Does it make sense to do an impressions post on a game that isn’t even close to Alpha yet? Not really, but I hope to do at least two more impressions posts about Castle story. The first will be when it hits Alpha and the second when it hits Beta; this will be able to show the improvements made in the game as it goes on through development
First allow me to indulge my myself and ramble a bit about Kickstarter. This game shows exactly what Kickstarter is good for, and that is get new (emphasis on this word) titles off of the ground. The hard working guys at Sauropod Studio had already started working, and even got a video out featuring gameplay.
Why do I mention this? Because most popular games on Kickstarter seem to be relying on a brand or just simply nostalgia. Out of the top 10 most funded video game related Kickstarters we have three that are new or are at least trying something new. Ouya at #1, Banner Saga at #9 and Castle Story at #10. Banner Saga does, admittedly, work with old school tile-based combat but that’s just one gameplay mechanic. It is still a new story and a new world.
Also, today one of the nostalgia trips has been cancelled (Shaker, formerly known as “Old-School RPG” by Brenda Braithwaite and Tom Hall) even though it’s currently standing at $250k/$1m at just over half of the deadline through, they don’t think it’s gained enough support yet and primarilly due to a weak push which, to be fair, it was, it was a video just explaining about how old RPG’s were great and yes, some of them were.
Anyway, enough about that, I’m just as guilty by handing over cash to a number of the nostalgia trips. Let’s talk Castle Story.
So even though this is just a prototype, adding yesterday and today together I have probably already played over 15 hours of Castle Story. I’ve restarted the prototype map maybe five times after screwing up in building or bugs finally stopped something working and I haven’t been irritated at all like I would have been on other games. Sure, it’s time I could have, nay, should have spent with two games I’ve been given review copies of but I’ve been looking forward to this.
One of the bugs, and the reason I took the above screenshot, is that my bricktrons have the tendency to stop working after a while yet still move where I tell them to. They’ll just suddently stand still and obviously think “screw this. I’m not working for Chris anymore” and that will be it. I decided to just move them to the crystal in the middle of the map and then save the game, then reload (which, through another bug, gives you another five bricktrons to work with).
The camera is annoying and incredibly difficult to use to start with, but i’ve got used to it. It’s only temporary afterall. The crickets in the background have a tendency to murder my eardrums, so much so that I’ve had to resort to muting the game which is a shame, it has some very nice music. Visually the game is good, nice and simple yet still has enough detail there for it to look great.I love building in this game. I love building in any game but this game has a very satisfying knowing that what I build will be used in actual battles when that stage of the game is finally released. It’s very easy to design how things are going to fit and soon enough I’m going to actually be able to use wood how I want to (I’m still finding it a little difficult, but getting there!). I’m going to start a new game, again, the next time I play and I’ll try to go about it a little different but I can see myself carrying on playing and building simply for the fun of it.
Mining, logging and buidling are all working. Mining isn’t perfect though, sometimes they wont build stairs as they mine to actually get back out which can make it a bit of a pain and I’ve managed to actually drop people from the bottom of the floating island during mining, but that’s my own fault, not the games. I don’t actually know how to get tunnels to work yet either.
One positive is that even in this early prototype the game is running smoothly while on the best graphical settings, something that is a massive achievement in itself since there are always games that are released and still struggle due to one issue or another (I still remember the big Saboteur issue that made it so it wouldn’t run on nearly any PC with a AMD graphics card).So to put it simply, it’s a prototype and it’s a very fun one at that. I’ve only got good impressions from the game and when more bugs are fixed, more of the options and abilities are available and especially when game modes or even just the normal stuff gets thrown in, this will be an outstanding game.
I’ll end this now by just adding that there is an option to turn on debug mode which lets you spawn workers, archers, knights, enemy knights and monsters. I had a little play around with this since I’m going to abandon my current save. I spawned a number of monsters (I forget their names), enemy soldiers and then some of my own, as well as archers on my walls. What ensued was a fun battle and me finding out that when bricktrons die they give off orbs and you can see the little bricks that they are made of flying around everywhere, it makes for quite a colourful show.