Castle Crashers Remastered Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: The Behemoth

Published By: The Behemoth

Reviewed By: Tyler Higgs

Thank you so much to The Behemoth for providing a review code

I never got the chance to play Castle Crashers back when it was on the Xbox 360. Unfortunately, I was too busy playing Call of Duty and missed out on the delightful indie titles like Castle Crashers. Many of my friends, however, did get the chance to play it during its initial launch. They of course adored it and have sung its praise ever since. But, sometimes older titles don’t hold up after they have aged. Now that Castle Crashers is remastered for the Nintendo Switch it’s time to take my first chance with the game and see where it takes me. Luckily, I have some Castle Crashers veterans too help me out a bit.

Story

Castle Crashers tells the age old story of the damsel in distress. One day a group of enemies, lead by the Evil Wizard come and attack the king’s castle. The Wizard and his gang steal the king’s crystal and kidnaps his 4 daughters. As the knights of the castle, it’s your job to suit up and go after them. You’re the princesses only hope!

The story is very cookie cutter and pretty easy to understand. Castle Crashers is a game that benefits from a simplistic and comedic story, so it works very well. While the story may not entice you to play Castle Crashers the gameplay surely will.

Swimming with friends is fun they said…

Gameplay

Castle Crashers is a 2D hack n slash with RPG and beat em up elements. You can play Castle Crashers alone or with up to 4 people locally or online. For the most part Castle Crashers has always been seen as a game to play with friends. I decided to divide my playthrough between 4 player local co-op and single player.

Every level is accessed through the game’s world map. When you enter a level, however you will not return to the map unless you/you and your fellow knights die. So it’s possible to complete a bunch of levels without even realizing you did. The levels are broken up into specific areas that range from a forest, to a snowy mountain, and even a lava world.

Before you start each level you can choose what character you want to play as. In the beginning you only have access to some of the knights, but as the game continues you’ll unlock a wide cast of characters. For anyone that played the cult classic Alien Hominid game on the Gamecube and PS2, he’s one of the playable characters.

The combat takes place on a 2D plane and uses beat em style mechanics. When you get to a certain area the level will stop scrolling and you’ll have to stop where you are. At this point enemies will start to come from all insides. You’ll have to defeat the wave of enemies to progress further

Enemies come in all different shapes and sizes. On the topic of size, there are actually two different sizes of enemies small and big. Big enemies don’t flinch to your attacks, so you have to be careful with how you approach them. Different types of enemies, each carry different weapons on them. Some are stronger than others and the occasional enemy will even have their own special ability.

After every few levels you’ll come across boss and mini fight bosses. They’re all unique from one another and have their own set of attacks. Sadly, these boss fights pop up fairly often and they don’t require much for strategy. It ends just being about throwing out a flurry of combos as fast as possible and then dodging its attacks. It’s sad, but these boss fights just don’t have the same charm that other game’s do, because there’s nothing required except for dodging and attacking. Overall I found them to be a bit underwhelming.

You have a fair amount of freedom with the combat. Your arsenal of attacks include light and heavy attacks that you chain together to create your own combos. There’s also preset combos that you can use by combining button inputs. These preset combos are unlocked as you level up.

Slashing and dicing up enemies is the primary fighting tactic. After some time, you can also find range weapons to use in combat. The bow was the main one I used, and projectiles can be very effective. You also have a shield you can use to block enemies attacks but be careful as not all attacks can be blocked. Finally, each of the game’s characters has their own spell they can use. The magic spells are all different and can provide some quick and high damage on the battlefield. I played as the pink knight, for the majority of my playthrough and it’s spell was unleashing a rainbow that does splash damage.

Castle Crasher’s RPG elements are well implemented. Slaying enemies nets you experience and money. Once your experience bar is filled you level up. When you level up your health us fully restored and you gain a skill point. Your skill point are used to increase one of your 4 stats, strength, defense, magic, agility. You only get to distribute your skill points once you return to the world map. A screen will pop up to prompt you to use your skill points so you don’t forget. Every character has its own level, so you may have to run through the game quite a few times if you want to max out every character. I don’t see this as a negative aspect of the game, but I also don’t see it as a positive.

