CastleStorm is at its core a tower-defence game where you have control of one tower where the basic goal is to destroy the enemy and their tower while attempting to stop another opposing tower from destroying your own. The developers of this game are Zen studios, those of Zen Pinball fame so quite the departure for them.
As the quite light hearted story goes, the Knights & Vikings have lived in peace ever since their Goddess cried during their last war, resulting in two enormous gems falling from the sky. These gems are magic life giving gems. Both sides stopped fighting but nothing is always as it seems, the ‘story’ does raise a few smiles throughout although mainly used as a precursor to the levels that you play. The main way to complete a level is to destroy your enemies castle or to steal their flag. Get that back to your castle and it is game over.
With the campaign, you mainly control the ballista, which is used to fire a variety of projectiles and objects towards your enemies castle and men. Controlling the ballista I found to be somewhat awkward at times as precision was required for aim yet trying to manage this using the left stick was somewhat unwieldy resulting in the ballista spinning round and round quite often which was somewhat of a disappointment. Attempting to line up a shot with the ballista so sensitive can be so frustrating. You do have the option of using the D Pad although this is the opposite with being incredibly slow to use.
Controls are simple and effective in the main, enabling you to cycle through weapons, troops such as infantry units, ranged units and even some air units. Weapons range from the traditional stones and javelins to the more unusual such as exploding apples. Not only do you control the ballista but you also control a knight on the ground who you can deploy to fight against incoming ground troops, Sir Gareth.
With the castles at either end of the playing field, using these can be a time sink in themselves. Selecting rooms to add after collecting gold on the battlefield to assist you in upgrading your home. Which ones you select have a direct impact on the equipment, units , spells and projectiles that you can use in play. Placing an important room to the front of the castle, which is then demolished by the enemy can spell disaster for you.
The presentation of CastleStorm is really nice, the characters have a slight cartoon look to them which suits the game nicely. Particular mention goes to the soundtrack, which was produced by Waterflame, who you might remember scored Castle Crashers also. The light hearted soundtrack fits the game perfectly. The colours in the game really stand out on the screen without being overpowering on the eyes. Zen really have done a stellar job in bringing this to the Vita.
Overall there is a lot CastleStorm has to offer with a reasonable size campaign and multiplayer options too. Minor control niggles aside, if you are looking for something to play other than Angry Birds on the Vita you could certainly do with picking up a copy of this to see you through those winter (K)nights.