Mystery Castle HD – Episode 1 Review

Mystery Castle HD – Episode 1 Review

Jan 16, 2014

Castles. Mystical dwarfs. Treasure. All good games are usually made of these; trust me on this. Mystery Castle HD – Episode 1 has this… and a bit more, so it really has every opportunity to fly.

As puzzle games go, this one is quite interesting. The backstory involves mythical little people who are overrun by an evil monster that imprisons them and confiscates their treasures.

The little people’s only hope is to depend on a nondescript wizard… that seemingly has no miraculous powers. With periodic advice from a cheeky escaped little person, our industrious wizard looks to free his friends while earning himself a cool payoff. Doing so involves solving puzzles, avoiding dangers and ultimately making it from point A to point B to advance to get the boss monster.mc1

The gameplay is leveled, and each playing area looks like top down 3D house plan view without the roof. There are magical crystals to be collected, and the main goal is to collect them and head to the exit unscathed. Movement is achieved by dragging the finger asking the screen in the path wanted and lifting to stop. Virtual buttons appear when needed (like unlock and speak).

It’s the escalating obstacles (and directly proportional logic needed to get by them) that makes the game worth playing. Early on, getting keys in the right order to open doors is part of the solution. Boxes are then added as obstacles; then, stuff like gullies force the use of these boxes as bridges. Monsters, bombs, earthquakes and so forth are things which are introduced as well; creative obstacles like soft walkways and hot lava all combine to force strategic thinking and means of egress. The combination of these elements is the genius of the game.

It could probably use an extra level of difficulty… say, only timed solutions? Also, this game feels tailor-made for crowd-sourced additions. Still, it’s a fun time-waster as-is.

KickStarter Spotlight: Another Castle

KickStarter Spotlight: Another Castle

Mar 6, 2013

Platformers may be one of the oldest and simplest forms of video games; so it makes sense that they are the most widely auditioned game type on KickStarter. Even more common are the pixel art varieties because of their ease of production and popular appearance. What we have here for today’s KickStarter Spotlight is something that does not deviate too far from the formula, and yet still manages to impress. The project’s name is Another Castle, and the Mario references and similarities do not end there. The overarching plot of the game involves an intrepid, accidental explorer in a quest for some randomly chosen artifact; be it his girlfriend or a flaming sword. The game is very self-aware and makes it part of the story that it blatantly sends the player from castle to castle because, of course, the item is always “in another castle”.

The most intereting part about this game is that the final product will feature levels that are generated entirely by random. This is very intriguing because it eliminates that tiring grind when starting a level over and over again as the terrain and length are constantly changing. The overworld, or overarching map, is also randomly-generated; ensuring that no two games play the same. Included in this game are a myriad of power-ups, defensive items, weapons, and special attacks. These sometimes approach absurd territory which is definitely a good thing because having the ability to launch a giant great white shark at an opponent is an idea that should never be turned down. Like everything else, these are randomly strewn about over the map in chests.

There is an playable demo on the game’s website and after a few play throughs I can definitely say that it is more different than I initially thought. Each weapon has a special touch to it and there are not too many games that could be mistaken for Another Castle. I enjoyed the pixel art and the subtle 3D effect was incredibly well done. As of right now the game is obviously in a very rough, initial stage but what I was able to play was very impressive. All that is left in the game are more level locations and a few player movement tweaks, but I was really impressed by the high level of quality this game possessed. My sole complaint is that I felt a far majority of the traps or obstacles in the game centered around a circular hazard and that did become repetitive after a while.

Putting all that aside, however, this game; still in its infancy, is terrific. I highly recommend giving it a play, and, of course, a generous donation. With plenty development coming in the future I see good things ahead for Another Castle.