CastleStorm was developed by Zen Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released May 29, 2013 for 800 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
In CastleStorm you’ll sometimes shoot sheep. Out of a ballista. Into a castle. It’s made possible by a unique propulsion technique: rainbow excrement. Zen Studios’ CastleStorm is obviously not a game that takes itself seriously. It has a story, but it’s intentionally dumb. There are blue guys. There are red guys. The red guys steal a shiny object of immense power from the blue guys, and the blue guys, somewhat reluctantly, go to war in an attempt to retrieve it. Cutscenes filled with overtly cheesy and occasionally humorous jokes frequently interrupt the tower-defense-meets-Angry-Birds gameplay, but the joy of launching projectiles, which are only occasionally weaponized beasts, out of your ballista and towards enemy castles and opposing forces marching on your own castle will keep you coming back for more.
Here’s what we liked:
Plenty of options – At first, CastleStorm will seem simple to a fault. You have a castle. The enemy has a castle. You have a ballista. The enemy has a ballista. You have soldiers. The enemy has soldiers. It’s a feeling that quickly evaporates as you progress through the campaign and unlock an impressive variety of unit types, ballista projectiles, magic spells, castles — including those you build yourself — and upgrades. Though you will encounter the occasional mission objective that changes things up a bit, most levels involve you defending your castle and flag while electing to either capture the enemy’s flag or tear their castle down to its foundation. Thanks to the numerous tools of destruction at your disposal and those employed by the enemy, this formula never gets old. It’s challenging and satisfying to implant arrows in troops’ heads, crash down gates with flying quadrupeds and blow castle rooms to smithereens with bombs. Good thing, too, because success in later levels is achieved only by nimbly managing your war assets. Fail to do so, and you’ll be overwhelmed as the no man’s land between the safety of the opposing castle gates quickly becomes the enemy’s land.