Clastle – An Indie Game Review

Clastle – An Indie Game Review
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Platforms:

PC

Game Name:

Clastle

Publisher(s):

Rocket Launcher Interactive

Developer(s):

Rocket Launcher Interactive

Genre(s):

Platformer

Release Date:

May 31, 2011

Developer Summary:

An assassin has traveled from a faraway land to get back what he has lost. What kind of adventure will he encounter? Find out as you navigate your way through an abandoned castle island that has dangerous traps around every corner. It’s a classic. It’s in a castle. It’s Clastle.

Features:

  • Stunning visuals.
  • 10 levels/environments to explore.
  • Time trials to test your skills.
  • Rich and engaging puzzles that will test your reflexes

What We Think:

Clastle is a puzzle platformer from indie developer Rocket Launcher Interactive. It stays true to the classic formula: the player runs, jumps, and hits the occasional switch to avoid traps and hazards and make it to the end of the level. Checkpoints and the ability to continue from your most recent level remove some of the pain of the inevitable deaths by impalement, drowning, burning or falling which the player is bound to suffer.

And suffer you will.

Clastle is unforgiving, and features some very challenging levels which demand surgeon-like coordination and steely nerves.

Clastle uses the Unreal engine, and boasts fairly impressive lighting effects for an indie title with such retro sensibilities. Textures are fairly detailed, but there is noticeable texture lag that is strange to see given the modest requirements of the game. Overall, the quality is uneven; some models and textures look unfinished, while parts of the environment are quite striking.

Clastle game screenshot

Some of the design choices are a bit confusing. For example, the protagonist appears to be a ninja from the Mortal Kombat school of fashion holding two glowing icicles, which don’t appear to serve any purpose other than to keep him from grabbing on to ledges. Glowing railings, however, can be used to execute a double-jump. There is no animation for this–strange given the developers’ attention to other graphic elements–but it does solve the problem of where to put the glowing pointy things.

It’s actually a bit surprising that the game is for sale. That’s not to say that the game is bad, just that it doesn’t feel like it’s finished. Clastle is a diamond in the rough, and the product that is currently available is like a very promising alpha, or maybe even a class project from a particularly talented student.

Clastle game screenshot 2

It might not seem like it, but that’s a bit of a backhanded compliment to the developers. There are plenty of games that have gone as far as polish can take them, and just aren’t any good. Not much can be done when the premise is faulty, or the execution is flawed, but a game that just needs a little more work still has the potential to be good, or even great.

At this point in Clastle’s development, there’s not much that can be said about it, good or bad. There just isn’t much there yet. It looks like a game that was released far ahead of schedule, and that shows the symptoms of a possible case of design by committee. With a bit more focus, and a little more time in the oven, it could be worth much more than the $5 purchase price. Unfortunately, in its present condition, there are just too many finished games in this price range to recommend Clastle over anything else.

Get Clastle at GamersGate

Download the demo for Clastle at Rocket Launcher Interactive

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

billwhorton

is a freelance writer who loves horror, beer and old movies. When he's not trying to figure out how to get paid for being awesome, or what his dogs are chewing on, he's playing one of the ten video games he's got in rotation.

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