versus mode that can be played online or against the CPU. An interesting, if novel mode involves one player manning the ballista while the other controls a hero on the battlefield. These modes are fun, as long as there are players online — we didn't have trouble with finding matches for this review, and were very pleased not to find any lag in the experience. And a great bonus to the multiplayer modes? The gold carries over into the main campaign, allowing you to get ahead earlier!


With a lengthy campaign, lots of customisation and plenty of variety, CastleStorm is a strong eShop title. There is a bit of a learning curve for the controls, and the presentation doesn't go as far as it could, but the satisfaction of taking down opposing castles make this frantic experience worthwhile. If you like strategy, tower defence, or even physics-based puzzlers and action games, CastleStorm is highly recommended.

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User Comments (39)



cfgk24 said:

I actually thought it deserved a 9! Considering the amount of quality content for the price and I just can't stop laughing when I play it lol . . . .



Nintenjoe64 said:

@cfgk24 I agree, it's almost far too comprehensive and good to be a budget title.

This game is brilliant. If you like Worms, Angry Birds or any Castle Defence games you will probably like this game. It's fairly comprehensive in content (amazingly so for a £9 indie game) and never feels unbalanced by its numerous castle and weapon types.



PinkSpider said:

Analogue controls are very twitchy they need to be updated I play using the stylus and touch screen it's so much easier but a pain coz I want to play on my tv ... Hopefully they will patch it



rjejr said:

Played the demo on PS3 and enjoyed it but feared the castle customization would get in the way of my having a good time, and it was a bit confusing. Swords & Soldiers is 1 of my favorite all time games though so I'll probably end up getting this. It is quirky though so I can imagine it not selling well and getting it w/ PS+. Or a $5 sale. Not like I'm in any rush I'm buried under games at the moment.



ULTRA-64 said:

@retro_player_22 you look familiar???

Game looks good, but this review was so so. Says nothing regarding a great range of local multiplayer options, game play when fighting hand to hand......ive been waiting for this for ages and had to go elsewhere for details, normally the NL review is the definitive one.



leemeyer26 said:

@ULTRA-64 Sorry you felt that way. I like to focus on what is most noticeable (whether it be positive or negative); thanks for your feedback, I will keep that in mind in the future.



ricklongo said:

Been waiting for this! This is gonna be my game of choice to.hold the gap between when I finish AC Black Flag and the release of DKC Tropical Freeze.



ULTRA-64 said:

@leemeyer26 don't worry man the review was fine, I was waiting for this to hear about a few things particularly important to me is all. I was being a bit petty out of frustration.



Pichubby said:

Love this, so nice and easy to play. Just wish Classic pro worked with it so I could play multiplayer.



nf_2 said:

"Fortunately, the camera can be zoomed in and out and the entire stage can be viewed at any time, which and eventually you can adapt."

I might just not be reading this correctly, but it seems like there's something wrong with this sentence (3rd paragraph).

This review otherwise has convinced me to pick this up. I'm always cautious with e-shop titles, but this one has been on my radar for a while. I'm glad people are enjoying it, and once I get caught up on my catalog some I will be enjoying it as well.



Emblem said:

@rjejr Don't let that put you off its very straightforward and you can pick from pre-built castles as well. This is very good game and the Wii U version is the best due to the off screen multi-player. I hope the dlc comes to Eshop soon as i'm eager to pick it up.

I even double dipped and got the complete edition currently on sale in steam to play with my steam friends online.



Anguspuss said:

played this to death since I got it at christmas(well when eshop eventually allowed me).
Only got two missions left to get 5 stars then its completed. But a great game



gage_wolf said:

Looks pretty cool, but man the art direction stinks! Pretty bored with this generic World of Warcraft art style that a lot of games are adopting. To clarify, I'm not saying it needs to look realistic, but a unique art style, that's not just relegated to art-house games, would be nice from time to time!



rjejr said:

@Emblem - " the Wii U version is the best due to the off screen multi-player."

Must have missed that part in the review, I didn't even know it had multiplayer, thanks.

Reread the review, is multiplayer online only? We don't really play any online games in our house. Or is it offline but co-op only, no vs? Sorry to bother you but you seem like you know what you're talking about, and my kids LOVED offline vs. in Swords & Soldiers and 1 is a big Angry Birds fan as well.



