App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Foursaken Media has a pretty impressive track record when it comes to their games. They have a fairly diverse and impressive portfolio, but as far as I’m concerned strategic castle defense-style games are their forte. Heroes and Castles does a good job of proving that theory.
A castle is besieged by hordes of undead monsters and it’s up to a trio of heroes to stop them. Each of the three playable characters (Knight, Paladin, Engineer) will have to scramble around the battlefield slaying skeletons and other horrible creatures while they also construct special defensive buildings, repair damaged walls, and hire special units to aid in the keep’s protection. Experience earned through slaying enemies and gems acquired after completing a stage allow players to tweak their selected character’s stats and special skills as well as upgrade their units and ramparts. Of course none of that makes much of a difference if they don’t use their gold (and battle prowess) wisely.
All three of the playable heroes caters to a different playstyle, giving Heroes and Castles a fair shot at pleasing a range of iOS gamers. The knight emphasizes direct damage and speed, the paladin specializes in crowd control and unit management, and the engineer focuses mostly on structures. Each of them feels totally different on the field and requires a different strategy to make the most of. The structure and unit upgrades between levels give players an even greater chance to customize their specializations. It’s also impressive just how much of an impact different strategies can have on a single game. One particular level utterly trounced me at first, but I came at it from a different angle (hunting down the longbow skeletons) and succeeded in short order. Mostly, though, it’s just fun to tear through the enemy ranks.
The buttons and virtual stick are a little tiny on the iPhone’s screen and it’s easy to miss them, but the occasional control slip-up is never significant enough to impact anyone’s results. I was a little more disappointed with the explanation of character upgrades. There’s a decent amount of detail in the pop-up help screens but they either gloss over the steps necessary to learn character-specific special skills or they don’t go into quite enough detail. Either way it took me quite a while before realizing that I needed to use two of my skill points (earned through leveling) to learn a new ability.
Heroes and Castles is quite possibly Foursaken Media’s most refined strategy title yet, and I personally find it to be their most entertaining. It’s still a little rough around the edges in a few places but it’s full of enough upgrades and unlocks (not to mention fun) to keep fans of the genre, or the developer, busy for quite a while.