Review: Defend Your Castle

WiiWare Review

"There is no better feeling than flinging stickmen up in the air with a flick of the wiimote..."

Wiiware so far is a service that has shown a wide variety of gaming experiences can be offered at affordable prices. Whilst the likes of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King have the challenge of proving themselves worthy of the higher end prices, it is the bottom of the scale that things can be far more interesting.

Some of the games priced at the lowest current price point 500 points have the challenge of justifying the purchase whilst also admitting that the title is unlikely to be as fully fleshed out as the bigger titles. The advent of browser based gaming becoming a more prominent part of PC Gaming has led to simplistic free games becoming more readily available. Defend Your Castle is one such game that this very much applies to considering its origins. XGen Studios originally released the game on their website as a freely available Flash game on in your web browser. The game has built up a very big fan base and avid following as well as leading to a flood of clones. So with all all this in mind the big question is whether this game is worth 500 points?

The basic premise of the game is exactly what the title says; Defend Your Castle. You have to defend your kingdom by fighting off an onslaught of enemies. Things are a bit laid back at first as you effortlessly fling away from the stickmen, but once you reach about Level 20 things step up and notch and the game really starts to become a challenge. As the games ups the ante a variety of different enemies begin to appear, stickmen armed with lolly pops, bigger bottle top headed grunts and so on. As you progress through the game, points can be spent on improving the castle which will in turn help to make defending it that tiny bit easier. The first upgrade is the pit of conversion which allows you to throw in stickmen and add them to your ranks, they can then be allocated to each of the castles various departments. The most simplistic of these is the Archery, whereby allocating more converts results in a higher rate of fire. The best is by far the Mage turret which allows for a wealth of spells to be unleashed on the unsuspecting enemies. The first of these is an eraser which rubs out the stickmen's drawn bodies as their button heads tumble to fall, the more you allocate to this the turret the better the spells.

The game is made infinitely more fun and intuitive by the inclusion of motion controls. There is no better feeling than flinging stickmen up in the air with a flick of the wiimote, it feels much more involving than mouse driven controls ever could. Aside from the throwing of enemies the game also uses the standard pointer based controls we have come to expect from Wii titles. It makes allocating out your troops between the various stations easy and seamless. Finally the D-pad is used to unleash your magic attacks on the unsuspecting enemy.

Defend Your Castle on Wii along with the unique control system also comes with a radically new and improved artistic style. Whilst the flash version had simplistic stickmen and quick drawings for the rest, this iteration offers far more. Everything is presented using real world objects; the stickmen are drawn in felt tip pen and have buttons for heads who occasionally charge the castle with lolly pop sticks, the castle is made up of a series of paper cut outs, the pit of conversion is a paint bucket and finally the clouds are made from the cheap see through toilet paper you used to have at primary school and are carried across the screen by blue pieces of string! All of these make for a truly fantastic and unique looking game, there is a special magic to be found in the sense of glee experienced when discovering another real world object being used to feel the invaders. With this in mind its perhaps best to leave a few surprises and not wreck them all!

Unfortunately there is very little in the way of diversity and options in the single player. There is just defending your castle from level one upwards. However where this game really comes into its own is in multiplayer. It adds a whole new element to the gameplay as you fight towards the common goal of wiping out all the enemies whilst at the same time competing for the points to be crowned King of the Castle. Up to four players can indulge in the fun and with the maximum number of competitors things can become very manic and disorientating but that's all par for the course and part of the fun.

This is a perfect example of old school basic game design enhanced by the Wii's motion based controls which helps to offer an experience you won't get anywhere else. So back to the question is this worth 500 points? The answer is yes, its a game with great playability and it offers just about enough.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Presentation is top notch and sends it up and above the flash version, if you find yourself wanting a cheap title to pass the time then there are few better than this on WiiWare at the moment.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability5
  • Visuals4
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan2
Final Score



Great gameplay
Fantastic hand drawn graphical style
Cheap price point
Great controls


Lack of variety in gameplay modes
Bit too basic for some.
Conversion of a Flash game

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