16bitdave said:

Looks like a more grown up approach to Angry Birds, which I don't mind. I might have to get this one.



FineLerv said:

One thing that annoys me about Zen is that they ONLY support the pro controller, not the classic controller pro.



FineLerv said:

@rjejr It's offline versus as well. Couldn't get it to work (as I don't have a ProController) but the option is there, at least!



Emblem said:

@rjejr It's offline & online, i've been playing local mainly but online is fun too. Multiplayer modes are as follows:

Versus - Both have castles, troops & heros and fight each other to death. (Very fun mode, having own screen is awesome here.)

Co-op Survival - One player controls castle & troops while the other controls a hero and try to survive as long as possible. (Most played mode in my house, lots of teamwork and laughs to be had here.)

Hero Survival - You both control heroes and kill wave after wave of men. (Good in small bursts but it gets repetitive so i only play it once in a while.)



unrandomsam said:

Cannot see what makes it worth double its price right now on Steam (including all the DLC).

I think the price should be the same regardless of platform (I bought Gunman Clive again and haven't yet played it because I like the principle).



StarDust4Ever said:

I downloaded this the other night but haven't played it yet. I'm glad to see it get a good review as I based my purchase solely off the trailer video (sometimes that can be a risky bet).



defrb said:

Good stuff, good to see a second strong release from zen studio's!



aronatvw said:

This game is well worth the money. I paid 10 bucks and its just as polished as a title like trine that was 20 for a while but seems to have a lot more replay value. I have been loving the game, it's just a great idea, if you like castle defense games but get bored of them easily then this is your game for its that extra push to keep things interesting. My two gripes.

1) Only supports pro controller for multiplayer, cant tell you how much that sucks. Plus they are not taking advantage of one of WiiU's biggest advantages, the fricken wiimote!

2) I find it a pain saving your castle each time you customize it. They should have made the saving process a little more sleak and also explain the castle building process more early on in the game.



placidcasual said:

I thought it was a good review, it's got a nice quirky style to it. A summary is at the start which you rarely see but it works well and its actually a rather good idea.



xxAcesHighxx said:

I enjoyed CastleStorm so much that I bought it twice! Once on my Wii U and another for my Vita. And I'm jolly glad that I did too! Awesome downloadable - don't be fooled by the Angry Birds(ish) mechanics, CastleStore is soooooo much more than a slingshot shooter



ACK said:

CastleStorm should really be commended for it's excellent Wii U local multi. It is a bit of a bummer that more controllers aren't supported (especially the Wiimote+Nunchuk), but it's well worth searching out a deal on at least one Pro controller (one player uses the GamePad). It's an indispensable controlled regardless of need.

Anyway, I'm thrilled that Zen Studios went the extra mile and included dual screen multi support. It's pretty much the only way I was going to find much time to play a game like this.

And please don't compare it to Angry Birds... It's about demolishing castles. Not every destructive physics-based game needs to be compared to that mobile 2D ripoff of Boom Blox. Considering all CastleStorm's nuances, it's hardly a relevant comparison. Actually it's just lazy.



SetupDisk said:

I think the best way to describe it is a 2-D version of all the best parts of Warcraft 3.



rjejr said:

@unrandomsam - "Cannot see what makes it worth double its price right now on Steam"

Doube sounds ok - $5 - $10 to play on my 52" tv and Gamepad simultaneously o rmultiplayer rather than on my 19" PC screen. And offline multiplayer always sucks on PC in my kitchen. And I think every game ever made is more expensive on cosnole sthan on Steam, probbaly soemthign to do w/ how much money th game developers haev to pay Sony, Nintneod and Microsoft over Valve. Though 1 player games I ususally do gt on sale on Steam but Iwouldn t buy a game like this for 1 player.

@Emblem - Thanks alot, seems like a must own for us.



rjejr said:

@FineLerv - We have a non official Pro controller, now I'm curious. I was blaming the faux Pro for freezing Lego Marvel all the time but apparently that happens on PS3 and Xbox360 as well.

Here's the 1 we have, it was $12.80 at the time. It worked in SM3DW and W101. If it works in MK8 adn SSB I will hav eway more than gotten my moneis worth. It actually feels really good.




Agent721 said:

This is a great game at bargain price! It's way more in depth than angry birds & the castle building part is very cool.9/10 for me.

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