Castle Invasion: Throne Out is a small title reminiscent of that time in life when go to gaming involved flash games and finding a good 10 minute experience. Castle Invasion has you playing as an archer protecting his newly acquired castle from the greedy king. You fire arrows, crossbows or throw spears at the incoming enemies to keep them from invading your castle. The game has 50 levels slowly ramping up the difficulty adding new enemy types and other environmental factors such as keeping torches lit at night.
The game play is really simple, you can move up and down the castle wall and you fire projectiles in a straight line in front of your character. The enemies start on the right hand side of the screen and will slowly make their way towards your wall before attacking. During each level you can collect coins to spend on upgrades. It is definitely not a new or revolutionary gameplay loop but it works well in short bursts, each level only lasts a few minutes and the upgrade tree isn’t deep or complex in any way.
Every few levels the game introduces a new enemy or mechanic for you to tackle, the variety keeps the gameplay from getting too monotonous, it starts simple enough with dwarves that move faster than your average peasant but gets more complex with wizards teleporting around the field or jesters throwing bombs from a range. You’ll need to adapt your tactics dependant on the enemies you face but that’s about as far as the gameplay loop goes. Each level also offers 3 objectives to complete for stars, one star is always earned when you beat the level but other challenges could include firing less than a certain amount of arrows or not letting any bombs hit your wall. The stars aren’t useful but add fun little challenges which encourage you to replay levels.
Some levels ask you to manage more than just the enemies intent on knocking down your wall, some levels will run on a timer and you can speed up the enemy movements but risk being overrun, another level set at night required you to fire arrows at a torch to keep it lit otherwise you wouldn’t be able to see your attackers. The game is challenging when it mixes things up from the norm unfortunately it just doesn’t happen often enough.
The upgrade tree doesn’t really offer any depth either and I never found myself needing a certain upgrade to continue, though some are more helpful than others there never feels like there’s a meaningful choice to be made. Shallow game mechanics aside the gameplay is sound enough, the game gives you the choice between touch screen controls or using buttons. The weapons feel slow when switching and there’s a lack of responsiveness when firing them which is only minor but still takes the shine off of things.
Presentation wise the game is just as equally uninspiring, the art is bright and colourful but not particularly varied. The UI is all workable, everything is nice and clear on the Vita screen from the amount of coins dropped on the battlefield to the health remaining on each enemy. The lack of things going on HUD wise also helps keep your focus on the battle where it should be, later levels throw lots of enemies at you so you don’t want unnecessary clutter on the screen. The story, though thin, does offer up plenty of puns and jokes to keep things light hearted, dont expect anything too interesting but the game does try to put forward a sense of humour.
All in all Castle Invasion:Throne Out is a really simple game that can be fun to waste a few minutes on, but it’s hard to recommend beyond being a passing distraction, the gameplay lacks solid depth and the premise is uninspired. Some will have fun ploughing through the challenges the game has to offer but for most this is an unfortunately forgettable title.