Traditional tower defense games concern themselves with the challenge of protecting a kingdom, castle, or other area with a series of different towers with a selection of abilities, with upgrades often being available along the way to improve your chances against increasingly powerful enemies. Crush the Castle is a game that is effectively the opposite of this tower defense tradition, since it involves the user-controlled destruction of a series of castle structures on a very hands-on basis. In this manner, the game is more like tower offense, putting you in control of a trebuchet and requiring you to get to grips with the unique physics involved in the firing of it.
By acquiring different ammunition along the way, the challenge of becoming accustomed to the different weights of the projectiles and their behaviour compounds the already addictive Angry Birds-like format, and allows you to immerse yourself in an altogether different experience than traditional tower defense games.
Gameplay in Crush the Castle 2 is viewed from a side-on perspective, with each castle having a unique shape that is increasingly difficult to destroy. The castle is situated in the distance with the trebuchet always on the left hand side of the screen. You fire your projectile by clicking the mouse button or spacebar to release the mechanism, and must press once more to trigger the release of the actual projectile from the firing arm. The main challenge is the timing of your release, since if you release too soon, the projectile will fly backwards, and too late of a release will cause it to be too obtuse in its trajectory. Once all of the royals within the castle structure have been killed, the castle is defeated and the level is won.
In order to change up the gameplay a little, you are rewarded with projectiles made from different materials. Starting with single wooden logs, you move on to multiple logs, stones, iron balls, and eventually explosives. Each projectile behaves slightly different upon its release and in the air, so you must adjust your release timing accordingly. By the time you are using parachute bombs, the release tactics have changed fairly substantially and require you to trigger the initial release and then deploy the parachute very accurately over certain weak points in the castle.
In terms of the game’s longevity, there is a huge number of levels to play through, as well as the added challenge of achieving a gold medal on each of them, which is achieved by crushing the castle in the number of moves indicated on the screen (or less). The game also has a level editor where you can create your own castles from all of the available materials, giving you the chance to see if you can build a castle that you cannot possibly destroy. Aesthetically, the game isn’t hugely flashy, but is an improvement on its predecessor. There is an attempt at applying a storyline to the game as well, instead of just crushing a load of castles for no reason. Different characters even appear throughout the game issuing with new items and ammunition.
Crush the Castle 2 is perhaps one of the most addictive physics-based castle games out there (more here – www.castlegames.co). Discovering your next type of ammunition and attaining gold on each level is a challenge within itself, and even though you may find yourself frustrated, it’s the good kind that motivates you to better your last efforts. If you enjoy Angry Birds, this game may even be a superior experience for you to get your head around.