Born in the fires of late 2000s Flash gaming, Crush the Castle introduced the world to the joy of destroying stuff with precision-launched projectiles. The concept couldn't be simpler: Launch stuff at castles to destroy them and all of their royal inhabitants.
Cementing the concept of "flinging" as a viable, fun gameplay mechanic, Crush the Castle's popularity went on to spawn more games in the series with Crush the Castle 2 and Crush the Castle Adventures. More than 10 years after the first game's release, you can now get all three Crush the Castle games together in one complete edition with Crush the Castle Legacy Collection.
And yes, Crush the Castle (CtC) did indeed inspire Angry Birds. I'm not sure that CtC is among the best Android games I've ever played, but it might be worthy of ranking among the better casual mobile games out there.
As stated above, Crush the Castle's gameplay is extremely simple. In all three games, you're armed with your trusty trebuchet (a type of catapult) and tasked by your lordship with blasting his enemies to smithereens.
I won't lie, the first game is rough. It has a reputation for being unreasonably difficult, and my own experience backs that up. It's arguably the weakest link in the collection — unless you love a serious challenge — thanks to its older graphics, unforgiving levels, and lack of quality of life features.
The other two games though, CtC2 and CtC Adventures, were both very enjoyable. CtC2 hits you with a more tropical island kingdom vibe and interesting level designs that encourage silliness and chain reactions. The graphics got a little boost as well, so it's a bit easier on the eyes. It also introduced an optional zombies tower defense mode, giving players more reason to keep coming back.
It's a close call between 2 and Adventures, but my favorite of the three might be Adventures. In contrast to the first two games, which took a more realistic medieval approach to the graphics, Adventures leaned hard into a more cartoonish look and feel, which appeals more to my casual-gamer heart. I don't doubt that the shift in vibe was spurred by direct competition from Angry Birds, but neither do I think that's a bad thing.
What I truly loved about Adventures was that it added optional level objectives. You can still succeed in a level by completing the main objective, but you can only obtain the "Crushed" status if you complete the level and all of its optional objectives. Things like, "Kill all the inhabitants" combined with "Don't kill the chicken" make you pause and consider your approach more than in the past games.
It also added a much-desired quality-of-life improvement with trajectory lines for your previous shot and aerial markers to track your projectiles if they go off-screen while in flight (CtC2 introduced this feature first). Yes, it makes the game easier, but I'm out here to have a good time, not a hard time.
The two major shortcomings of the series are that the gameplay can feel repetitive over its 300+ levels and that the first game is so terribly difficult. The second and third games do a lot to improve game balance while also adding in fun new features, so don't feel discouraged if the first installment isn't to your liking.
Crush the Castle is free-to-play on mobile and monetized through ads, but you can make a one-time in-app purchase of $4.99 to unlock the ad-free version. If you've played Angry Birds to death and you want more of that sweet, sweet flinging action from the game that started it all, give Crush the Castle Legacy Collection a try!
A lifelong gamer, Mogan has had a controller in hand since the PlayStation 1 ruled the world and Neopets seemed eternal. She loves to play new and old games alike, especially if it's something weird and charming. Puzzlers, JRPGs, adventure, and rhythm games are her favorites.
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