Do you like tower defense games? Because this isn’t one. Krinkle Krusher, while by no means a serious game, claims to belong to this genre, with a formula consisting of endless waves of differing enemies throwing themselves against your defences.
The game’s story is minimal, acting only as context for your many battles and providing a backdrop for the few characters to exist in. The heroes of the story are a wizard and his magical floating glove, although the wizard’s role in the gameplay is unclear as he seems to do little other than stride left and right at the back of the level while the glove does all the work. The premise is that a magical tree has been used to create a cake, the alluring aroma of which has attracted hordes of comical baddies called Krinkles to the city. They come in all shapes and sizes, with each carrying its own strengths and weaknesses.
Now, unlike most games like this, you don’t place stationary automated defences to protect your fortress. Instead, you control the mystical flying glove that’s able to cast a multitude of elemental spells. As with most games it starts out easy enough, teaching you the basic mechanics and introducing you to only a couple of spells. However, the main problem with the game soon rears its ugly head and makes you question whether to continue your journey. The difficulty spikes very quickly, as you suddenly find yourself facing a much large number of enemies and currently with no way of upgrading your spells. While this is frustrating, it doesn’t last long as you soon beat the troublesome levels and start to accumulate the blue gems which allow you to upgrade your arsenal.
This is when the game becomes more satisfying; at around the same time you are given more spells to play with and can begin to learn how to combine their effects to your advantage. The game then becomes a juggling exercise, as you use each spell until its cooldown begins before bouncing to another one and targeting enemies you know are weak to it. In this way the game can be quite tactical, particularly when other mechanics are introduced such as a cursed moon on night levels which prevents you from casting certain spells, and bosses who have their own set of spells and abilities which you must learn to counter through trial and error.
The fact that your hand isn’t held throughout the experience is quite liberating; you have to figure out how most enemies work and how best to beat them from your own mistakes, and this does make the game as a whole more satisfying. Replayability is a key factor too, as each stage carries a three-star ranking system as well as a “flawless victory” badge which you can earn, which grants you more blue gems to use to unlock better versions of your spells. This is helpful later in the game when you reach a stage you simply can’t beat, and can go back to earlier levels that you haven’t yet mastered to improve your spells.
Since the game has been designed with handheld consoles in mind, there is the danger that when playing it on an Xbox One it can become slightly repetitive. However, the game can be finished in a good few hours if you’re good enough at it so doesn’t really feel like it overstays its welcome. It’s also true that there is an audience of gamers who enjoy nothing more than the repetitive, grinding nature of some games, and that side of this title may appeal to them. That said, it’s probably best for fans of storytelling and deep, immersive games not to get involved with Krinkle Krusher. Another aspect that suffers in the transition from handheld to home consoles is the visuals. Graphically, the game falters slightly and looks fairly dated, however this may also be down to the Indie nature of the Brazilian-based developer.
The game’s audio is serviceable, with a light-hearted and upbeat soundtrack that can eventually become quite irritating, along with a set of sound effects that work well with what’s happening on the screen. The game also features two voices for the glove and the wizard, which isn’t always expected in games of this calibre who cannot always provide the funds for voice actors.
Krinkle Krusher does exactly what it says on the tin. It calls itself a tower defense game, and although there aren’t any towers there’s plenty of defense. If you’re interested in playing it just don’t go in expecting too much, as what you get in the package is perhaps a four/five hour romp with a formula similar to that of many mobile games but with slightly more depth to it. You’ll be intrigued, then frustrated, then addicted, and then eventually glad it’s over.
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