When I was a kid some of my favorite gaming memories were created in old-school arcades playing classic 2D beat-'em-ups such as Final Fight or TMNT. There's something strangely entertaining about mashing buttons and beating everything I see on my screen to a bloody pulp. When Castle Crashers released back in 2008, it was a game I thoroughly enjoyed for a variety of different reasons, like the responsive controls, immersive score, and crude humor.
With that said, Castle Crashers was still not without its flaws. With the release of Castle Crashers Remastered, the game hasn't necessarily changed much, but some of the smaller improvements will surely be worth double dipping for the hardcore fans.
The adventure kicks off with 4 knights who are enjoying themselves at a king's castle. Soon after a powerful wizard arrives and steals the kings mystical gem and kidnaps his daughters. In true video game fashion, you are tasked with the retrieval of this gem as well as the rescue of the princesses.
There isn't any dialogue, so anything further is left up to your imagination. That was completely fine with me because what Castle Crashers lacks in story in makes up for in gameplay. Chances are if you're reading this review you know all to well how incredibly fun this game is to play.
Each of the knights has their own special powers they can utilize, and there are plenty of different weapons you can equip to chop your enemies to pieces. The game features over 2 dozen characters so there is plenty of variety here as well. The leveling system remains untouched, allowing each knight to separately increase their skills and unlock new combos, weapons, etc.
With over 25 levels to play through, Castle Crashers doesn't hesitate to throw the player in a ton of unique environments. The game takes you through a dark cave with a cyclops lurking within, a lava world filled with gruesome fiends, and plenty of others wonderful levels to fight your way through. The beautifully hand drawn art style looks even better in this version and the bump to 60 frames per second just ensures everything runs buttery smooth.
Castle Crashers can suffer from repetitiveness. After playing the game for more than an hour, I found it was more enjoyable if played in short increments than for hours. This completely changes if you are playing co-op. As was the case in the original version, the game is immensely more entertaining to play with friends, and playing solo can sometimes lead to some unfair battles. Co-op also brings competition into the mix as you try to compete with fellow players.
The biggest change in this version is the addition of a brand new game mode, Back Off Barbarian. BOB puts players into a grid-like map in which you must avoid contact with enemies and make your way through the map. As with all things Castle Crashers, this mode shines its best when played with friends, too. Unfortunately, the addition of Back Off Barbarian comes at a cost. For some odd reason All You Can Quaff, (a game mode that was previously in the older version) has been removed. For a remastered version of the game, I was disappointing to see a game mode dropped.
Music is also utilized really well. Each level comes with some pretty epic music that immersed me into some already hectic fights. Visually, the game looks only slightly better than it did 7 years ago. This isn't a bad thing at all of course because the original was already such a aesthetically pleasing game. Textures have been improved and the game is full of bright colors. Dan Paladin's impeccable art style still is amongst the best in the genre.
Castle Crashers Remastered still manages to keep the charm that made the game so special 7 years ago. The game still falls victim to some of the same flaws, but is so enjoyable to play that those smaller shortcomings are easily overlooked. Whether you're coming back to the game for a second time or you're a new player, this is a game that has something to offer for everyone.
Writer for Darkstation since 2014. I've been playing games my whole life and starting writing about them in 2010. Outside of gaming I enjoy anime and watching my Philadelphia Eagles let me down every Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @jsparis09