Castle Warriors from GameResort is a fun little iPhone/iPod Touch battle game that I’ve been playing with for a while. It falls under the Real-Time Strategy (RTS) category. Rather than waiting for your turn, you make decisions in real time as the action happens around you.
In many ways, Castle Warriors is a 3D version of the excellent Galcon. Instead of planets, you have towers. You start with all your soliders in 1 tower; tap it, then tap a target tower to move a certain amount (half by default) of your soliders to that tower. You can move to empty towers or enemy towers this way – if you move your soldiers to an enemy tower then they naturally attack the tower.
There are 2 play modes: a campaign mode where you move through 12 preset battle scenarios, and a quick play mode where you can replay unlocked scenarios with your own settings for battle length, number of your troops, and number of enemy troops. This is a nice touch which adds a degree of replay value to the game.
The game’s graphics are suitably attractive, but the 3D playing field makes the game hard to control. You move around the field by dragging; however it’s easy to select a tower by mistake when you meant to drag. The movement is also a little jerky and unresponsive at times, making the game quite frustrating. GameResort recently released an update (1.1) which improves the controls slightly – for example, you can now tweak the scroll speed in the options – but it’s still a frustrating experience compared to the simple “tap on a planet” interface of Galcon.
The gameplay is fun but it also seems rather confusing at times. It’s hard to get an overall impression of whether you are winning or losing a level (a bigger map and/or on-screen stats would help enormously), and there doesn’t seem to be much strategy in the game – you just keep moving soldiers around and attacking enemy castles, and eventually you seem to win.
A few features set Castle Warriors apart from the vaguely similar Galcon:
- Tower upgrades. If one of your towers has enough soldiers in it at the end of the day, it gets upgraded, which makes it do things like fire darts at enemies as they pass. There’s a bit of a strategy element in influencing which towers get upgraded, but the process is still pretty much out of your control.
- Reinforcements. The better you do, the more reinforcements you get. Reinforcements appear in 2 batches: at the start of each round, and halfway through the round.
- Days and nights. Galcon is a fast-paced fight-to-the-death battle; with Castle Warriors a battle plays out over a number of days and nights. This helps to prolong the gameplay and provides a more relaxed, less frantic experience, but it also adds frustrations of its own: often, just as you’re about to finally conquer a strong enemy tower, the day ends and your soldiers retreat back to their own castle. Then you have to try over again the next day.
The game has a fairly jolly theme tune – a sort of medieval swing version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (no, really) – but I found the in-game music repetitive and annoying. Thankfully you can turn it off.
Overall, Castle Warriors looks great, is easy to pick up, and quite fun to play. I just wish it had easier, smoother controls, and more depth to the gameplay.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5