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[PS3/Vita Double Review] CastleStorm

The clouds bring rumors of war… It’s Knights vs. Vikings in CastleStorm, where medieval warfare meets 2D physics-based destruction! Controlling the battle in real time, players will harness the power of medieval artillery, manage a fearsome ground attack, and cast powerful spells! CastleStorm features a story-driven solo campaign, a custom castle editor, online multiplayer, co-op modes, and more. Building castles and knocking them down has never been so much fun!

CastleStorm – Launch Trailer

This is a double review for the PS3 and Vita versions for CastleStorm. The PS3 version was played by EdEN, and the Vita version was played by Ceidz. This review presents what they both had to say.

CastleStorm is a tower defense game in which the main goal to protect your castle while either defeating all enemies or destroying the enemy castle in a very fun angry-bird-esque setting.

Gameplay-wise, CastleStorm levels are very varied. In a few levels, you’ll be on the ground battling trolls and enemy soldiers with both your sword and your archers while, in other levels, you are controlling a ballista and aiming arrows and explosive stuff at your enemies!

One of the things I like the most about this game is that it has a lot to offer. For starters, it includes a very decent and fun main campaign (lasting roughly 8 hours or so) and, as I mentioned earlier, it has a lot of different sub-game modes. The game is very interesting since you can take the money acquired in the levels and upgrade your ballista, infantry units, heroes, spells and even your castles! About the castles, it can be completely built from the ground-up if you want to use the in-game castle editor and, alternatively, you can also select from a list of presets that are unlocked while advancing in the campaign.

Finally, a 5-stars ranking is awarded after each level depending of how well you fared in the event. I must admit that while the game difficulty is well balanced (even on Hard setting), getting all the stars in the game might prove to be quite a challenge for completionists! I also thought that the loading times on the PS Vita were very high and that broke the pace of the experience when loading a new level.

There’s also the option for (not) playing (nicely) with others, and here are the modes available for you:

1 vs. 1 split-screen mode: Simply try and beat your opponent by bashing in their castle. Choose your side — the noble Knights or the ragtag Vikings — and then choose your arsenal of weapons wisely. Face off castle to castle, and the first to completely demolish his or her opponent’s castle wins! This mode is only available on PS3.
Survival Co-op: Two players team up to fight off waves of enemies together. Assign one player to control the ballista and the other to control ground forces. Good timing and great aim are essential in Survival Co-op, as friendly fire could be harmful to your own troops on the ground.
Last Stand Co-op mode: Would you rather ditch the castle and do some hand-to-hand combat out in the battlefield? Check out the Last Stand Co-op mode, where both players control a hero and battle wave after wave of enemies together. The object is to stay alive as long as you can, but remember, enemies can come from either side, so be ready.

Did you know that Zen Studios also develops games that are not Pinball related? Because they totally do! Castlestorm is their latest release, and it comes with Cross-Buy entitlement (buy it on PS3 and it unlocks the Vita version, or the other way around) and a LOT of content to enjoy at home or on the go!

In the game, you use the left analog stick to move around the ballista and aim the trajectory of it’s ammo, controlling it with the X button. You also use the Square button to send out troops (as long as you have enough open slots in your army and enough food and money to cover said action), and cycle between different units with L and R. You ALSO use the Triangle Button to activate your Hero and can select to teleport this Hero of Justice on the battle field to tackle enemies head on in case you’re feeling overwhelmed, and can directly control the hero to move around, attack or defend.

On top of this, you’re also in charge of building your castle taking into consideration that you need specific rooms to produce food and to be able to hire this or that troop, as well as for having access to a diverse set of skills and abilities. As you progress in the game, you’ll gain access to even more units and abilities, and will need to pick the ones you want to bring to battle, which is why it’s very important that you use your hard earned coins to level up each one accordingly or else you run the risk of being overwhelmed by the opposing army. If you don’t feel like creating a castle from scratch, you can use the preset templates that balance things out for you so that you can focus more on the action and less on the planning. Just remember that if a room is lost during a level, the bonus it provided (extra troop, spell, etc.) will also be lost, so be sure to protect your castle!

Things get hectic when you need to multi-manage your troops, the ballista, your abilities and spells AND summoning your hero to defeat several weak units or that big-and-nasty powerful unit that is gunning for your flag, all while trying to nail 5 kills in a row without missing with your ballista to activate the shooting frenzy where you have a handful of seconds to go crazy while shooting non-stop. You do have to consider that shooting that many projectiles AND missing your targets will completely decimate your chances of getting the score stars for accuracy, so you must learn to balance the extra fire power and your desire for a perfect score. Since levels are short-ish, you can always go back to replay them for a perfect score since the 5th star requires that you finish a level while playing on Hard. On the plus side, once you finish a level you get to keep all the gold earned, which is a nice way of farming towards upgrades while working on your 5 star run.


Castlestorm is a very fun and hectic game that PS3 and Vita owners will enjoy. The colorful graphics, tight gameplay mechanics, huge amount of content, tower defense and RPG elements AND the multiplayer modes will provide you with dozens of gaming hours, and the “just one more level” itch will be scratched over and over again every time you load the game. Speaking of that, Castlestorm does take a bit to load each level, but it’s not something that should keep you away from purchasing this addictive release.

*This game is Cross-buy (but not Cross-save) between the PlayStation 3 and the PS Vita.

[review pros=”Very fun campaign
Progressive gameplay and level-up system
Cross-buy” cons= “Long loading times” score=85]

Cost: $9.99

PSN game size: 550Mb

You can purchase CastleStorm from the PSN.


This review is based on a copy of CastleStorm provided by Zen Studios.