Despite the fact that there are now a million versions of Angry Birds, available on every conceivable platform from iPhone to digital clock radio, there's plenty of mileage left in flinging things at other things.
CastleStorm proves the point, bringing ballista-style flinging to the PS Vita. It's a sort of Swords and Soldiers/Angry Birds/tower defence mashup, and it really works.
Storm time is coming to you today
The naughty Viking chaps are looking to steal your all-powerful gem, and they expect to simply walk up to your castle gates, bash them down, and take it.
You have several ways of holding the hordes back, and CastleStorm is all about balancing these methods and keeping your defences fully intact at all times.
You can even send out troops to take the fight directly to the enemies on the ground. They'll die pretty quickly, though, which is why you have your trusty ballista at hand, ready to rain hell down on any baddies who manage to slip through.
Finally, you also have a range of magic abilities, including the option to jump into the battle yourself. Wonderfully, each and every potential battling avenue feels like its own little piece of the puzzle, and each works as a game in itself.
When you bring it all together, CastleStorm proves to be a balancing act. Sure, your ballista aiming is great and all, but you're not tending to your troops enough! And when was the last time you teleported onto the battlefield? Get on that immediately!
The game eases you slowly into this balancing act via a campaign mode that really does a great job of building on the action level-by-level.
Eventually you'll be using your ballista to fire boulders and explosives directly at the enemy's castle - and if you can completely knock their castle down, it's victory dance time.
Building your castle is a whole other part of the game. You can choose all the different rooms that give you special abilities and boosted stats, and then position the rooms in whatever order you choose.
Castles can then be blasted down, Angry Birds style, and if a room collapses you lose that benefit - meaning that knocking down opposing castles is a very good idea indeed.
If this didn't already sound like enough content to be dealing with, CastleStorm throws numerous different game modes, unlocks, castle types, unit types et al in your direction. Online leaderboards and trophies round up the bloating package.
And, of course, there's a lovely multiplayer mode for taking on friends and strangers in the art of ballista-battling. No-one can accuse CastleStorm of resting on its conceptual laurels - there's plenty to see and do here.
We all fall down
Purchasing new upgrades via the shop and indulging in kill streaks against friends online is all very well, but the controls threaten to completely derail the entire experience.
Aiming the ballista feels rather flimsy - especially when trying to hit fast-moving enemies. The Vita's smaller screen is to blame here, as the analogue-controls are mapped to a smaller screen, and so making slight adjustments to your aiming proves more difficult.
The game offers a way to make small adjustments, but when you're in the middle of a heated battle it's not easy to do so. Often you'll end up being overwhelmed by the enemy, frustrated that the game didn't offer enough leeway to make up for the sub-par aiming.
The dialogue and cutscenes in the game prove somewhat irksome too - CastleStorm is definiely not as hilarious as it believes. Still, even with these caveats, CastleStorm is a force to be reckoned with.
Whether you're looking for a single or multi-player Vita title to blow your socks off, CastleStorm can provide both experiences in one tidy package.
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