Developer: The Behemoth
Release Date: 2008
Castle Crashers is a beat-'em-up title that's being developed by The Behemoth, the same kooky minds who brought you Alien Hominid. In this new offering, you play as one of four skeleton knights, each with a distinct set of weapons and powers. Each knight is color-coded, and there can be only one of each color in the game. That restriction doesn't really hurt things, though, as each character is just as adept at laying the smackdown as any other.
Combat is simple, with the X and Y buttons mapped to a hit and a power hit, respectively. The A button is for jumping, and the B button controls your character's ranged weapon, although none were used during our demo. You gain XP and level up as you hack and slash away at opponents, and as you progress, you'll get more health, money, and attack combos. Some enemies will drop coinage after you've laid waste to them, and you can spend the money at the store to buy additional health and weapons.
The pound-'em-to-the-ground gameplay is ideal for co-op missions, whether it's offline with a local friend or via Xbox Live. While you're beating up on enemies, you should slow down and notice the activity that's occurring around you. We noticed another skeleton knight performing CPR and attempting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a compatriot. We scurried along with the goal of getting to the boss, which was a Trojan Horse-looking ram, which you can try to kill by tossing bombs at it. In turn, it targets you with a red X on the ground and chucks bombs in your direction.
Castle Crashers is shaping up to be another must-own game from the Behemoth team. The interplay between cute, cartoony characters and gory, bloody combat is just too delicious to pass up, and the simple, enjoyable gameplay makes this the perfect title to start up when you need a quick gaming session to blow off some steam and cleave some heads.
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