The success of slingshot games like Angry Birds can be attributed to two things: simple game play and engaging characters. These two go together like bread and butter in any game of any genre, and is always something that’s been copied (unsuccessfully for some) by other newcomers in the world of Android gaming.
The weapon of choice
Now we are offered Catapult King. The name of the game is a clear description of what it is: you have a catapult and you need to use it to be crowned King — or something along those lines. Needless to say, it’s a slingshot kind of game, too, although the instrument is obviously different in design yet the same in concept. You would think: “Ho-hum” right? Wrong.
Catapult King is actually fun in its own way. The graphics is insanely crisp and detailed, employing a vast 3D environment for making a favorable impression on a casual gamer like yours truly. I was hooked from the intro video till the exit screen. Why?
A physical strategy
The idea behind the game is quite simple: knock down towers to topple the (Roman?) soldiers that guard them using a catapult. You are only given a limited number of balls to launch, so strategy is important. You can tilt the catapult up or down, and later on buy a spell to make more powerful balls (tornado, or earth shaker). The rule is to bring down all soldiers to complete a level. That’s it — plain and simple.
What’s special about it is the execution. This game looks great at any aspect — background, foreground visuals, animation and all else that grace your phone’s screen. The visual value is amazing.
While looks are only screen-deep, the other thing that’s done right in this game is the playing experience itself. Performance is smooth despite the heavy graphics, and game play is easy as it is versatile. You can zoom in and out anywhere in your opponent’s turf, get a better view and make a better shot.
Too many treasures
Although the game is initially simple, there are other things that may confuse, amuse or delight you — depends entirely on the player. There seems to be a lot of items to collect in this game. First, there are points, which determine the level of your catapulting skills. Then there are spell points, which are used to buy spells for more powerful balls. Then there are crowns — different kinds — that each hold three kinds of gems. These gems appear randomly from knocking down soldiers, and there’s no need to collect all gems to complete a level. However, completing all gems on a crown gives you more abilities for the next round.
Sharing is magic
In addition to being relatively easy and engaging, Catapult King offers magic points in return for social sharing. Following the game on Facebook or Twitter as well as sharing game progress rewards you with magic points — something that’s more viable as compared to in-app purchases.
Speaking of in-app purchases, only magic packs are available in the Play Store starting at $0.99 for a phial which contains 200 magic points. This may be useful at some point, but the game is not that hard to resort to this option. In fact, the entire game seems like it can be played even without paying any real cash.
Catapult King may be physics-based, but it’s not as strict and as frustrating as Angry Birds. You can download this game and breeze through the first ten levels with little to no difficulty. This is not to say that the game doesn’t get more challenging later on — it does.
Although I love the fluid performance and simple game controls, I sometimes make the mistake of holding the catapult down before tilting it up or down, and it seems there is no way to undo a wrong launching tap. Unfortunately, when this happens, you’ll have to go through with the shot no matter how misdirected it will be. I just wish there was a way to let go of the ball and try again.
The royal verdict
Other than this one complaint, I enjoyed this game immensely. This was a welcome surprise, and it definitely gave me that same feeling when I first started slinging birds into pig-infested houses.
Catapult King is well-made game based on old ideas, with a new look. For something that’s free, this game offers so much priceless fun.