Castle Crashers GDC '07 impressions

Castle Crashers is a chaotic storm of spinning swords, overly aggressive primary colors and the occasional (but never displeasing) decapitation -- which is why we like it. Though the GDC demo boasts only a few notable changes from previous iterations, it still warrants a look. A long and loving look accompanied by a forlorn sigh and the formation of a gently sparkling tear.

One of the most interesting things about the game is the manner in which it draws your attention. It's even a little conflicting, as if two sets of fingers are snapping in your face in an alternating pattern. When you're not trying to spot your character deep within the colorful anarchy of battle, you're adopting a wider view of all the over-the-top action. It's like a tug of war, and one not too dissimilar from the battle between order and chaos that's at the core of the game.

The amount of personality and panache exuded by Castle Crashers seems to lend it more depth than it actually has, as does the jump-in-anytime multiplayer gameplay. In fact, playing the game on your own would likely be an ill-advised activity entirely, which is just as well since there are usually more than enough enemies and bosses to keep a party of four well occupied. The game is paced exceptionally well, with enemy types changing just as an inkling of repetition becomes apparent. The lumbering and amusing bosses in particular require a more evasive approach in-between bouts of unrestrained sword slashing (likely the most useful strategy in the game).

It's easy to draw comparisons between Castle Crashers and the likes of Double Dragon (it's even recommended!), but Castle Crashers distinguishes itself easily through its stunning art and swiftly paced gameplay. Besides, we don't remember Double Dragon featuring any end-of-level treasure chests that burst open and cause magnificent gold and jewels to rain down from the sky. When you're done chasing down the goods before your friends snatch them up, you'll also come to the realization that there's only one distressed damsel to share between the four of you.

It seems very few video game friendships survive epic rescue attempts, especially if the friends happen to be equipped with all manner of deadly weapons and arcane magic. Best keep that in mind before you play Castle Crashers in good company.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.