Castles is a “match 3 of a kind” game with a difference. From WhootGames and BadLand Indie, this one will be gaming Marmite. The story (term used loosely) is that King Harold wants you to build him the tallest castle in the kingdom – obviously all of the best builders in the world only need to match 3 blocks of the same colour to do this, so you’re hired.
There are three modes of gameplay: Story, Survival and Competitive, but whichever you choose, it doesn’t make much of a difference; you’ll still end up screaming with tension as the screen fills up. Basically, you control the builders. Blocks fall onto a 5×5 squared grid and you have to push them about to match either the materials the blocks are made from (water, brick, sand, grass, wood, stone, gem) or the tools which appear above the blocks (ladder, shovel, pickaxe, hammer, bucket, saw, anvil). Each level gives you certain requirements which you have to match to build up to the next level. Simple. The only problem, it’s not as easy as it should be. Moving the blocks around can be quite problematic, especially if a block lands in the space you were trying to get to. The rules are simple, the game, not so much.
As the levels go up, the difficulty increases with more materials or tools added to the mayhem falling from the sky (I think Health & Safety may need to visit this construction site). I started this game on my own and to be honest playing solo was way too hard. This isn’t as much of a kid’s game as it would lead you to believe. You have to think fast and have a quick eye to see where the potential matches need to be before the grid is full and you have to start over. It wasn’t until my brother walked in and asked if he could join in with the obvious fun I was having that it actually became quite enjoyable.
Multiplayer is when this game truly becomes the fun fair it was meant to be. With two builders on the job, the game is a little easier but also a lot funnier when you’re both pushing blocks in opposite directions and stealing each other’s matches. As long as you can keep calm, work together and communicate well, you should be able to get through the levels quite quickly, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, we ended up moving matches away from where they needed to be and screaming with laughter at each other as the blocks fell faster and faster. Also, I think this game is specifically designed to make you shout inappropriate things at each other. There were a few times we had tears running down our cheeks as in a panic we innocently shouted “shove that in there” or “give me your wood”. I did warn you this game it not safe for kids!
There are a few variables throughout the game with special items given to you, like Hammers (to crush bricks in your way) or Explosive Barrels (to clear a larger area when things are getting too chaotic). There’s also the boss levels during Story Mode where each one requires a different approach, whether it’s matching three hammers to whack-a-mole (literally) or pushing three electrical boxes together to zap the giant mechanical spider sent to knock down your tower by Harold’s nemesis, King Edmund. There’s really not much more to say about this game as its simplicity is its forte. It doesn’t take a genius to learn how to play and so if you can spot a match and move your thumbs quick enough, you’re going to be able to build.
Personally, I wasn’t Castle’s greatest fan at first (which is strange because I love Marmite!) but I can see a lot of people being more appreciative of its flavour. With the Candy Crush epidemic sweeping the world a few years back, we possibly didn’t need many more “3-of-a-kind” games, but if you have a friend over and you’re not sure how to entertain your guest, this one could be the answer to a very long evening with plenty of giggles. However, if you are one of those people who do like the strategic colour matching missions then this could probably take your obsession to a whole new level. I might even show it to my mother when she visits just so I don’t have to listen to her tell me which level she’s at now on a certain Candy related mobile app.
Karl Rating – 6/10