Physics-based games are widely popular with gamers who like to have to think a bit while killing time with a video game. Many physics-based games offer a number of levels that do not differ too much and once the player completes all of the levels, the game is over. The Crush the Castle series of games is not your average physics-based game, mind you. Not only does the game not follow the common themes of knocking one item into another to make a goal, light a bulb, or make some item “happy,” Crush the Castle is a game hell-bent on world domination, and it makes no apologies for that.
The goal of the games is pure carnage! Crush the Castle and Crush the Castle 2 enlist players to use their knowledge of physics to toss projectiles across a field to topple towers of opposing kingdoms. The Crush the Castle games add even more to set themselves apart from the rest of the free online physics games; the first and its sequel bring an exciting aspect to the genre of physics-based games by allowing players to edit their games and create levels of their own and choose their own munitions. Created by Joey Betz and sponsored by Armor Games, these two games have taken the genre of physics-based games to an entirely new level and have raised the series fan base to thousands of players across the globe.
Both editions of the Crush the Tower series follow a Siege Master (the player) on his quest to carry out the orders of the power-hungry king of Redvonia. Armed with only a trebuchet and a wealth of knowledge, players must destroy enemy castles one after another to please the Redvonian king. The enemy is, quite possibly, slightly stupid or perhaps does not care much about protection from the elements, as the ‘castles’ are made up of a few logs and bits of stone topped with roofs (though not all castles have roofs, even) that sway a bit in the wind. No matter to our team, of course, this just makes the Siege Masters job simpler.
The main map depicts each level as a kingdom and shows all of the previously defeated towers, indicated by a Redvonian flag. If a player chooses, they can return to any previously toppled tower for practice or work on earning achievements. Make no mistake about it; the game is a tricky one. The weapon of choice for the series is a Trebuchet, which catapults ammunition from one end of the screen toward the enemy's castle. You being the sieger rather than the typical defender. Of course, it is much easier said than done. The Trebuchet is shot with such precision that even a split second delay to the release can mean the difference between annihilating the opposition’s tower, and missing the target completely. The most crucial part of the attack is the arc of the projectiles. The timing must be perfect as the Trebuchet only flings the item once. Players must release the projectiles at the perfect time in order to create the perfect arc, so that the ammo makes it to the target properly.
Crush the Castle and Crush the Castle 2 offer a range of ammunition that is unlocked as the game progresses. The first few munitions are rudimentary in the form such as a single log or a single stone. As the game progresses, players are rewarded by unlocking extra weapons that include items with real firepower. In Crush the Castle 2, the extra weapons go as far as even electric eels in a jar and significant ammunition that simulates a Black Hole. As an added element of strategy, once munitions are unlocked, player can toggle between the two to fit the level at hand, as they see fit.
Kings, Queens, Maidens, Princes, and Guards inhabit the enemy castles in both games. In the sequel, Crush the Castle 2, there are Popes, Knights, Jesters, and lowly Serfs to kill, as well. The makers of the Crush the Castle series exhibit a good sense of humour as the game reflects this in silly sound effects (grunts, moans, wails of dying characters) and visual effects (hand-jiving Jesters set afire, tombstones and blood splatters of victims, and such). In the case of Crush the Castle 2, the game offers story lines that are silly as well as entertaining.
Where all Crush the Castle Games exceed the competition, however, is in their “Castle Builder” section players can create their own games. The editor is a fun application that has a menu of items to click and drag onto the screen to create the most formidable fortress possible. In addition, players can also test their shooting skills against their own creations. The materials are endless, as well, meaning that players can make gargantuan fortresses with a multitude of inhabitants and then set their own offensive Trebuchet against it to witness epic-sized massacres.
For die-hard fans, "Peoples Empire" is a forum accessed via the Main Menu, which allows players to play the castles created by other users. There is also a Players Pack, which has multiple extra levels and a new set of goals to strive for. These levels are all user-created and have all have Gold, Silver, or Bronze medals to earn. Each level has a different goal for each medal, though each goal refers to the number of shots fired to take out the entire castle. With all of these options combined, the Crush the Castle series has enough material to keep those who enjoy castle games busy for countless hours, whether they are building their own empires to crush, crushing other user’s empires, or just following the storyline of the already well developed game and striving for high points.
Crush the Castle Games all have applications for the iPhone.