This is only my second Castle Defense game, after Knights Onrush, and because of the frantic pace of that game I wasn’t sure what to expect with Medieval (developed by Brisk Mobile). What I did find was a nuanced strategic game, slower paced – but in it’s own way just as intense and ultimately as much fun.
I’ll start right at the beginning, with the options menu. Despite all the buttons, there’s actually very little here. Resume allows you to pick up a previously saved game, and there are four save slots. Play allows you to start a new game, at one of three difficult settings. Options just allows you to toggle sounds and such. Help provides you with only a very basic outline of how to play the game, which is one of the few complaints I really have about Medieval. About gives you the credits, and more games will send you online to view other games by this developer.
When you start up a game, you’re shown two castles on a battlefield. Yours is always the one on the right, your enemy is on the left. Your castle starts with a giant crossbow on the battlements, which is your primary weapon in your defense. By placing your finger on the crossbow, you can change the angle of your arrows’ release. By dragging your finger back, the bow string becomes taut – and the distance you pull the string taut will determine the speed of your arrow and ultimately how far it will shoot. You will use these arrows against both enemy troops on the ground as well as turning it against the enemy castle itself.
For each enemy you destroy, you gain some gold – the currency you will use to purchase upgrades. A recent update to the game give you about 1000 in gold to begin each game, and this was truly a necessary change. The amount of gold gained from each enemy loss isn’t enough at first to give you a competitive advantage – prior to the update you could play through the first level or two (assuming you could pass the first few with no upgrades) without having enough gold to upgrade. But now, with that 1000 gold, you can choose one or two options, which helps increase your chances of survival from the get go. Those upgrade options are found by touching the gear button at the top of the screen and entering that menu. Here you can choose updates to your crossbow, like fire arrows and multi-shot, or adding different kinds of barracks to your castle so you can train troops or build catapults.
Your constant battle is not only against the enemy, but against your available gold. Each of these upgrades has additional upgrade levels – and they all cost money, as do the troops you want to train. Meanwhile, your enemy seems to have an almost limitless supply of money as many troops of all different types will enter the field of battle arrayed against you. But there is a visceral feeling associated with sending those arrows flying, watching them destroy your enemy’s troops – even knowing you might inflict damage on your own troops as they get up close and start to engage the enemy in battle.
It seems to end each level, you must do one of three things. The first option is for you to completely destroy the enemy’s castle (each enemy has a health bar, including the castle itself). The second option is to have one of your troops capture the enemy’s banner; it’s near the ground at the foot of the enemy’s castle and your trooper must bring it all the way across the field of battle back to your castle, while you defend him with your crossbow. Finally, it seems that should you keep the enemy from inflicting any damage on you, eventually they will run out of gold, and can no longer produce units to send against you.
But I used the word, ‘seems’ a number of times above. Nowhere in the instructions does it ever talk about how to win a level, and you can’t see the enemy’s gold levels, nor it’s rate to produce more troops. Your own refresh rate is shown as a circle around the button at the bottom of the screen, and that tells you when you can create a new trooper or use a particular type of arrow again. It’s important to watch those refresh rates, as that’s an important part of your strategy, timing the use of a particular weapon to when you really need it. At the same time, I’d find it helpful to see the enemy’s refresh rate as well. Beyond that, I think it would have been helpful on the easy level if your crossbow’s trajectory would have shown up when you’re aiming – something that would have helped with the trial and error I felt was going on.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a very nice looking game, and an enjoyable one to play. I wasn’t sure at first how I felt about the field of battle being zoomed out as far as it is – but it turns out to be necessary, since the crossbow is such an important part of your defense and using it’s range to it’s fullest is important. Once I got into a groove, I found I was timing my shots well, and really tearing apart the enemy with glee. I think it’s a less ‘pick up and play’ game than Knights Onrush, since you need to take more time to determine your moves and plan out which upgrades you’re going to purchase next – but it’s a good Castle Defense game, and I can definitely recommend Grabbing It.
|Title:||Medieval (v1.0.1)||Developer:||Brisk Mobile Inc|
|Price:||$2.99||App Size:||10.6 MB|