Classification: PG (Mild battle violence)
Xbox Live Arcade users must be really enjoying their gaming at the moment. The high calibre of inexpensive games we’ve seen recently on XBLA has been a pleasant surprise, and Castle Crashers is no exception. With basic cartoon animations that really come to life, Castle Crashers may look simple, but is well worth the money and time you’ll spend playing it.
The name of the game is simply to hack as many enemies to pieces as you can. You choose a hero to play (from a selection of knights) and then choose your game type – either Arena, All You Can Quaff or the full Campaign mode, which brings together various elements of role-playing such as the use of magic, weapons, upgrades and skill points. Whilst the Campaign is designed to be the place where you’ll spend most of your time, the mini-games are a great way to take a break. The Arena mini-game is simply your knight pitted against various opponents and All You Can Quaff is a button-masher's dream where you must consume as much food as possible within a certain time frame.
The Campaign mode offers surprisingly extensive depth. Although the gameplay is straight up and down (you follow a path and attempt to beat all the bad guys), the additional elements such as upgrading your weapons, discovering treasure and increasing your skill points really give it an unexpected degree of complexity. By acquiring experience points to upskill your knight, you can advance in the game and, hopefully, save the day. If Castle Crashers was purely ‘hack and slash’, you’d probably be bored within an hour or two, but it has the staying power well worth the 1200 Microsoft Points you’ll spend on it.