One of those “out on every platform you can think of” games, CastleStorm was a big success during the last console cycle and carried on into this one as well – a sequel was announced, which we’re taking a look at here.
What we know
The original CastleStorm was a massive hit for Zen Studios, whom we of course also know from their pinball games. After its initial 2013 release, CastleStorm came out for pretty much every system out there, including (re-)releases for the Nintendo Switch, mobile devices and even Playstation VR.
CastleStorm 2 is scheduled to come out later this year, with an initial release planned for the Nintendo Switch, PS 4, Xbox One and PC (as an Epic store exclusive). The sequel will feature six different campaigns, giving the game a far bigger emphasis on story development than it ever had before. Instead of focusing on a single protagonist, the perspective will shift in between campaigns as you encounter the kind of classic fantasy characters we saw in the first game as well as hordes of the undead – a new addition powered by necromancy. In addition, the game also introduces a turn-based strategy element that takes places outside of the confines of its traditional sideways 2D view.
What we saw
We briefly caught a glimpse of CastleStorm 2 at the Zen booth during E3 and then met with Zen for a one on one meeting while we were at Gamescom. This allowed us to discuss the game in more detail, while we also saw it in action as several game mechanics were demonstrated.
What we thought
The CastleStorm formula, blending several different game genres into one, has endured for over six years now – with well-received releases dating all the way up to last year’s Switch release. It’s no wonder that Zen didn’t stray far from the path with CastleStorm 2, which essentially feels like CastleStorm for a whole new generation of consoles.
A lot of the updates we saw were visual, with much heavier use of 3D rendering for a better 2.5D effect that is especially visible once you start tearing down castle walls. Damage models are far more elaborate as well, with stone actually crumbling down – creating a sense of depth that reminded us a little of the VR version of CastleStorm. In the sequel, the enemies that storm your gates also appear more detailed than before, making pin-point hits feel a bit more visceral than before.
The other big novelty in the game, the turn-based strategy portion that takes place on a larger (3D) map, is something we couldn’t quite dive into yet. That’ll be the big question mark going into the game when it’s released, seeing how it affects the gameplay at large and how big of a part it’s going to be. Perhaps it’ll be dynamic in the sense of letting old school CastleStorm fans stick to what they know while offering a more strategic element to gamers coming in from another genre. We can’t wait to try it out when the time comes, because CastleStorm is one of those games that’s been installed our my Vita (and Xbox) for years now and we have little doubt that old school fans are going to be pleased with the sequel as well. Zen seems to know what made the previous game work so well, and that’s what they’re bringing back.