If you’re one for collectables, then it’s your lucky day, because Castle Crashers has a ton of items to unlock. By defeating enemies and exploring levels you can acquire new weapons. Weapons each have their own stat buffs or debuffs that they give to your character. Sometimes they also come with a special ability such as increased critical hit chance. You can find everything from a sword, to a lollipop and even a sausage. I guess you could say this game’s a real sausage party (I’m so sorry, please excuse this terrible joke)

There’s plenty of other items too collect to. Key items can be found by completing certain levels and are essential to your progression. You can also find pets that come in the form of floating animal heads. You can only have one pet equipped at a time. They provide passive and active abilities such as stat buffs, faster swimming speed, and even a ram that flies out and knocks over enemies. To obtain a pet there are many different tasks you’ll have to do. For example you can buy items like bombs to break open hidden areas in levels. There’s also a shovel you can find that let’s you dig up spots that are marked with an “X”. These are just two example of the many hidden secrets you can find in Castle Crashers.

Castle Crashers benefits from its huge amount of collectables and its constantly changing level design. No one level feels the same as another. The combat is awesome and works very smoothly. It lets you chain attacks together and create your own combos. It rarely ever feels like it’s getting repetitive. It’s one of the most satisfying combat system I’ve had the chance to use.

All this being said Castle Crashers does have some gameplay issues that need to be mentioned. Firstly, the difficulty can be inconsistent. I had many levels from the beginning of the game that gave me more trouble than some later levels. It had nothing to do with my increased level either. The issue was always with the amount of enemies and the types they would send out at me. Some levels have you going for a long stretch until you reach the end. I felt like the difficulty spikes were simply too out of place and became more of a nuisance then anything else.

My other big issue was the lack of balancing with projectiles. If you/you and your teammates get caught in a group of projectile wielding enemies, then as a famous man once said “you’re going to have a bad time”. It takes a single projectile to knock you over, forcing you into a vulnerable position when you recover. Jumping over projectiles is possible, but when you have 6 different enemies shooting at you it’s easier said than done. It didn’t render the game unbeatable, but it can be a serious annoyance.

Extras

Castle Crashers is the definition of a game brimming with content. Besides the story modes core levels, there are also arenas you can enter. An arena confines you to a specific area and sends wave after waves of enemies. if you manage to survive every wave you’ll conquer the arena and unlock a new character in the process.

You can also play Arena mode which is a bit different from the arenas in the story mode. Arena mode lets you take on a friend or friends and duke it out in a PVP match. It’s fun in short bursts to get a group of friends really fired up.

Finally, the last extra game mode is called “Back Off Barbarian”. This mode brings you into a board game style play area. Each of your Joy-Cons 4 buttons correspond to a different direction. Your goal is to jump away from the enemy playing pieces that are trying to squash you. Depending on how long you survive the more stars you earn and better your rank is. This game mode can be played alone or with friends and is an interesting change up compared to Castle Crasher’s core gameplay.

As for other extras Castle Crashers offers unlockable achievements and online leaderboards to keep track of your overall kills and how you rank among others. Castle Crashers also brings it’s DLC along which unlocks new weapons and gave me access to the Pink Knight. So, big thanks to the developers.

Back Off Barbarian Mode

Presentation

Castle Crashers has an amazing cel shaded visual design that looks fantastic. It’s a very bold and vibrant style of design that makes everything pop out. Enemies look great and each of the environments is pleasantly designed. If you don’t like colorful games then, you may hate this visual design, but I think most players will really enjoy it. The soundtrack is also incredible and is the cherry on top of the game’s already fantastic presentation.

Technical Issues

While Castle Crashers ran perfectly in both handheld and docked mode, there were some other issues. Visual glitches such as enemies clipping through objects and enemy movement happened a significant amount. There was also an issue with enemies disappearing behind the screen, causing me to be unable to hit them. The experience wasn’t ruined by these bugs, but it hurt the game’s overall polish.

Summary

After all these years, finally having the chance to play and finish Castle Crashers has left me with a feeling of satisfaction. This truly stands out as a video game classic and is a ton of fun whether you’re alone or with a group of friends. The combat system is very satisfying and there’s so much content wrapped up in this package. Unfortunately, there are some flaws that hold the game back from living up to its countless praise. Inconsistent difficulty spikes, visual glitches, and unbalanced projectiles hurt Castle Crashers gameplay. As a first-time player, I feel like Castle Crashers is a great game, but it’s not for everyone. You have to put up with some issues, but if you’re able to then this title is worth your time. Either way I’m happy to have this available on Nintendo Switch.

7/10

Pros

  • Very Satisfying Combat System
  • Tons of Content
  • Diverse Range of Characters, Weapons & Pets to Unlock
  • Beautiful Cel Shaded Visual Design
  • Fantastic Soundtrack
  • Level Designs Were Well Crafted

Cons

  • Inconsistent Difficulty Spikes
  • Underwhelming Boss Fights
  • Significant Visual Glitches
  • Projectile Attacks Need Balacing

Check out our other reviews at OpenCritic

Comments or Questions Leave Them here