Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Heroes and Castles ($1.99 Universal) is a cross between a tower defense game and a role-playing game all in one. While your goal is to defend your castle by building up defenses, you also control your own han- selected hero right in the thick of the battle. Just think of the hero you select as being a remote control armament you use to defend your castle.
In the single-player campaign mode, you start out by selecting one of the five different hero types you want to be: Knight, Paladin, Engineer, Ranger or Mage. Each type is further configurable with three distinctly themed characters to choose from. Not only is this the character you will control on the battlefield, it is from this character’s vantage point that you will watch over your castle and command your army. Once gameplay starts, there is a virtual d-pad on the left side of the screen that you use to walk forward and backward as well as strife left and right. You can look around by swiping your finger across the screen, and your hero will walk in the direction you are looking. On the right side of the screen are your controls for fighting and running.
During combat, you are also responsible for issuing commands that will repair your castle, construct new buildings and summon an army to fight at your side. You build up your army by spending your gold to add more units to the battlefield. Depending on how accomplished you are in the game, different unit types will be available to deploy. One of the most versatile unit types are the archers. They stand atop your walls and pick off attacking foes as they approach your castle. You can also employ Pikemen, Giants, Crusaders and eight other types of units to defend your castle. Between each level, units are upgradeable. You use crystals that you earn in battle victories to upgrade your unit’s strengths. As an example, if you depend on your archers as much as I do, you may want to invest in them by increasing their bows’ range, arrows’ damage and even their health points.
When it comes to building onto your castle, you can dig additional gold mines, upgrade your wooden walls to stone or steel, and even add defensive towers. There are 14 options to choose from. Just like adding new units to your army, adding more armaments to your castle costs gold. Gold is mined during the battle from your mines. The more gold mines you add, the faster you earn gold and the easier it is to buy defenses. Just keep in mind that building additional gold mines will also cost you some gold.
There are 31 levels in campaign mode. Once completed, you will unlock an endless play mode. When you think you have had enough defending your castle from attacking forces, you can elect to change sides and try your luck at laying siege to a castle rather than defending one. The strategy and gameplay you employ when attacking a castle is similar to the one used defending it. Rather than gold, you recruit “Cultists” that will worship you in order to generate the Dark Energy you need to summon more units.
The other difference in siege mode is that your castle is your hero. Unlike campaign mode where you can only level up and change the abilities of your hero between levels, in siege mode you can do this during the battle. In siege mode your castle is your hero. The source of your hero’s evil energy is the Wormwood Tree situated in the middle of the battlefield. So long as the Wormwood Tree lives, you can maintain and increase your evil hero’s power an abilities. This of course means that the knights of the castle will be looking to destroy the Wormwood Tree, for when it is destroyed, your siege is pretty much over.
In order to play a multiplayer game, you must successfully complete the first few levels in both campaign and siege modes. Only then you can start playing against your online GameCenter friends. In that mode, you choose if you want to either defend a castle or lay siege to it. What helps this game stand apart from other role-playing tower defense games multiplayer games is its co-op mode. In co-op mode you and your online friend can join forces and fight side-by-side as two heroes on the same battlefield rather than against each other.
By putting you in charge of a character on the battlefield, this game is certain to appeal to those who love action games. Fortifying defenses, building castles and amassing armies will suit the more strategic-minded game players. Choosing the armaments and units you want in order to level up adds a bit of roleplaying to the gameplay too. The balance between each style of gameplay has been implemented very well. With the added options to lead the aggressive siege skeleton army or battle a friend online, this game will keep you busy for many a weekend to come.