Monday, August 10, 2009

Castle of Magic Review

Globs of goo drop past you, coming from a giant octopus. Its tentacles try to attack you, but you quickly and nimbly jump out of the way, and land on the creature's head. It screams, and dies, only an obstacle in your path to save your sister, in Castle of Magic for iPhone.
Castle of Magic, $4.99, by Gameloft, is a magic-themed platformer, where you control a boy named Dizzy (decided from a contest, not yet implemented in the game), and you have to rescue your sister who got taken by an evil magician. To control Dizzy, you use a virtual D-Pad on the left side of the screen, and a jump and attack button on the right. Other buttons appear when you need to open a door, launch a cannon, or do other activities. The game has 5 worlds, with completely different 2.5D environments, and 4 levels in each world. They consist of 3 normal levels, and 1 boss level. The level select screen is a castle, with different doors for each world, then each level, and a giant circle on the floor for a boss level. 
There are tons of power-ups in the game, including one turning you into a swordfish, an inuit, an invincible fat person, and an archer. The graphics are great, with 3D sprites, and 2.5D backgrounds and levels, but sometimes the screen feels too busy. I did not have significant frame rate issues on my 1st generation iPod Touch, though the visuals sometimes did stutter a bit. 
The controls work relatively well, though I did experience some deaths that were not my fault. The D-Pad does not react immediately, so I got frustrated a few times in boss battles. Also, I beat the game in about four hours, so it's a bit short on gameplay for $4.99. For example, a platformer that recently came out, Spy Bot Chronicles, is on a $.99 introductory sale, and while it doesn't have nearly the same graphics and polish of Castle of Magic, it has more levels and slightly better controls. Spy Bot beats the $1/hour ratio by far, however, Castle of Magic lags behind a bit.

Great Graphics
Good Controls
Tons of Power-Ups

Slightly Short
Too Busy

Bottom Line: 
This is one of the good platformers in the App Store, and a worth purchase for a fan of the genre.

Graphics: 4.5/5
Gameplay: 5/5
Controls: 4/5
Replay Value: 3.5/5

Overall: 8/10 (not an average)


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