Build a Castle, Fight Some Monsters, and Use Social Media in Hustle Castle
Hustle Castle is a Fallout Shelter-style mobile game set in a wacky and lively medieval world. You are the master of your own kingdom, with the simple goal of gaining new subjects and saving your princess.
I understand microtransactions are out of control, but Hustle Castle ups the ante in a bad way. As we learned on South Park, the Canadian Devil makes sure these Freemium games keep getting money. I draw a line in the sand when a game demands a lot of money, then only maintains the facade of a passable game. I felt like Hustle Castle cut a lot of corners to make a quick buck off of copy/pasted mechanics. You can come back and tell people they don’t have to spend money, but this game has strong pay-to-win mechanics.
I wanted to say that first, though I will be going into more detail on individual topics.
The graphics are not horrible, but it has all been done before, and better. Everything is 2D, and the animations feel really clunky in some places. If I saw a frozen screen cap of Hustle Castle I would say the graphics looked good.
The second you get into combat or watch the characters move it becomes very clear you are seeing very few frames per second. When my tanks run forward in combat it is like watching someone’s first attempt at stop-motion animation. Then after I watch this stop-motion the game immediately asks me to give it more money so I can get stronger gear.
With how clunky the animations are, and how much easier 2D animation is than 3D, these graphics are just horrible.
Hustle Castle has basically three different areas of gameplay: PVP, PVE, and castle building.
The PVP in Hustle Castle involves you scouting out opponents on the map. You can see their power levels and your power level. If yours is substantially higher, there is a good chance you will win. If they are even you can risk it, but if they have any castle defenses that are not shown in their power level you could be in a lot of trouble. You also have spells. By using your spells wisely, you can beat enemies with much higher power levels. Using a spell too early or too late can mean sure defeat.
PVE is very similar to PVP, but you will be facing monsters. The PVE also has a story. You are chasing evil forces as they run away with your princess. It is very standard “your princess is in another castle” storyline. Once you beat a set of levels a new area is unlocked, granting you more levels to beat. The PVE story is told via a Twitter-like social media tab in which all of the characters, good and evil, communicate. The posts they make are very lively and funny, and are one of the higher points of the game.
The base-building is very much a repeat of gameplay made popular by Fallout Shelter. I love Fallout Shelter so I felt like I would like this game, but the base-building feels lackluster and just doesn’t feel as fun.
Any review in the App Store or Play Store, whether it is positive or negative, will mention the insane amount of microtransactions pushed in Hustle Castle. Every time you beat any boss in PVE the game asks you to pay real money to gain the boss’s armor.
If you are willing to ignore the panhandling level of microtransactions pushed, there is a fun game there. The characters were very well written and you start to have a lot of fun watching them interact. The game is relatively easy and the early game does not demand very much grinding at all. I think, all in all, if you loved Fallout Shelter you will at least enjoy some parts of Hustle Castle.
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