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Review: Castle Crashers

Emily Balistrieri | 18 Sep 2008 20:51
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After some hack 'n slashing (and maybe some dinosaur/noble steed-mounted homicide), you'll arrive at a boss. Some of these are more cleverly designed than others, requiring someone with a thinking cap on if you want to dismantle them quickly, but the ends of the fights often become rather cheap. The "You can hit me now--oh wait, no you can't! I'm so fast!" mechanic might be slightly over-used, especially by the time you reach the freaking Corn boss, but if you have multiple players, it's not usually too much trouble to get in a couple hits per opening. The final encounter takes the appropriately infuriating amount of forms, but is certainly not impossible, and in fact, I think my roommate and I somehow managed to win on our first attempt, even if I did have to play the CPR mini-game to resurrect him.

Besides experience points, you'll pick up your fair share of loot in the form of money, weaponry, and animal orbs. Money is good for buying more weaponry and animal orbs, but also expendable items like potions (which, in a casual stroke of genius, are applied automatically so you never have one of those forehead slap moments of forgetting to just hit the button). Each animal orb has a specific effect, so it's important to check in at the ark to learn, for instance, that Cardinal helps you find secrets, and Giraffey boosts your experience. My one issue with the orbs is that the ones that do damage don't seem to level up or even scale to your level, so even though the bloodsucking bat is cool, I'd rather have extra XP than one hit taken off an enemy every so often.

This is probably a good time to talk about how all of this content is managed over your character profiles, and over the characters of people you play with, because the system can be frustrating in its fairness. All your money is shared for your whole account, which can be handy if a noob character needs potions. Unfortunately, many of the weapons have level caps, so you can't excessively pimp your guys. When playing with friends, even though they have to come with you as a group to the blacksmith and ark, they can't have any animals or weapons they haven't already unlocked themselves. Sometimes I just want to share! I can understand not wanting players to power level by just tagging along while other characters do all the work, though, so not having an even split on the XP makes sense.

Rather than complain about the couple of crashes, the freeze, the infinite death sequence that resulted when a mob of enemies were juggling my corpse so adeptly that it never hit the ground, I will just mention that The Behemoth is already working on a patch to please the 170,000 (+, I'm sure, by now) people playing Castle Crashers.

The Bottom Line: Your download should be done by now!

Emily Balistrieri is the type of freelance writer who forces her friends to test multiplayer modes, but this time they weren't upset.

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