If you was to combined tower defense with the formula of Angry Birds, you'd probably get something like Caslestorm. Developed by Zen Studios, CastleStorm is a charming, simplistic and addictive 2.5D strategy game. Set in a cartoonish medieval world, you take the role of a knight, named Sir Gareth. He's an all-round good guy, tasked in defending his Kingdom's castle from the raging vikings. A precious jewel is stolen by the Vikings, and it's up to Gareth to retrieve it. The story is told with text-based dialogue, providing a silly light-hearted tone. It never takes it's self too seriously, but that's part of the fun. The story blends in well with the levels, and it does a good job in teaching you the controls along the way.
CastleStorm borrows many tricks from other 2D strategy games. At it's core, the game plays as a tower defense/offense. Levels are won by demolishing your enemies castle, or stealing their flag - which goes the same for the opposing side. Your primary weapon is the ballista. This is capable of firing different types of projectiles. You begin with simple weapons, such as spears. Eventually, you can fling boulders, explosive apples, sheep and wild boars, (which can fart mid-air for extra boost) Destruction is all physics-based, so the castles substructures collapse realistically. It looks great, and it's probably the most enjoyable aspect of the game.
Along with your ballista, ground troops can be sent onto the battlefield. Each of them require a set amount of food - which regenerates over time. You begin with cheap and weaker allies, such as swordsmen and archers. Later levels allow you to send in griffins, dragons, bear riders and more. As you send in troops, they will automatically defeat ground enemies, break down the castle gate, and go for the flag. This is the easiest way to win, but destroying the enemy castle with the ballista is a more fun and satisfying experience.
Special abilities can also be performed. From lightning strikes, to ice blocks (which freezes enemies momentarily) You can even take control of an Hero, such as Gareth. This has you entering the battlefield in real-time, providing an hack-n-slash aspect. You only have two special attacks, but they are extremely powerful. It's nothing spectacular, but it's a nice little feature that mixes up the gameplay. Every troop, special ability and projectile has their own cooldown rate. Some take longer than others, but you never find yourself waiting ages for some form of attack. There's always plenty to do which keeps the action flowing.
One of the coolest features in CastleStorm is the ability to create your own castle. Using a controller-friendly editing tool, you can change the design of rooms and where to place them. Rooms can provide special bonuses. For example, you could receiving extra gold, recharge your skill shots faster, increase your troops damage, etc. If a room is completely demolished, you will lose the benefit of that room, which can provide a big advantage for your opponent.
On the visual side, CastleStorm looks beautiful when viewed on a 2D angle. The backdrops are bursting with vibrant colours, providing sharp high-def textures. It looks less attractive when in cutscenes, but it's still a nice looking game nevertheless.
CastleStorm is an attractive, charming and addictive strategy game. At 800MP you get a very affordable package. There's an addictive campaign, Skirmish mode and a multiplayer
offering. There's lots of fun to be had, providing one of the most enjoyable strategy games this year.