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Defend Your Castle - WiiWare Review

Game Info
Defend Your Castle

WiiWare | XGen Studios | 1-4 Players (local co-operative play) | Out Now | 500 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
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7th May 2009; By James Fluker

Defend Your Castle started out as a free online flash game, where the aim was to pick up stick figure people and drop them from a high enough altitude to their doom in order to protect your castle. After a certain amount of time, the level would end giving the player the chance to save and upgrade your defence before continuing on. Each level ramps up the difficulty, eventually unleashing harder enemies and weapons on you, such as catapults and giants.

    This is where the game's strength lies: as there are more and increasingly tougher enemies on screen, it is necessary to start to develop strategies on how to best survive, such as saving spells for giants or making sure you aren't swarmed by blowing up crowds. As you'd play, the game would constantly pump out new stages until the player calls it quits, and if you fail, you were given the opportunity to restart from the stage.

    As in the original, the points obtained from kills here can be used to repair and fortify the castle. Both can be upgraded in small and large purchases, depending on how many points you have to spend. They can also be spent on other additions, such as the ability to convert enemy units to different types of soldiers the player can use. The different types cover archers, spell-casting mages, suicide bombers, and castle-patching repairmen, and each type’s abilities grow stronger with the more units the player puts into them. This is another great addition to the game's strategy style in making the correct call to where more units need to be assigned.

    The big question in evaluating this WiiWare title is if it adds enough to make it worth a purchase over the free flash version. This version features a complete cosmetics change, which mimics child drawings with amusing and sometimes hilarious results, such as tongue depressors for battering rams. On top of the graphics upgrade, the game sports a few new gameplay features that helps make defending easier. Three save files are now available to track your progress and any of them can be saved to after a successful round.

    Drop-in, drop-out multiplayer for up to 4 people has also been added and is well implemented into the main game. This feature is great fun to utilise and ramps up the difficulty and enemies as soon as a new player is added and drops it back down when it senses someone leaving or not playing. In addition to this, there is also an edge of competition since the player who defends the best in the previous round gets to make the upgrade decisions.

    This version of the game also adds new spells that are available via the D-pad. These spells include the eraser (which erases a single enemy but doesn't give points for the enemy it takes with it), the spray paint (which instantly converts one enemy to use for the player’s purposes) and the bomb (which kills all nearby enemies from wherever it is activated). Despite these new additions though, the game suffers from repetition after some time and for those who don’t initially enjoy the concept or gameplay, nothing will change in the course of the game to change their mind.

    It should also be noted that the repeated motion of throwing people up may hurt your wrist after several hours of playing, which might be seen as another unfortunate drawback on an otherwise enjoyable experience. Despite the repetitive gameplay, the ability to assign units and “level up” one’s castle adds some element of depth and the slight competitiveness of multiplayer makes it the preferred mode. For 500 points, the content provided makes for quite a nice package, and on top of this extra depth and added elements such as the humour, it's definitely worth considering a purchase.

21/30 - Good

Gameplay 8/10 -
 Simple but repetitive, despite extra depth
Presentation 7/10 - 
Funny, unique graphics but a lack of music in-game
Enjoyment 3/5 - 
A multiplayer favourite, though not as enticing in single player
Extra Content 5/5 - 
Some may grow tired of it, but there are some nice additions here
Equivalent to a score of 70% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Defend Your Castle
Review | Screenshot gallery | Trailer | Preview | Feature | Interview
Review by James Fluker  |  How we rate games

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