The Behemoth’s second game, Castle Crashers, was released back on 2008. It’s been seven long years since the original release and somehow it manages to be as fun as it was before. What’s new on this port to our next gen consoles? Can you retrieve that large, magical crystal and the four lovely princesses again?
Castle Crashers Remastered
As in any good brawler, we don’t have huge chunks of texts, dialogues or even voice acting to discover what’s going on. The situation here is pretty simple: something has been stolen, some beautiful ladies have been kidnapped and we are a Knight, so we need to get everything –and everyone- back.
Our journey begins with one of the four starting knights, each of them wielding magic powers that are differentiated by armor color. Red has lightning, Green has poison, Orange has fire, and Blue has ice. If you are more of a melee type, you have over 40 weapons to unlock. Some of them are given to you randomly, while others will require some digging around or even more than one play through.
Each weapon will feature different stats, and more often than not you will spend some time comparing weapons to see which fits your current build and playstyle. The game is fast but the urge to find new and better weapons never die.
Players can also obtain experience and level up, and while doing so, you will learn new combos to kill enemies with and the possibility to increase your strength, magical power, defense or agility to further customize your playstyle.
With a great artist like Dan Paladin, you also know what to expect: a colorful world full of weird characters, funny moments and not-your-every-day kind of weapons to chop our enemies into pieces. You have seen this formula in other games like Alien Hominid and Battleblock Theater: his art style is unique and distinctive. Everything is full of life and cute, even when it needs to be horrible or terrifying. Bosses, pets, the background, you name it. We have the option to enable some gore but still, cute. Oh and we have many, many pets.
But there is more: you have more than 25 unlockable characters to play as, some of them also needing more than one play through, and there is even an unlockable insane mode after beating the game at least once. Here you can test your skills, your patience, and your friends. The ultimate challenge is not for everyone. Do you follow a pattern here? There is a ton of replay value, racking up to 5 hours each play through. Not bad for a game being released for free for original owners.
Unfortunately, the remastered word is kind of big for this version. There aren’t many additions, improvements or visual upgrades, if any. The game runs at a solid 60 FPS and some achievements are new, but they are replacements of old and unobtainable ones, since All You Can Quaff has been replaced by Back Off Barbarian, a mini game where you need to jump and hop across the level to avoid the enemies. There is a catch though: you move with your buttons, not your stick, and the directions change with every hop. It is fun, yes. The mini arenas are also back, where you can prove your manhood and battle up to 3 other players in free-for-all, or team up and do some 2 vs 2 team matches.
On your quest to save the princesses you’ll discover something else to help you: adorable animal orbs. And they are my favorite thing in the game. There are over 20 creatures to find scattered across the world and all of them are very different. You can find Bitey Bat, if you decide to make him your companion he will bite and briefly stun your enemy. The BiPolar Bear will activate his special when enemies’ HP drop down to a specific threshold. Owlet will get you food hidden in trees, and Mr. Buddy will help you dig faster. As you can see, they are very varied, and you can swap them as many times as you want.
The Behemoth’s incredibly fun cooperative beat ‘em up is as good as it was back in 2008. Despite the lack of new additions or visual upgrades, the game is a must play with friends. Between unlocking new characters, leveling them up, finding all the weapons and pets, learning combos and finding your own play style, the game offers tons of replay value. And don’t even get me started with co-op, the insane mode and the achievements. And the best thing is, if you had it on your Xbox 360, it will be free for you for some time.