Evil is an oft-neglected demographic in the world of game development. Grumpyface Studios (the makers of Super Mole Escape) and Adult Swim Games have teamed up to fill this void with Castle Doombad, a 2D, side-scrolling trap game. Players take on the role of a minion in the service of Dr. Lord Evilstein and are tasked with setting up a collection of traps to fend off waves of attacking heroes.
Gameplay is presented in an Angry Birds format, where each level is essentially a puzzle, and several levels make up one of the four chapters of the game. The actual gameplay in each level is simple, but always fun. Heroes attack your castle in an attempt to free the princess who Evilstein has locked away in the top level, and it’s your job to kill these heroes. Though that may be almost too simple, Castle Doombad sets its pacing and progression curve to make sure things are always fresh and fun.
Depth is Castle Doombad’s strongest point. At first, heroes start off simple, attacking you with a sword and not much else. As the levels progress, you’ll start to run into more creative heroes. Some try to destroy your traps, and others are much harder to kill. You’ll need to adjust how to set traps based on the heroes that are spawned.
At first, you can simply force your way through the game by placing as many traps as you can, but you’ll soon find that this strategy won’t be enough. Thankfully there’s just as much depth to your traps.
Traps come in three varieties: auto traps, minions and manual traps. Auto traps are your fire and forget variety. Once placed, this trap will do its programmed function until it’s destroyed or the level is completed. Minions are a group of monsters that, like auto traps, will perform a set function until they are killed or the level is over. Unlike auto traps, the minions are mobile.
Manual traps require some level of interaction from the player to go off. They are also the biggest let-down of the trap types, because in later levels there is so much going on that they become more of a hindrance than a benefit. The trade-off is that these traps tend to be the most powerful, but we’d still rather ignore them and build up other traps instead.
Upgrading your traps adds even more enjoyable depth to Castle Doombad. There’s a type of trap for every type of play style, and a counter for every type of hero. It’s up to the player to decide how they are going to spend the cash they’ve earned from completing levels.
We can’t review a game these days without also talking about how it uses microtransactions, which Castle Doombad has despite being a paid game. At least these microtransactions are unintrusive. Buying more currency is completely unnecessary, which is great. You can access all features of the game and get 100% enjoyment out of your investment, so those purchases are just for the truly lazy gamers among us.
Grumpyface Studios hit it out of the park with Castle Doombad. There are many hours of gameplay here, with many more if you’re the replay type of gamer. It’s definitely worth the price of admission. And to quote a great evil man: “Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.”