Your Lord is off visiting another castle, so it’s time to test the security system. Funnily enough, this castle decided to forgo the typical defence systems of troops and walls and soldiers. Instead, any enemies wanting to break need to go through a series of puzzles. Logical, right?
Your humorous guide and immediate superior introduces you to the dungeon and urges you not to fail. Between each level, the man putting you through all this hardship and experimentation dithers between threatening to execute you for pilfering foodstuffs and rewarding you for a job well done. Mostly however, he’s just insulting you due to your speed.
Leaving aside the story, the actual meat of the game, the puzzles, are logical and intelligent. Every room has a door locked, barred or otherwise obscured; requiring you to work out where the item needed to unlock the door is in whatever room you’re currently in. Each room is themed around something castle-y: armouries, throne rooms, kitchens. The ascetic is reinforced with a variety of well-designed set pieces that often obscure clues or items necessary to defeat the puzzle.
The ascetic is reinforced with a variety of well-designed set pieces that often obscure clues or items necessary to defeat the puzzle.
Many of the solutions are backed up with decently slick animations; clicking on the pile of sleeping dogs causes them to fidget in their sleep dislodging a key. Another time, you must feed an exotic lizard all the apples in a bowl before you can move it, thus revealing the necessary item.
Any puzzle game needs to be judged in two main ways; are the puzzles clever and enjoyable and are the visuals – the way the puzzles are presented to you – satisfying and understandable?
Thankfully, Castle Breakout – Escape manages to combine satisfying puzzles with a pleasing ascetic with its quirky art style and sense of humour, as well as surprisingly decent animations.
The humour inherent in the dialogue between levels carries over into the clues and messages to the player when actually in the puzzle rooms. This light-hearted, usually droll humour is fitting and worth the occasional small chuckle, just enough to get you to the next clue and then onwards to the solution.
This light-hearted, usually droll humour is fitting and worth the occasional small chuckle, just enough to get you to the next clue and then onwards to the solution.
The only real annoyance present is when you click on something incorrect and you’re met with some pithy comment along the bottom of the screen over a bright pink banner. This might succeed in making you feel bad about yourself, but it obscures the game and means you have to wait and feel like you’re being punished.
Other than a feeling of being a complete dogsbody for the castle, forced to endure deprecating comments and work your way through puzzle room after puzzle room, Castle Breakout – Escape manages to be a fun and complete puzzle experience, with enjoyable puzzles that challenge the player just enough to push you to complete it, without frustrating you and making you leave in anger.
The animations are satisfying, the visuals appealing and the puzzles are gratifying; what more could you want in a puzzle game?
Castle Breakout – Escape is available on Android and iPhone.