Cartoony graphics, princesses to save and weird castles full of strange humour, it can only be Castle Crashers. Castle Crashers was one of the first highlights of digital distribution on console when it arrived on Xbox 360 and brought its developer into that generation. And it seems, Castle Crashers will be their loyal vanguard once again, pushing The Behemoth into new territory, this time on Xbox One.
The Behemoth became famous for Alien Hominid, a fast paced side scrolling and rather wacky adventure with aliens. The next title, Castle Crashers solidified that they were very good at fast paced side scrolling adventures. But this time with swords!
Castle Crashers Remastered brings the familiar blend of humour, action and manic terror to the Xbox One. But can its trademarked style hold interest for the newest generation of console? It’s certainly been a while since we done our rectangular helmets and went off to save some princesses. The Behemoth even released another game since then. There has been more of a shift to the gritty in terms of melee recently, and Castle Crashers is anything but.
The short answer, is that Castle Crasher is almost timeless. It’s intense, weighty combat is deliously moreish, while the comedy is well performed despite the lack of dialogue, with some surprisingly witty asides hidden amongst the poo jokes. Every aspect of the game, no matter how seemingly epic, is a parody of itself. Even the characters you choose are amusing, with your standard selection of fire, lightning or poison powers intermingled with rainbow magic and exploding penguins.
Enemies will close on these less then humble little knight from all sides, in a variety of shapes and sizes, almost always ridiculous. Vanquishing a foe requires jumping around, grappling and flailing in their general direction. Its equal parts satisfying and comedic. It’s ingenious the way that these two mechanics blend so well together. At any early stage of the game, one or two enemies pose a challenge, towards the end you’ll be lost in an ocean of decapitated heads, swinging swords and exploding magic.
The boss fights are equally surprising, with their appearance and mechanics never overlapping. Although the first you’ll encounter might seem fairly standard for a fantasy world, a giant thundering barbarian, the cast quickly expands. Sometimes you’ll fight a panda riding a giant catfish, or a UFO that spawns some familiar faces.
You might find yourself dying more than once against these unfathomable creatures, or their minions, but that all adds to the addiction of the game. It is not easy at first, and you’ll have to replay some sections of the game dozens of times. The addiction is that you are always improving, and not just stergatically (because honestly, you won’t be doing much of that). Every time you level up in the game, you’ll keep that level, even if you don’t make it to the end. These buffs can be spent on increasing your strength, speed, defence or magic, and each makes replaying a little bit more manageable. You’ll never get frustrating failing, just more determined to push through the next time.
It is of course easier with a friend or two by your side. Although the battle scenes only become more confusing, an element of team work can turn a suicide mission into a success. A fallen knight can be revived with some good olde time CPR, meaning you only need one soldier to keep the fight going. Castle Crashers Remasters continues the delightful tradition from the orginial as well that makes multiplayer so much more entertaining. As you are a knight fighting to save a princess from her captors, you naturally expect a kiss at the end, but as only one knight can take the kiss, you’ll enter a pitted battle to the death with your former allies. This happens every time a princess is captured, and encourages players to compete, levelling as much as possible while friends to have the edge when enemies.
There’s also an arena mode to fight from the beginning, but the artificial inclusion doesn’t match the heady amusement of the story.
That being said, some of the story section includes passages that are different from the norm. Whether you’re swimming up a bat infested river, escaping a beast made of shadows on deerback, or fighting ninja pirates, Castle Crashers keeps the game fresh with its clever use of variety. This, in turn with the sheer scale of collections and secrets to be fond will keep you coming back time and again, using any excuse to continue the game.
Castle Crashers Remastered brings some of the joyful, colourful madness that can sometimes feel a little un exploited recently. If you enjoy a silly, simple extremely fun experience Castle Crashers Remastered is for you. If you’ve never played it, there has never been a better chance to jump in. And if you have played it before, how much can you really remember? It might be worth the slightly crisper version, just to experience it all over again.
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