Heroes and Castles

from Foursaken Media, originally released 17th January, 2013

The Undead Horde and their Orc and Goblin allies are at your castle gates, the King is on the brink of death, and only you stand between the enemy and complete annihilation! Choose one of many powerful heroes, summon an army to fight beside you, and defend your castle in Heroes & Castles, a seamless...

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Heroes and Castles Review

Tower defense games were among the first to stand out on the App Store, due to their touch-friendly controls and short, wave-based levels. But until now, the genre hasn’t evolved much. Last year’s Fieldrunners 2 is polished and varied, but it’s fundamentally the same game as 2008‘s Besiegement. Heroes and Castles, on the other hand, upturns the tower defense genre and makes it feel much more immediate and exciting.

Instead of watching over your castle from a bird’s eye view, in Heroes and Castles you are  standing right there on the front lines. Hordes of evil enemies, like skeleton warriors, mummies, and goblin bomb-throwers will swarm your castle walls, seeking to destroy them and attack the keep inside. You have to run up to them and fight back, all while ordering battlefield reinforcements and armaments for the walls.

Attack, my minions!

This groundbreaking combination of third-person action and strategic resource management is simply outstanding. At any given moment, you’ll have to order the construction of gold mines to generate more revenue, archers to patrol the wall, pitchfork-wielding peons to roam the battlefield, and reinforced barriers to slow the enemy’s assault. And those are just the early upgrades– later in the game, you’ll be able to build a battle academy, ballistas, generals, giants, and dwarven sharpshooters.

You can never just sit back and let your peons do all the work, nor can you act as the lone defender. It’s in finding a careful balance between immediate action and strategic planning that Heroes and Castles reveals its substantial depth.

Pike the football. 

The mechanics of Heroes and Castles are also incredibly sound. Your hero moves freely around the battlefield with basic touch controls. Your archers, peons, and other support units have decent AI, and over time, you can upgrade them to make them faster, stronger, and more accurate.

Heroes and Castles offers three different playable characters– a knight, paladin, and engineer– and there’s a reward for beating all 20 levels with each character. However, the castle you defend barely changes, except for some slight weather effects, and it would have been nice to fight in different locations. What does improve the variety is an endless, online co-op mode through Game Center. Additional modes, like versus multiplayer, are teased on the menu screens for a later update.

Heroes and Castles captures the immediacy of battle in a way that few tower defense games can. It’s more like the console series Dynasty Warriors, or the Helm’s Deep battle in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, than your typical App Store adventure. When the war horn sounds, your defenses fall, and a swarm of skeleton warriors rushes in to destroy your keep, Heroes & Castles is a pulse-pounding experience that is practically unmatched.

Game of the Month, January 2013: Heroes and Castles

Instead of a post-holiday lull, this January has been a surprisingly strong month for new iOS games. Out of several new Must Have games, one action-strategy game stands out, like a siege tower on a battlefield full of orcs and skeleton warriors. Our Game of the Month for January 2013 is Heroes and Castles, by Foursaken Media.

Heroes and Castles is a combination of third-person action and tower defense-style strategy. You have to control both a champion on the battlefield and the castle’s defenses. After constructing gold mines and other support buildings, you’ll be able to summon powerful allies, like pikemen, riflemen, and giants. As the forces of evil send waves of villains to attack your walls and units, you’ll have to carefully balance your own hand-to-hand combat with the overall strength of your fortress.

Between levels, Heroes and Castles lets you power up each individual unit or defense, and you can add new skills to your warrior’s arsenal. While the game originally launched with three heroes, a recent update lets you unlock two more, for even more variety. If the extensive single-player campaign wasn’t enough, there’s also online co-op multiplayer, plus a recently-added, drastically different siege mode that lets you fight from the evil monsters’ point of view. Heroes and Castles is a fully-featured, excitingly original action game, and it’s a big step forward for one of our favorite indie iOS developers.

Another hero of the App Store this month is Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, a port of the handheld and downloadable console title from Ubisoft and Capy Games. In it, you take control of five different fantasy armies to save the world from demons. The gameplay is a terrific mix of RPG, strategy, and Match-3, and there’s enough content to keep you busy for many hours. Better yet, once you’ve cut your teeth on the single-player campaign, you can dive into the multiplayer and battle against friends or strangers over Game Center. A few control annoyances aside, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is the complete package.

Congratulations to Foursaken Media, the makers of Heroes and Castles, and Capy Games, the company behind Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, for bringing us our favorite games this month! Meanwhile, you should also check out these other Must Have iOS games that launched in January: Pixel People, Temple Run 2, Time Surfer, Hundreds, Pixel Defenders Puzzle, Anomaly Korea, and Scribble Hero

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