Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Reminiscent of the tower building freemium fun that can be had from titles such as Tiny Tower, Castle Champions manages to stand on its own two feet, offering just enough variety to feel original. It still suffers from that eventual plateau where one can't help but wonder what's the point, though.
The main unique selling point behind Castle Champions is its RPG style elements. The game isn't just about building the best castle ever, it's also about defeating various opponents in a league of castle battles. This adds some much needed structure to proceedings, even though it is ultimately the same thing, over and over again. Starting out with a small castle of only two rooms, players must decide whether to concentrate on building up their forces or earning more money via constructing residential areas and enticing new citizens to the castle. In reality, a combination of both tactics is needed for real success.
At first, things are a little slow going and battles can prove hard to win, but it's not long before everything gels together. The battles themselves are relatively restrictive, although players can arrange formations how they wish as well as activate a special attack. Forces are built from a combination of regular troops and special heroes that can be acquired through the spending of crystals. These crystals forming part of the rarer side of Castle Champions's currency.
Like most freemium titles, Castle Champions relies a lot upon currency, enticing players to spend real money to speed things up. Coins are relatively easily earned, through the constant work of the castle's citizens and the completion of missions, but crystals are harder to come by. Also, to be promoted to a better league of battles, a large sum of money is needed which immediately made me want to hit the in-app purchase button just to skip ahead.
There are timers for everything, too, each able to speed up the progress of new buildings or restocking of provisions. Unlike other titles, most of these timers don't decrease outside of the game but, fortunately, they're rarely too long. Only those missions involving sending warriors out to complete quests take any length of time and these can be completed outside of the game.
Castle Champions keeps a steady trickle of new content, with new types of buildings such as restaurants and bakeries proving just as vital as a new mage guild or smithy. It does hit an eventual kind of paywall, thanks to the aforementioned need to amass a large amount of coins to progress up a league (and unlock new castle floors) but it's possible to keep grinding instead.
The main thing that's likely to happen is coming to the realisation that Castle Champions doesn't truly evolve. It might feel like it does but in actuality, it's just a facade, albeit an enjoyable one for those who like to see their projects grow. Ultimately, Castle Champions feels much more suited to an entirely freemium model of play, rather than charging $0.99 from the outset.