Developer: Zynga
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.3.20
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

The latest in an increasingly long string of names ending with -Ville, CastleVille Legends is a fairly solid example of the free-to-play building sim genre, even if that does mean it’s occasionally heavy-handed with the timers.

castlevillelegends5The fairly loose storyline is centered around the need to rebuild a medieval realm after an evil wizard cursed it. Fortunately help is on hand courtesy of the heroes that aid the player in figuring out what to do next. A quest-based structure features prominently here, guiding players towards certain objectives, while also helping the realm flourish. Unlike other building sims, CastleVille Legends has a story element to it rather than just leaving players to their own devices after they’ve completed the tutorial.

The general idea is the same, though. Players acquire raw materials such as wood and apples by swiping and tapping at the relevant items, before putting them towards more significant items. Applesauce and milk play a vital role early on, for instance, in terms of completing quests and raising funds. More originally, one can explore various ancient ruins to collect valuable treasures. Much like the rest of the game, this is dependent on timers and waiting to see what’s discovered, but it’s a more interesting touch than simply watching things be built.

Player-to-player trading finally arrives for the genre too, offering the means in which to earn even more money. It’s a little limited in terms of who’s available to trade with, but it’s quite the step forward for the genre. There’s always the option to trade with an in-game merchant too, for a quick buck.

castlevillelegends1There is one significant shortcoming amongst all this, and it’s a familiar one. The timers that dictate what one can do at any one time are pretty strict. It’s only a short time before CastleVille Legends turns into a game that must be dipped into every 20-30 minutes or more, rather than played for a decent length of time in one go. It’s a common quandary for the genre but it does grate a little here, much the same as the fact that certain heroes are bound to be out of reach to all but those willing to spend real money to check them out.

Still, CastleVille Legends is a pretty decent example of the genre, just don’t expect it to be overly generous time or premium currency wise. Underneath some sensible moves it’s still the typical timer-laden freemium fest we’re used to.


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