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iPhone  header logo

Castle of Magic (iPhone)

For: iPhone

Open the drawbridge to fun

Product: Castle of Magic (iPhone) | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: iPhone | Genre: Platform | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0.1
Castle of Magic (iPhone) iPhone, thumbnail 1
Have you ever tried cutting a cake using a butter knife? Puncturing through layers of thick frosting and cake with a dull knife does more to make a mess than serve up clean slices. In the end it doesn't matter if you use a butter knife or sharp blade because cake is cake: it still tastes yummy.

The controls don't fully cut it in Castle of Magic, yet that doesn't prevent this charming platform game from being scrumptious. (Nice metaphor - ed).

Abduction and adventure await a brother and sister whose video game console goes kaput. With nothing better to do than look for trouble on the beach, the delinquent duo uncover a box containing a malevolent wizard. When the wizard kidnaps his sister and departs for a magical castle, you don the young boy's cape and wand and embark on a quest to rescue his sister.

The wizard's castle is organised into five distinct wings comprising three levels and a boss battle apiece. Beginning in the forested Green Labyrinth and ending in an out-of-this-world confrontation in Mysterious Space, you hop, skip, and jump through well over a dozen levels. Platforming challenges make up the bulk of play, though the need to deal with the occasional enemy demands a little action, too.

Castle of Magic makes the most of what's available in terms of control, plastering a set of virtual action buttons on the right side of the screen opposite a D-pad. The buttons respond admirably, but moving with the D-pad can be problematic. The game often incorrectly reads your input: a touch left on the D-pad often yields both left and down or simply moves you too far.

Nuanced, precise platforming isn't possible here and thankfully the levels have been designed with that limitation in mind. Straightforward jumping challenges and easily defeated foes are overcome with little hassle. Later stages stress the controls, though by the time you reach these advanced levels you're familiar enough with the controls to pull through.

It's worth sticking through the initial frustrations presented with the virtual control scheme because Castle of Magic conjures immensely creative scenarios and power-ups. Joining the standard forest and ice levels are more inventive settings like the Yummy Cake wing where you hop between tiered cakes and wade through thick frosting.

Grab a power-up in these stages and you're transformed into a hulking cake-eating machine that ploughs through breakable blocks and enemies without risk of damage.

Boss battles engender the same creativity. Sending the squid-like Tentaclax to the inky depths in the Pirate Ship wing involves avoiding all sorts of attacks from tentacles and bombs, as well as timing stomps on its head to damage it. Other confrontations pit you against a bumbling bee, nasty snowman, and thorny plant.

Limited replay value comes in the form of collectible stars hidden within each level. Going back through to nab missing stars adds an hour or two of additional game time, which is considerable given that you can burn through the adventure in a couple hours.

Don't let its brevity scare you away, though. Castle of Magic enchants with clever gameplay, quirky design, and bright graphics. Even if its controls aren't as sharp as we'd like, the game is still delicious.
Castle of Magic (iPhone)
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 26 June 2009
Castle of Magic serves up a slice of quirky platforming fun that could stand sharper controls to accompany its creative gameplay
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