Castle Crashers was released in 2008 but went on sale for cheap (cheaper than usual) two weeks ago (and really probably had before now but I just never noticed). My brother had recommended it to me as a fun game when he bought it ages ago and he told me about it being on sale so I figured now was the time to take action and finally give it a whirl.
Right off the bat, how can you not love this game? The cartoon-y style by Dan Paladin is endearing and entertaining. The music too is classic questing music with big booms and trumpets and all that you want to hear behind you when swinging a sword and casting a spell. Aside from the aesthetics alone, the animation is lovable. These little bad-a’s aren’t just running around in 2D, they’re glaring and smoochin’ ladies and choppin’ heads. It’s almost dark, but not quite, and that makes it that much more fun.
As I started playing, I realized how static the gameplay was. I was just supposed to be mashing these buttons for how many stages? Sure, there are combos to unlock, and I will say this is one of the few games that I actually take advantage of magical abilities (I’m usually a fan of pure brute force: never use block, never level agility, never press brake), but for the most part, jump and slash. I’m playing through the first time as the Red Knight, so I’m really just busting heads in with maces and blunt objects. I even tried to branch out and try the other mini games offered (the Arena and All You Can Quaff) but alas, those required even less thought than the game itself! You level up every two levels at least but usually every level. Bosses rarely require anything special, just a few more stat points and a little less jumping right into their attacks, and then you can easily win.
And then last weekend, I was sitting around, thinking how much effort jumping into any of my puzzle or RPG games would take. I found myself looking for something that would take no thought, that would give me a sense of accomplishment when really there was nothing required of me. And I started up Castle Crashers. How can I fault a game for delivering exactly what it advertises? A side-scrolling beat-em-up game that only cost me $6 and makes me laugh with subtle animations and goofy bosses. Sometimes you need that in the middle of games that make you cry or pee your pants in fright or think so hard you rage quit. Castle Crashers is truly relaxing gaming, and I love it for giving me that.