App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Castle Battles : Strategy but FAST is a real-time strategy game that's been stripped down considerably. The focus of the game is around building buildings in strategic positions while the rest of your unit-building and territory growth reacts accordingly. It's a fun little concept, but one that also wears thin without multiplayer or a robust campaign.
Castle Battles takes place in a strange world that you get to learn a little about in its Campaign Mode. In it, you play as Les Moustachiers, a faction of mustachioed warriors, as you learn the ropes of the game and take on The Clearly Evil Empire. It's a premise that's pretty silly, and intentionally so, but not something that has the humor you might want.
In any case, this campaign teaches you about the basics of the game, which largely revolve around building castles in ideal spaces on a hexagonally-divided map. Almost every hexagon on a Castle Battles map is empty and has no particular impact on anything, but there are also spaces that represent farms, mines, and quarries which can provide you with the resources to expand your borders, train troops, and build more castles respectively. The goal of Castle Battles is to build out your empire and manage your resources so that you can take over all of your opponent's buildings.
While the creation of troops and border growth in Castle Battles happens automatically, the building portion of the game is a bit more complicated. You can build new structures at the touch of a button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, but you can only build in available spaces, which are typically areas that are a short distance from the rest of your castles. Since all of the resources you might need won't be immediately around your starting structures, you may have to build out a chain of castles just to reach the things you want.
As you're building out these castles, you can also be attacked by enemy troops (or you could be looking to go and strike your enemy first). This requires you to make sure you're always earning enough gold to have an army at the ready so you can send them wherever they need to be by selecting them with a pinch or by using an All Units button at the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. Combat occurs whenever units collide with enemy units or structures and feels weirdly random in determining outcomes. Some units can take out a bunch of enemies before dying while others vanish instantly.
War for one
As strange as some of Castle Battles can be, its campaign grows on you over time and can feel quite satisfying. The only problem with this is that Castle Battles's campaign is woefully short, sporting only ten missions. So, by the time I really warmed up to the game, I had finished the bulk of what it had to offer.
To add replayability, Castle Battles has alternate difficulties to try out and a Quick Match option, but these feel like really thin layers added on top of a thin experience. It'd be nice to have seen some multiplayer or a lengthier campaign.
The bottom line
Castle Battles is a neatly streamlined strategy game that suffers from a severe lack of content. Its campaign can be completed in a sitting, and its gameplay doesn't really hold up in a single-player context without some story or something driving the action along. It's a real shame too, because Castle Battles has a solid foundation, but nothing really built on top of that.