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Castlot

Castlot
  • Release Date:
  • Publisher: Clapalong, Yoogames
  • Developer: Power Hosts Technology
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Official Site

Castlot is a strategy game that has large potential to be great but is NOT great now. It is really full-featured with rich contents around the mainstays of city-building, exploration, arena-based challenge of various modes, league, and trade, etc.. Also, it approaches many common setups from different fronts distinguishing itself from existing strategy titles. Yet, it grows some bad apples that ruin a good branch.

Castlot city

As always, you start out with character creation – name and side and no customization. You need to choose to join King Arthur-led Bright or Blackmore-headed Dark, which should decide your role in the story. As you head to the deep reach of the storyline and game, however, you will get confused by the mingled plot – you are practically wavering between good and dark, rather flickerly, and you can make enemies regardless of faction, and you click open the world map to find there is a Neutral side, of which you’ve no idea.

Except the loyalty and logic issue on the whole, story-driven gameplay wins a favor point in effect. It doesn’t implement the story in quest texts; instead, it tells it in-between quests, leaving the quest description concise and clear. Episodes of the story are dramatic sometimes, adding a layer of suspension that drives you forward for the next scene. While the princess Umbriel is implied in the beginning to be treacherous, the old famer that asks you for more grain fields surprisingly turns out to be your mortal enemy who killed your family. And it remains to see where the story will finally lead you.

City-building is fast, at least in the first 20 levels. Construction takes seconds at first with five building slots available and generous resources rewarded via questing. Senate at the center decides the cap level of other structures and the very level of your character. Uniquely, it adopts a Scroll set to boost production as well as other aspects like attack and defense. It works this way: you receive different cards in production, attack and training, etc. by finishing quests, which are used to open corresponding scrolls with specific scroll effects; and then you need to move couples of building in the city to required grid (the map is divided into 9 grids) so to activate the effect. There are main and auxiliary cards, which can be synthesized of several pieces into one powerful card.

City building supports the combat, which you taste early in the arena and then in exploration (since lv. 10). Arena offers several different game types, allowing you to race up against NPCs, challenge other real-players and engage in duel, fight or dragon raid at pre-set scores. Combat is turn-based and automatic with certain animation and increasing difficulty. Arena is the place where your character (occasionally involving another recruited hero) gain xp, while the exploration is for your conquer-and-recruit epic heroes and trained army units.

All appears well in the beginning. But as you move on, you begin to realize the imbalance of gameplay as well as various bugs. Money works in many segments, such as adding more building slots, accelerating training of epic heroes, early access to equipment at levels higher than that of your character, faster increase in the Patron Beast stats, greater friendliness of epic heroes, and so on and so forth. Simply, diamond, the premium currency, cripples the gameplay, especially the combat. Imbalance and bugs emerge to the surface as you enter high levels of combat. You rely on but better equipment to win a battle more often; and that’s only a beginning. It’s heart-broken to see your large troop be eliminated during several round by enemies with purchased elements like Call of the Dragon; moreover, it makes you feel helpless to watch the unit of Mage, strong in long range, speed to the front to die without fight if your enemies have bought the corresponding talents, though the mages are usually lamer than the archers in battles.

Overall, Castlot is rich in playable contents and good ideas that can be made a really enjoyable game. Yet shamefully those good ideas turn out to be a waste.

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