Castle Warriors HD ($ 1.99), a real-time strategy game developed for the iPad by GameResort, excels due to its stellar 3D graphics, touch controls and simple gameplay model. The goal in each level is to crush the enemy’s army by strategically taking over every castle on the spherical board.
After picking the degree of difficulty, you engage orcs, goblins, demons and other fantasy adversaries in brutal battles. The clashes between armies can be anticlimactic and repetitive. However, adding complicated animations would definitely raise this app’s price.
When sending an army to a castle, you can choose between sending some, half, most or all of your soldiers. After a day ends, the game provides a report comparing your stats to the computer’s. The amount of reinforcements are determined by your score, calculated by tallying the number of castles captured and defended. ‘Fate Bonus’ is another element that determines your score, but is not explained, even in the tutorial. It’s an interesting point system, in that it gives the advantage of more troops to the army that performs best in the previous round. Castle defenses automatically upgrade from round to round, which is a nice touch.
A few other drawbacks. The in-game map is not clickable. It would improve gameplay and reduce the amount of scrolling--impressive in its own right--if a player could just touch a specific spot on the map and be instantly redirected. Also, once a player sends soldiers to a castle their task cannot be interrupted. This adds some weight to decision-making, but limits your ability to correct mistakes.
Castle Warriors HD has 12 battlefield maps and two game modes, Campaign and Quick Play. Campaign mode is by far the more compelling of these choices because it adds a storyline that intensifies the levels. As corny as it sounds, it gives you something to fight for.
In Quick Play, first choose a level map, then toggle the number of days and troop amounts. This begs the question: why doesn’t this game have a multi-player mode? It is set up as a game that would benefit from the inclusion of a turn-based head-to-head mode that could be played over Wi-Fi. Still, it’s important to take Castle Warriors HD for what it is: a low-cost strategy game with visually engaging 3D environments. For anyone intrigued by real-time strategy, it’s a no-brainer.