Game Reviews

Castle Doombad

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| Castle Doombad
Castle Doombad
| Castle Doombad

They say that an English man's home is his castle, so this Brit fully respects Castle Doombad's protagonist for wanting to defend his pad against invaders.

Of course, they're invading because the aptly named Dr Lord Evilstein is a psychotic archvillain, and he's gone and kidnapped a poor helpless princess.

Still, they could at least have called ahead, right?

Regardless, Grumpyface Studio's latest Adult Swim contribution is a fine addition to the over-saturated tower defence genre.

Spike in the ratings

You might be rolling your eyes at the prospect of yet another TD game, especially as we move into a new year, full of hope for something new.

But Castle Doombad twiddles with the formula just enough to make it feel both fresh to tower defence veterans and inviting to those not particularly familiar with the genre's tropes. It's a bit like Plants vs Zombies in that way (as well as in its general feel).

The battlefield here is Evilstein's castle, which is viewed from the side. Heroes attack from multiple entry points at various levels, but their goal is always the same - to ascend to the second-to-top floor, nab the captive princess, and escape back through the bottom exit.

It's up to you to fend these waves off with your steadily expanding arsenal of villainous traps.

Shut your trap

It's the quality and variety of these traps and enemies, as well as their interplay, that really defines Castle Doombad.

Initially, tactics like laying down a spike trap near an entry point and a spear gun farther back will carry you through. Soon enough, though, you'll realise that there are other cunning strategies available to you.

You'll discover that placing those spear guns near ladders allows them to fire down to lower levels, or that spikes can be doubled up with an acid drip to really cause some pain.

There are also minions that can be dispatched anywhere on the level, and manual traps that cause a whole heap of damage - provided you keep your eye out for the right opportunity to use them.

Holding out for a hero

This can be tricky to do when Castle Doombad's imaginative cast of heroes is keeping you so well occupied. Besides the usual dumb knights there are Rambo-style gunners who can decimate your defences and ninjas who can bypass your spike traps altogether.

Then there's the tank-like 'sexy hero' who seems to stop to take a selfie every now and then. Good luck bringing this chump down.

All this is complemented by the kind of spot-on cartoony presentation that Adult Swim has become known for, and a pleasantly unobtrusive IAP system that won't bother the dedicated player in the slightest.

Size matters in home defence

We should mention that, like many games of this kind, Castle Doombad is a much better iPad game than it is an iPhone game.

It doesn't fit entirely comfortably on the 4-inch screen, with fiddly controls and too much vertical panning required - particularly as your castle grows taller in later levels.

There's also a slight lack of variety to the environments, the likes of which you simply don't find in the very best tower defence games.

As a second line of defence against boredom, though, Castle Doombad puts up one hell of a fight.

Castle Doombad

A fresh and attractive casual tower defence game that benefits from the sharp interplay between its various units
Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.