Castle Empire Online
- Release Date: 2011/8
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Developer: Blue Byte
The game is developed by Germany-based Blue Byte, a social game studio under the leadership of Ubisoft. The game was awarded as “Best Online Browser Game” at the German Computer Game Award Ceremony and later the team behind “Die Siedler Online” (Castle Empire Online) won 50,000 € prize at Munich Gaming 2011, an industry expert event on gaming, edutainment and entertainment.
The deforestation is deteriorating in Castle Empire Online. A countless number of aspiring yet adventurous pioneers are settling down in an uninhabited land. To lead a prosperous life, they are rushing to the forest and cutting down trees. Now we will test this Free to Play offshoot of the popular franchise.
Despite some initial difficulties, Castle Empire Online, a city-building strategy game, is now running extremely smoothly in your browser. Perhaps the only thing I dislikes is those innocent trees because they are constantly chopped down by loggers, sawn into planks and burnt to charcoal. Fortunately, there are laborious foresters who will plant new seedlings to compensate for the vacant space. Everything sounds exactly the same as the original version, and in fact, this game also plays basically in the same way.
It is necessary to establish a settlement, secure resources, build workshops and increase your own sphere of influence step by step. The ultimate success lies in well-coordinated goods flow, as is usual in The Settlers series. But according to some insiders, there is an obvious difference. The relocatable roads can no longer be used to transport goods; on the contrary, they only serve as decorations now. Nevertheless, they must be continually optimized.
Besides, it is also important to gather up a wide variety of resources because different resources are used for their specific purposes. You are also advised to replenish your storage from time to time in case of unexpected tasks. In addition, there are also different types of wood, ranging from Ikea-style pine wood to extremely precious wood that can be only acquired through special adventure quests. But those quests won’t be accessible until you have reached level 25, so you have to wait for a really long time.
Buildings can be constantly embellished and upgraded, but you will be in want of plenty of resources. Needless to say, all workers should be provided with food on time; otherwise, they will grow angry and hungry, jeopardizing your construction process. The in-game store sells a wide range of food, such as crispy bread, delicious fish and tasty sandwich, which can be purchased and then distributed by clicking on your manufacturing companies.
Leveling with Hole
Castle Empire Online is based on a classic system of advancement. You will be given all sorts of quests, like “building a tool-maker”. As you accumulate an increasing number of experience points, you will ascend to a new level which will unlock new structures of buildings and activate new types of troops. Having reached level 17, you will find a motivation hole which enables you to collect experience points and take part in battles. To enlarge your territory, you are advised to send out an explorer who takes the plunge into the adjacent sectors and gather up useful information. There are hordes of lawless robbers lurking in the outside world whose camps you have to forcibly evacuate in battles so as to erect a new house or build a storage area.
There are a total of nine types of troops on your side, ranging from new recruits to skillful gunners. Prior to each fight, all participants will be placed automatically. Simply put, infantries are in the front of the whole legion, followed by rangers. Undoubtedly, you should also fill up your army with strategically-appropriate warriors to deal with a looming group of enemies. Along the way, keep vigilant of the robber bosses who must never be underestimated, because they own some special attacks!
As a visually-oriented title, it mixes comic elements with realistic animated figures. For instance, you will see molten iron, wood stairs, boiling kettles and so on in the game. The sound accompaniment is relatively simple with rhythmic music like birds’ chirping sound. Occasionally, you will also hear trees intoning a bitter lament for their imminent mortality. If you have played The Settlers 7, you will feel familiar with the interface because the practical “Star Menu” is also included.
The Settlers Online as a Dating Site
You can actually immerse yourself in building your Castle Empire for a long time because there is always something to fumble, plan and optimize in the wonderland. For some players, the game seems to have become a second home. In the world, you can hit on a person whom you find adorable. After some communication, you will probably start a romance with him or her. This feature should not be despised because it has two advantages: First of all, it is the faithful mimic of the settlers’ real life. Then, bored clerks can lift their spirit up in the virtual world.
The feature is extremely useful to those who have just set foot on this island for a few weeks. It is never a good thing to be alone in a strange area. Fortunately, you can trade with your friends, send them fish sandwiches or chat with the clerk troupe.
You will be given a lot of standard tasks which will engage you in five minutes of clicking orgy. And to distribute the afore-mentioned fish sandwiches, you must click on each individual target building. In addition, you should also take care of your businesses, such as mines, wells and grain fields. When you are required to establish a building, you can send out your geologists to explore the wilderness in order to ferret out much-needed resources, including copper, marble and titanium.
After several weeks, you can reach level 26 which allows you to dispatch your explorer with gold and sausage in search of adventures. Adventures are special quests that require the involvement of your General along with your troops. The trips usually end in a big battle which rewards the winning side with bountiful prizes.
Castle Empire can be played completely for free. But still, it incorporates a premium shop which has a large variety of raw materials and items. The most appealing merchandise is combat expects. For example, a “battle-hardened general” will cost you four to six Euros which are definitely a very hefty amount of money. But he can not only guide you through tough battles, but only help you recover quickly from defeats.
Seven of the eleven current adventures must be bought with real money. Furthermore, there is also a range of decorations in the shop, like flower beds. If you are rich enough, you can buy them to gain an edge over your friends. If not, you can still choose to play the game for free.
Castle Empire Online has a pretty fast-paced beginning, allowing you to constantly unlock new buildings. But starting from level 17, I was struck by a feeling of fatigue because I have to deal with an overwhelming legion of AI-controlled predators. It took several days for me to reach the next level. Fortunately, I was able to build something completely new, which compensated me for the grinding quests. But generally speaking, the game still brought me tons of delightful leisure time.
To conclude, the primary goal of the game is to build and expand your empire, attract as many as settlers, leave them work in Lumber, Farm and Mining Site, form alliance and ultimately go to war.
Castle Empire Online takes on cartoonish medieval landscape where all items, lush environment, and equipment are presented. By playing Castle Empire Online, I was reminded of Age of Empires Online by Microsoft. Both of the games resemble in all respects.
Castle Empire substantially rebuilds “the Settlers series into a browser-based online version in a bid to compete agaist EA’s f2p game Lord of Ultima and games like Evony, Indomitus, and the like. As a matter of fact, Ubisoft has already in right position of being an eligible publisher in HOMM kingdoms.
In Castle Empire Online, players are able to build a capital castle empire, namely, settlement, for settlers because they will help produce raw materials necessary to supply troops, provide support to complete quests and missions. After a period of newbie protection, players could launch attack against their enemies or NPCs to gain prizes.
With the market share increasingly augmenting, Ubisoft, of course, are not satisfied of the Video game market alone. The new trend today is a new opportunity for all ambitious developers.
The game remains in private as Ubisoft is polishing the translation. And the closed beta is expected to launch next month. Once the release date is confirmed, we will update it at DotMMO.com. The full review and walk-through will also be featured soon.
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