Castleville. Yes, Zynga pumps out games like a rabbit. I can’t even keep up. I’ve already reviewed Cityville and Empires and Allies, and now I’ve run across their latest city-building game, set in a medieval fantasy world… Castleville. I’m not in love with the name, but I understand their need for consistent branding.
So, let’s start at the top. You create a character, which is a little unique for Zynga games like this. Having an avatar is a nice change and gives you some new options in terms of character creation. However, the avatar system is very shallow.
Above, you’ll see my viking. Once again, having a shaved head is not an option. What happened to that always being the default? I miss those days. Anyways, it’s nice to create an avatar but the choices are fairly limited, especially right at the outset. As you progress, you can buy clothes and outfit your character but expect to see plenty of doppelgangers.
Once you have an avatar, you basically do tasks for other people. I still can’t figure out why these people are out living in the middle of nowhere. But you’ll get a task, such as “Harvest 18 cabbages” and then you get experience points for completing those objectives. Fairly standard Zynga stuff here. Aside from the objectives, you’ll build up your city.
This is “Awesometown” (I’m definitely not using that creative writing degree to its full use). You’ll build buildings that serve functions, such as gaining money or crafting items. You can also harvest crops, so it manages to sneak in a little Farmville without you even knowing. Something unique about Castleville is that it doesn’t rank you by experience points, but rather by castle points. You have to build certain royal buildings to gain these points. I may be a higher level than someone ranked higher than me, but they managed to build more “throne rooms” and “barracks” than me. I appreciate the innovation though I feel like having experience points, castle points, reputation points, and gold pieces can be a lot of numbers to keep track of. A little streamlining would have been appreciated in the other areas.
Now, building can be a tricky. In order to build a Vault, I might need stone blocks, but I have to craft these stone blocks at one of my workshops.
Crafting can take time, just like anything else. It’s take an hour to make a stone block. And maybe I need 8 stone blocks to build a Vault. The examples above are fairly simple, as they only need one ingredient, but some get complicated. I’m stuck in a spot right now where I’m trying to build a building, but I need a certain type of cloth, which has to be built at a studio, which I need gold bars to build, which I need a certain amount of stone blocks to even make gold bars. It’s a cool process though, as it’s something that’s usually achievable. You have to plan which buildings to create (and what they can offer) and think ahead to what you want to build. The crafting system makes a nice addition to a tried formula.
What works? Having an avatar is a nice change, as is the complicated but useful crafting system. This has some things that its big brothers and sisters brought to the table, but Castleville definitely brought some new tricks that help make it a unique outing.
What doesn’t work? If you’ve read my other Facebook reviews, there’s one thing I hate more than anything. And that’s posting spam to my Newsfeed. I absolutely hate posting things on my feed like “Hey, click here to give Adam the gem that he needs!” My friends don’t care. The objectives that the game gives you are nice but I’m at a point with all of my objectives where I’m a standstill. Every once in a while, I’ll try posting something to my wall but no one ever clicks it (out of all of my friends, 0.05% even play Facebook games at all). These objectives will go forever undone. If you’re one of those people that adds random strangers, you might have enough friends that play to handle this. But for me, this was a bit of a frustration. It’s not unlike the other Zynga products though. Pretty standard.
Overall? Overall, a solid outing. It’s got a fun and colorful look and is (for the most part) pretty easy to play with minimal other Facebook friends. You’ll eventually hit a point where you’ll need other people to work your buildings or give you supplies, but it’s minimal. I’d say this one stands up there with Cityville and Empires and Allies and is worth a look.