Zen Studios' real-time castle defender has been around for over four years. Although it's had many iterations, you can now enjoy it in virtual reality but is it worth purchasing yet again?
CastleStorm is played utilizing a variety of gameplay mechanics that come together seamlessly. The basic goal is to protect your castle while demolishing your opponent's. That being said, there are many variations to this formula that you'll experience as you play. Anyway, your main weapon is a ballista which is a catapult that launches various projectiles such as spears, spiky balls, exploding apples (my favourite), and even birds that can swoop in to take out encroaching soldiers. Sending these things flying at your opponent's castle is obviously reminiscent of Angry Birds although there are additional mechanics here that give CastleStorm a distinct real-time strategy feel. For example, you can send various types of soldiers out to attack your enemy's army. You also have the option to unleash a powerful hero who you actually control as well as different spells, etc. Overall, the blend of all these elements makes for one enjoyable gameplay dynamic.
Of course, you're probably wondering why this was released for PlayStation VR. I wondered this myself at first but after playing for a bit, it became clear how much more enjoyable the animated game world is in virtual reality. For starters, you watch the cutscenes in a theatre which is a pretty nifty concept. Thankfully, the gameplay portion looks fantastic, too. Besides the ability to look around the large battlefields and see the enormous castles pop off the screen at either end, it's great to witness planes fly by and rivers run down the center of the stage. Even though everything looks very impressive in VR, I found many of the menus to be too small to read and navigate. After squinting while trying to customize my own castle, I decided to just give up because working out the intricate details and small text was far too difficult. Thankfully, that aspect is optional but it's still disappointing that it's hard to take advantage of.
One thing that CastleStorm accomplishes perfectly is provide a vast array of content to enjoy. The single player campaign is not only lengthy; you can also try and climb the leaderboards. Also, as you progress, you'll unlock and upgrade a ton of additional troops, ammunition, and other goodies to help you in battle. The campaign would be enough content on its own but you can also challenge the AI via skirmishes and a survival mode as well as Hero Survival which tests your skills controlling the hero in a small arena setting. On top of all this, you can enjoy online multiplayer matches within a versus mode and the two survival modes. Then again, if you own CastleStorm: Definitive Edition, you don't really get any substantial additional content here.
The most significant disappointing aspect of CastleStorm is that it features a fun-filled mix of gameplay mechanics but each one of these elements is so basic that the core gameplay becomes rather repetitive after playing for a while. After dozens of matches of throwing stuff at your opponent's castle, sending out troops, and controlling the hero every once in a while; it all starts to feel predictable. That being said, it's a fantastic game to pick up and play once in a while but don't expect to enjoy it for hours at a time.
CastleStorm has always been a very fun game and now you can experience that fun in virtual reality. If you haven't played it since its vanilla version then this iteration will make a fantastic addition to your VR library.
- + Awesome mix of real-time strategy, Angry Birds, tower defense, and melee combat
- + Looks great in VR
- + Loads of modes and replay value
- - Not worth buying if you already own CastleStorm: Definitive Edition
- - Some menus are hard to read in VR
- - Core gameplay gets repetitive after a while