Saturday, October 28, 2006

Castle of Elite

Title: Castle of Elite
Author: Daniel Remar
License: Freeware

With any puzzle/action game, there is a balance between the puzzle part and the action part. What makes a good puzzle/action game enjoyable is usually subjective and personal . I tend to enjoy games which are more puzzle than action. To give you a calibration of my tastes, the popular n requires too much finger work for my tastes, Blackshift is right at the boundary, and the small amount of timing needed for Reflexion is negligible.

Castle of Elite is a puzzle/action game which I greatly enjoyed. What pushes it into enjoyable territory is that when fancy finger work does appear necessary, it is usually possible with a bit of thought to find another way to solve the level which requires far less careful timing. This makes Castle of Elite a great thinkers game.

Castle of Elite is fairly straight forward platform puzzler. You have to collect all of the coins and proceed to the exit. You can move left or right and jump up one square. The interesting aspect of this game is that there are special brick symbols. After picking one up, you then have the ability to add a certain configuration of bricks anywhere on the board where the configuration fits. These additional bricks then be used to jump on and access other parts of the board. You have to think carefully where to place these additional bricks.

Castle of Elite also contains many of the usual puzzle game objects. There are switches which toggle bricks of the corresponding color. Jump boots allow you jump two levels instead of one. Teleporters help get you and the bad guys around.

Oh yes, the bad guys. There are several types of bad guys. Each has it own movement rules, and you certainly do not want to be touched by one. The sweeper just moves back and forth. The trundler moves left and right but feels the effects of gravity. The trapper rotates its directions of travel counter-clockwise when it hits a wall. An interesting facet of the strategy of Castle of Elite is that by placing bricks, the path of the bad guys can be and sometimes needs to be changed.

The levels are dividing into four difficulties with 12 levels of each difficulty. Once you have completed 6 levels of each difficulty, all of the levels of the next level become available. If you complete all of the levels of a given difficulty, a secret level is revealed. The later levels get quite hard.

The graphics and audio in Castle of Elite are decent. This is on the whole a very polished game. I encourage everyone to give this one a play even if it does require a little finger work from time to time.


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