They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s so, then Gameloft must really enjoy flattery. The publisher has done well by taking game ideas implemented by others and polishing them until they shine. Castle Frenzy is the latest in a series of such releases, this time copying the instant iPhone classic, Knights Onrush, which we loved. If you’ve played that and are looking for more, you’ve come to the right place, but if you’re expecting any substantial gameplay differences, you’ll have to keep waiting.
Even though Castle Frenzy is a rehash, there’s no denying that the concept is incredibly fun. The premise is based around traditional tower defense mechanics, but caters to those who are more interested in instantaneous action and twitch gameplay. In each scenario in the campaign, you have a castle to defend against hordes of fantasy enemies as they relentlessly storm the castle gate. Each offensive lasts a number of days, with the difficulty ramping up after each successive day. You earn gold and other rewards for dispatching the enemies, which you can use to buy more weapons and upgrades. Each upgrade (both offensive and defensive) can be further upgraded two additional times for maximum firepower or protection.
What made Knights Onrush different is the flick mechanism, and it’s in Castle Frenzy as well. To rid the screen of enemies, you touch one with your fingertip and flick it upward to toss the baddie skyward to fall to his or her bloody demise. As the game progresses, enemies begin to come quicker and with greater ferocity, and simple body slams no longer do the trick. This is why you’ll need to purchase backup support, such as the God-of-War-themed Hydra, fireballs, ice, boulders, and more. There are 18 upgrades in all, so it helps alleviate feelings of repetition.
That repetition is also diminished by optional challenges that are issued mid-level, and console-style achievements to provide something extra to do and compare with your friends. The campaign features 10 scenarios and three difficulties, and an infinite survival mode with adjustable difficulty. It won’t last forever, and we can’t guarantee you’ll want to play the whole campaign over again, but after finishing, the game is still fun to keep playing in short bursts.
The eagle has landed.
What makes Castle Frenzy stand out over Knights Onrush is its slick presentation. Like in Knights Onrush, the background changes very little, but the slightly angled 3D visuals offer (literally) a new dimension to the aesthetics. The new and often larger enemies are fun to watch march on your castle, and they animate well. However, Knights Onrush had a more cohesive feel to it with its overworld map. Less thought seems to be put into Castle Frenzy’s layout.
This is a winning formula, but it’s all been done before. Beyond the new 3D graphics, not enough has changed to fully differentiate Castle Frenzy from the game that was clearly used as the source material. Buy this, and we think you’ll have fun; it just won’t be anything new.