Do you remember Dungeon Keeper mobile? It was a mobile strategy game wearing the Dungeon Keeper label. If you know even a little bit about that game you will remember that it was one of the first great examples of pay to win money grubbing cash vampires to appear on the mobile gaming market, it would signal the encroachment of zero gameplay pay to win/pay to wait jokes of games on the mobile market (and now with the console and PC market, the battle is waging as we speak). I personally tried to explorre the mobile market but sadly the tiny dinamonds outweigh the sheer amount of shit that one has to wade through. This is why I would like to talk about one particular mobile game I really enjoyed, Castle Doombad free to slay edition.
Doctor Lord Evilstein is your typical super villain; he wants to be left alone so he can harvest the screams of a recently kidnapped Princess, nothing wrong with that really. But as there is a Princess in need of rescue foolish heroes rush to her aid. So it is up to Dr Evilstein to protect himself from the silly rescuers and insure the Princess is safe in her cell. The is not really much of a story to be honest, I would say it is more of a setting a situation that explains why and what you are doing. It serves the game well enough.
As it is a mobile game the gameplay is not the most complex thing in the world, you chose from a selection of traps (automatic and manual) and a verity of minions all wacky and fun in their own way, you have to place the traps and minions in certain locations in each level to kill the heroes before they get to the Princess or before they get out with said Princess, extra coins will be awarded for not letting the Princess get captured; encouraging you to find the perfect combination of traps and minions to insure perfect victory, it allows the player to experiment and has the player remain interested in continuing to play rather than wait or pay. You use coins to unlock and upgrade your traps and minions which will bring me to my next point.
I used the free to play edition of the game so there are micro-transactions in the game, you either pay for a fast unlock or for more coins, there is another currency called evil which lets you buy one of three power ups (rocket barrages, shields and super screams that let you instantly get one trap with no cost) which can also be brought with real money. However the game showers you with coins for doing well or taking part in the endless mode, you can quickly buy and upgrade all traps and minions and the excess gold you acquire can be exchanged for evil. So the grind, while present is not punishing and dare I say is quite fun. If anything buying coins will make the game boring.
The heroes come in a number of shapes and perform different roles, some will dismantle your ground traps, others will destroy your ceiling mounted traps and the rest will just plough through the traps with the single goal of reaching the Princess.
As AI goes it is not particlary smart, with them just rushing down the passageways to reach the Princess, but the sheer number of them at any given time make each quite intense and enjoyable to play. The wabes come fast and the swarming aspect can make the levels quite challenging without feeling that I have to pay to continue or have fun.
The art style has the look and feel of an animated show from Cartoon Network, Dr Evilstein radiates visual personality, from the way he laughs manically at the start of each level to the way he claps his hands with delight if you win. He is extremely likeable. The heroes themselves come in all sizes from the overly muscular knights on tiny horses who take selfies every few steps to the drugged up Rambo parodies who shoot wildly at anything that is on the ceiling. It is really amusing to watch.
The game runs fine with the exception of some strange bugs that see heroes getting stuck in walls and floors or somehow clipping through the floors in double jumps that should never have happened. Sometimes they would just get stuck, not moving while my traps destroy them. I suppose this might be because of the simple programming of the AI.
Castle Doombad is a fun if flawed game that is not only a rare mobile game that does not feel like a app that lets you give money to the Dev on the slim promise of gameplay but also a rather great Dungeon Keeper-like tower defence. It is what Dungeon Keeper mobile should have been. It is one of the few games on mobile that I played all the way through.