Castle Champions Review
In a land of liege lords, the one with the best strategic mind wins. You have to manage your castle, organize your troops, and earn your keep. There are farm animals to feed, subjects to oppress, and the constant threat of invasion. Juggling everything can become exhausting. The new game Castle Champions smashes together the tower building and strategy RPG genres. An interesting combination to be sure, but will the game make you feel like you’re sitting atop a throne or just exhausted on a dirty sofa? Lets take a look shall we?
The heart of Castle Champions is the combination of genres that make it somewhat unique. Building up your castle while at the same time managing a team of heroes to fight in skirmishes with the local beasts and lords requires two types of challenging thinking. It is a test of how well you cope on a mental balancing beam.
The castle construction part of Castle Champions is much like any other tower building game. You build rooms with different functions and earn a living from attracting little sprites to populate your budding keep. They all have different needs and you need to keep up expansion to ensure their comfort, happiness, and open wallets.
The strategy RPG part of the game comes into play when you’re defending your denizens from orc invasions and fighting grand battles with local lords. Through the menu system, you have to manage your little team of heroes. Then, when the time comes, literally, you get to unleash them on your foes. In regular intervals, you’re thrust into battle. You then get to watch your warriors beat the living hell out of the other team of marauding villains.
The cartoony design of Castle Champions lends a bit of charm to the somewhat schizophrenic gameplay. The large headed people running round your castle are entertaining to watch and the assortment of invading orcs who pop into different rooms of your building are easy to pick out of the crowd. The menus are all pretty clear and concise, directing you to where you need to get to for upgrades and quests for your hero.
The largest problem with the game is the multiple-personality disorder. It feels like two different games have been butted up against one another with a bit of slight feathering in between to try and smooth over the edges. The tower building mechanic is fun and has a decent bit of depth, but when paired with the strategy RPG that is basically run through menus, it feels a bit wrong. You don’t get a sense that your fingers actually do anything. You tap your way through a bunch of menus to get to the battle screen and from there you watch your decisions pan out with little input from you. It all feels disconnected. You eventually get the feeling that you’re not needed at all and this little castle would be better off without someone bumbling through a bunch of menus.
While Castle Champions is an interesting concept, each aspect of its gameplay detracts from the other. In this combination, the differences in gameplay are all too evident and jarring when you go from one to the other. That isn’t to say that you can't combine tower building and strategy RPG, but Castle Champions isn’t it. This game would have been better off being split into two fully formed titles, each with more direct control and expanded scope and scale.
This game might appeal to a middle manager who likes giving orders and never actually does anything himself. You get to watch the action while kicking back in your corner office playing Pac-Man. For the rest of us looking for a more hands on experience, Castle Champions is more tiring than building a castle out of real stone.