Back in 2013 Zen Studios released a unique tower defense game called Castlestorm. Originally released on the Xbox 360 with a subsequent release on basically every other system sense then, Castlestorm offered a unique and fresh take on the genre. Fast forward to 2018 and this gem of a title has found its way onto one of the most beloved mobile/console hybrid systems, the Nintendo Switch.
As the game was praised back when it first released for its original take on the genre, fun quirky story and great skirmish and multiplayer modes, the focus here will be just how well the game translates to its new home on the Switch. So grab that coffee, kick back and check out the Gamespace review of Castlestorm for Nintendo Switch.
For those that never played the title when it first released (also why not? it’s great!) here’s a quick history lesson. Basically after many years of peace two kingdoms are at war and you’re tasked with defending your kingdom whilst decimating the enemy. There is actually a surprising amount of backstory to a game that essentially boils down to build awesome defenses and destroy the enemy all of which can be found over on the official Wiki page.
Regardless, the story follows Sir Gareth as he works to defend his kingdom for the sake of honor and gold. Taking on the title character the player works through of a series of progressively harder missions until you claim final victory over the enemy. The basic story is fun, quirky and doesn’t take itself too seriously making for an enjoyable and humorous experience for the player.
Combat is essentially broken down into three aspects. The first is troops which can be sent out to auto-engage enemies. Through a series of upgrades they become progressively stronger and as the missions move along you will unlock new and interesting troops to work with. The second aspect is the Ballista which gives you direct control over a massive crossbow that can be used to shoot incoming enemies. As with the troops upgrades and new types of ammo can be purchased and upgraded as the game progresses. The final is spells. This last aspect is interesting as in some cases it allows you to summon a hero to a the fight which gives you direct control over a character on the battlefield for a set amount of time. All three aspects work together exceptionally well allowing for some smooth gameplay.
Speaking of gameplay let’s talk controls. The joy cons on the Switch work fairly well for handling the massive amount of abilities you have to manage during your gameplay. Each button, X, Y, and A, control one of the aforementioned aspects of combat with the bumpers allowing you to switch between each of the abilities you have on your bar. Its a quick, simple way to manage a fairly complex system of deployment. The game also does a great job at walking you through the systems easing you into the whole experience without making you feel overwhelmed.
Progression is directly linked to the three aspects of combat and is joined by a fourth. This last one is related to the castle defenses itself. Much like the other aspects of combat, you can put points and gold into upgrading the castle itself giving you one more way to defend your home for those pesky invaders.
My only real frustration with the game comes back to a key issue I have with the Switch in general. Controlling the Ballista aim is assigned to the left analog stick which works fine except for the game that the Switch analog sticks just aren’t that great. The movement feels a bit sluggish and as a result precision shots are a bit difficult to manage. Not a deal breaker by any stretch but it is something that can be annoying when overwhelmed by enemies.
The other thing to be aware of with Castlestorm is that it gets repetitive quickly. Arguably this is the nature of the genre and Zen Studios works hard to keep the story elements engaging and funny to help with this but at the end of the day, it’s still repetitive.