- Release Date: 2011/11/14 (Out Now)
- Publisher: Zynga
- Developer: Zynga
- Genre: MMO, Social
CastleVille is a Facebook MMO game where you set foot on a medieval wonderland, assume the role of a chivalrous knight, and fight against hordes of invasive beasts outside your castle. Developed by Zynga behind a series of famous titles like FarmVille, FrontierVille and Adventure World, the game will be an impressive MMO with its emphasis on social features.
Castleville impresses on me on the whole as a pleasure ground. Just like an amusement park with beautiful environment, merrymaking music and various entertaining facilities, the game provides fairytale-like gaming world, terrific back music (recorded by 75-piece orchestra) and a rich variety of activities to engage. Hybrid pieces fuse into an immersive entireness; that is Castleville.
In-game activities vary, covering building, farming, battling and visiting friends in the early stage, with the first two in the center. In fact, the very first task after we create the character is to slay two beasts so as to save the Duke, the first NPC to weave us into the storyline.
The vast land is shrouded by magical murk with most subjects lost in it. And our task is to build a happy kingdom, dispelling the surrounding Gloom and reclaiming the lost land as well. To make the pretty Yvette our first subject, we need to build a cozy home for her.
To build, we need to first locate the required structure (ready in the inventory) in usable land in the first place and then collect materials, normally of wood lags and stones, to complete the construction. Only if materials are sufficient will the construction be done immediately. Once built, each building will generate gold coins as tax at a fixed amount of time. Yet buildings’ play doesn’t stop here. Different buildings, different fun. For instance, Workshop is where we can craft building materials and tools with forging recipes; and Maiden’s Tower requires us to hire crew to fill in positions of Maiden’s Guard, Knight Watchman and Make-up Artist.
Yvette is the first subject, with others still locked in the Gloomed Areas waiting to be saved. Can’t wait to explore into the deep darkness, a treasure box lying here and an ancient ritual site hidden there? I am eager to explore as far as possible but simple unable to, for the wide-spread Gloomed Areas are locked, only accessible when the Castle Level meets their respective requirements.
Before exploration, we have to build the kingdom with higher castle levels, decided by the royal buildings that in turn require XP to unlock and then build. Just take a look at these gloomed places: there is the cave of Alastair who holds the key to the crown, mysterious houses with lights on, wishing wells that may grant a request, skeleton of a poor adventurer who met a grisly fate, and lots of plots featured by little animals, unfinished constructions and melting pots, etc. A glimpse suffices to whet our appetite and provoke curiosity. Who wouldn’t want a little mysterious adventure? But we have to wait.
Activities inside the kingdom are many to attend to as well, leaving no space for boredom or repetitiveness. We simply have a lot to do, feeding adorable chicks and cows, placing trough to supply water, planting crops in the farm plot, and so on and so forth. Whiling taking these quests, we may find us distracted by unexpected incidents, such as a message note sent by a little bird from powerful magicians or the sudden appearance of beasts in the land. If we grow many a plant, the harvest may draw the attention of Gloom Rats, which must be killed first because they would freeze our current activities, for instance. All the fun seems integral.
Castleville surely knows how to play a small trick to generate intrinsic fun. It surprises us now and then with special rewards or sudden visits of monsters popping up in quests. Yet it delights us all the more by letting us to find out more playable activities by ourselves. This is where Castleville excels other games: not all its gameplay is offered straightforwardly in the form of quests, but leaves quite a lot of fun to be found by chance by us. For instance, there is a beautiful small pond with two frogs squatting on lotus leaves and fish occasionally jumping out the water, no quest or guide related to it. And if we happen to move our cursor over it, the cursor will turn to a worm, allowing us to fish in the pond. By clicking, we can get Bass, Shell, Water Bucket as well as coins, XP and energy out of it. Also, there is the quest to ask us to plant several flowers, but later I flicked the cursor across one plant, only to find I can further tend to it.
Attracted by the interesting activities, I could play it in hours to run without stop. But Energy shuts me out of the game. 25 points are all that we can use. Far from enough. Just consider this: to clear one rock requires 8 strokes, namely, 8 points, so three rocks simply stumble us in the game.
Put on Facebook, the game cannot possibly miss out the social element. Gladly, we don’t need to constantly turn off the pop-up interface, asking us to send free gifts to friends or spamming them to play too. As in most Facebook games, its friend-invitation request is a little pushy but majorly content-related. For instance, we need to gain heart reputation as well as various rewards by giving a hand in friends’ kingdom (lots of activities there: accelerating the plant growth, collect whatever is ready and fighting back beasts, etc.), and we can save a lot by hiring friends to take positions in buildings (like those mentioned above in the Maiden’s Tower) which otherwise must be filled by the Duke at the cost of hard-earned Crowns or unlocked Subjects using Work Orders.
In-game simulation really deserves a thumb-up. It creates a vivid, live world. Chicks move around pecking at food from ground and cows chew grass while wagging long tails; axe leaves hacking marks on trees which will eventually fall down; plants in the irrigated farm plots next to ponds or rivers grow faster; and Yvette would sing when surrounded by the heralding little bird.
Moreover, quite a lot of designs embedded in the game are considerate and convenient for us: we can rotate or move whatever is built or added in the game to directions and locations as we want; we can cancel current actions; and we can re-customaries the character at any time. As to the high-publicized crafting and trading elements, I didn’t see much in it yet, except the crafting-related Workshop or Kitchen listed in the market. So perhaps in following updates, we can make potions, art, or other goods and trade them in the market.
Castleville is really great; it makes us enjoy what are engaging and yearn for more at once.
Upon arrival in the world, you may be first struck by its top-notch graphics and well-crafted characters. According to Zynga, this medieval-themed game “boasts movie-like production quality”, which means that you will be able to immerse yourself in a colorful and exquisite dreamland and feast your eyes on all kinds of fabulous scenarios along the way. The limited screenshots reveal to us a breathtaking world with magnificent castles, adorable animals, beautiful princesses and handsome warriors. To my mind, a game’s success is, first and foremost, determined by its compelling appearance, and CastleVille leaves quite a good impression in this regard.
It also provides a constellation of interesting activities. You start the game by taking charge of a patch of land on which you can set up a quaint castle. And your aim is to expand the little castle into a thriving kingdom step by step. Of course, there is a long way to go before you can achieve the ultimate goal. In this game, you can manufacture a wide variety of items, like magic potions and protective armors, which can be then traded with your neighbors and friends. Besides, you can also invite your friends to visit your castle and flaunt your achievements to their face. Perhaps you think that this kind of bragging is a little bit peacockish, but trust me, it is fun!
Monster-slaying is also an integral part of this promising game. Your castle is besieged by a legion of combative monsters that are trying to knocking down your walls and raiding your rare resources, so you have to fortify your little kingdom with towers and walls while fending off their attacks. What’s more, a boundless yet perilous world is waiting for your exploration outside your own territory. Along the journey, you will make intimate friends, run into deadly foes, and go through thrilling adventures. The gameplay reminds me of Castle Empire.
To make a long story short, CastleVille inherits all the brilliant features of its predecessors and is doomed to be successful with its years of experience, worldwide fame, and most importantly, the really attractive gameplay mechanics that sounds like World of Warcraft. And we have total faith that this game will carry on the success and glory of the popular Ville franchise. Let’s wait with patience!
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