Game Reviews

Creatures & Castles

Star onStar onStar onStar offStar off
Creatures & Castles

In the years to come, there'll be one overriding memory of the iPhone era: the ability for simple ideas to be transformed into truly addictive experiences.

It's something games such as Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, and Doodle Jump have mastered, and Creatures & Castles pitches itself in the same manner.

A cursory look at what's involved suggests the game ticks all the right boxes when it comes to delivering a simple concept, although design issues prevent it from being truly memorable.

Tap attack

Creatures & Castles is a collection of 2D mazes in a medieval setting, the idea being to navigate through each stage to reach a gate on the other side in one piece. You do this by drawing a path from entry to exit, then tapping your treasure hunter - either young lad Timmy or wee lass Susie.

You receive more points for using the shortest path possible, - the ideal being to reach the gate in quick fashion, without any stopping or stalling - although timing is arguably the most crucial element, given the levels are populated with an array of sentries eager to halt your progress.

All such foes follow set paths, making success a question of observing their movement before navigating past them. It's stealth at its most basic and, for the first few stages at least, it's not hard to get involved.

Repeat and replay

Problems arise when you come into contact with any of the guards on patrol. Such failure resets the level, but your path is also erased in the process.

That might seem like a logical response, but often your demise had nothing to do with the route you mapped out, but rather when you chose to set it in motion.

Re-drawing what's obviously the right path time and again simply because, somewhere down the line, your timing was out of whack is a bore, especially when you consider Creature & Castles has a habit of misreading your input entirely when you near the goal.

At times, the game refuses to obey your commands, the icon drawn away from your chosen route as if by a magnet.

Dodgy defenses

Yet, it's the sheer complexity of the stages as you progress - bombs, for instance, have to be picked up and planted to blast through walls in stages where no clear route exists - that makes retracing your path multiple times grating.

Being penalised for the most menial of mistakes feels less like a stiff challenge and more like the result of a game design and user interface that's needlessly unfair.

It serves as perfect evidence of the Creatures & Castles' rough, unpolished nature. The concept is a solid one, but the slack delivery means this is a fortification built on decidedly shifting sands.

Creatures & Castles

An interesting concept, Creatures & Castles is let down by basic setup that makes completing levels more of a pain than pleasure
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.