Castle Crashers – The Behemoth is one of the most loved indie studios across the indie game design-scape; mostly because of the extravagant, yet pleasing, design of their projects, and of course because of how ridiculously fun their games, and even their blog posts, are. Funded independently by Tom Fulp (owner of Newgrounds) and Dan Paladin, their games of prestige are such as Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers, and it turns out that Castle Crashers is one of my favorite games on all of the XBLA. Castle Crashers begins as an initially ordinary side scrolling, platformer, beat-‘em-up that has you playing as one of 4 knights trying to save his kingdom and ultimately the princesses along the way. The major allure of Castle Crashers comes from the smooth animations, varied environments, and crisp gameplay. The game never spends too much time in one environment and the fun of combat, though repetitive, remains fresh due to the lack of repetitive level design (all levels are hand drawn and enemies are just plain fun to kill). The game isn’t perfect obviously though and most of the problems are spawned from the repetitiveness of the genre; the game is fun as hell for the first run-through, though after you find some of the nicer weapons and unlock all of your combos the game loses some of its appeal.
In all seriousness, Castle Crashers would just be a decent game without one key augment: music. The music of Castle Crashers almost instantly became one of my most beloved soundtracks for a video game; ever. The music comes from Newground’s audio zone that allows any and all members of the community to compose and upload their own audio creations. Now, while the vast majority of these songs are ridiculously bad, there are also a ton of fantastic songs floating around; the Behemoth utilized Tom Fulp’s massive influence at Newgrounds to choose some great songs from artists like Waterflame and ParagonX9 (a personal favorite) to create a multi-style, flowing, upbeat soundtrack that literally makes the game. There were times that I was only still playing the game to listen to some of the great music and destroy waves of enemies to the amazing beats. In fact, I beat the game on the first pick-up in about 8 hours. In the end, Castle Crashers is an above average game with a ridiculous level of fun and entertainment value, and while the game lacks replay value, the first play-through will definitely leave you extremely satisfied. (8.5/10)