Kingdom Rush The Curse of Castle Blackburn Game

Kingdom Rush: The Curse of Castle Blackburn – It's finally here, and we couldn't be happier

A Confident Arrival

It's finally happened! The moment every Kingdom Rush fan has been anticipating for quite some time now, or at least has known about resulting in mild to moderate interest. We're not talking about a sequel of course, but the July 4th arrival of The Curse of Castle Blackburn. As is the case with any kind of incremental add-on/instalment such as this, we have approached this new iteration of the Kingdom Rush series with scepticism and suspicion, but it's really hard not to look at the Kingdom Rush present without goggles tinted the wonderful rosy hue that is the series' past. Since Kingdom Rush has treated us with remarkable respect by treating us to some downright thrilling entertainment that demonstrates all other tower defense games just how it's done, it's safe to say that we'll be expecting a delicate blend of more-of-the-same and a few generous lashings of the unfamiliar. From the various descriptions of the game floating about the net, this sounds exactly like what we are going to get, so let this small review welcome you to the reality of The Curse of Castle Blackburn; you won't be disappointed to do so.

Old and New

What's in store for us Kingdom Rush-heads in this highly anticipated Steam-based development? Well,  to say that veterans of Ironhide's incredible series will have their Kingdom Rush-hunger satisfied completely with this add-on would be lie. Kingdom Rush: Frontiers was simply too good of a game to ever be overshadowed by a level pack for the original, but one can expect a healthy 4-stage dose of shiny new Kingdom Rush goodness with all of the aesthetic similarity and gameplay familiarity that the series is renowned for. Sure it all looks the same, and hell it even plays the same, but this level pack is far from a developer simply going through the motions.

In fact, Kingdom Rush: The Curse of Castle Blackburn has 4 wonderful new stages to play through including a City of the Dead and a self-proclaimed "Unholy Cemetery", as well as Castle Blackburn itself which must be saved from the curse that it has been placed under by Lord Blackburn. While you rely on the same towers as in the original Kingdom Rush, the new surroundings add a wonderful fresh approach to the action and will have long-term fans getting nostalgic about the very first time they ever played this fantastic tower defense series.

Further to the 4 new levels that you get to experience, you'll also encounter 8 new types of enemy that will challenge the efficacy, placement, and upgrading of your towers. As well as familiar enemies that you are certain to have encountered in the original Kingdom Rush, you've now got rat-men, hordes of the undead, and witches that utilise their broomsticks to hover their way through your kingdom's gates. While the 8 new enemy types don't compare to the additions seen between the original Kingdom Rush and Kingdom Rush Frontiers, this is still a welcome addition that will give Kingdom Rush fans a chance to experience the game that they love in a new light until Kingdom Rush 3 comes along.

Satisfied, but still Peckish

What one can conclude with absolute certainty about The Curse of Castle Blackburn is that you're not getting a brand new game. This should be a given considering that Ironhide made no claims about it being anything more than a level pack. Level pack or not however, The Curse of Castle Blackburn is as welcome of an addition as Kingdom Rush Frontiers was. The cartoon-style art is as colourful and distinctive as ever, never leaving a doubt in anyone's mind that The Curse of Castle Blackburn is anything but Kingdom Rush from top to toe (or border to border if you'd like to go with a Kingdom-based metaphor). The gameplay remains consistent with the original game and its sequel as well, and considering that these two games are undoubtedly the best tower defense titles ever made (and that's including sublime offerings such as Incursion and Cursed Treasure), this is quite the compliment. As far as level packs go, The Curse of Castle Blackburn ticks all of the boxes, adds a few more, and ticks these as well. With a high-quality premium-brand permanent marker.  

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Previous speculation preceding the game's release

Necromancing the Stone

We would all be lying to ourselves if we were to claim the original Kingdom Rush was anything less than a game of epic proportions, requiring some well-thought-out strategy, a patient temperament and possessing so many cool features that it is surprising that they squeezed quite so much greatness into one game. With Kingdom Rush: Frontiers on the way (tipped to be in Spring, but the flowers are blooming and I still don’t see the title sitting anywhere on the internet),there is yet more good news for fans in the form of Kingdom Rush’s new campaign ‘The Curse of Castle Blackburn’ being greenlighted by Steam. Reactions on the ridiculous web of opinions that is the internet range from fairly restrained to absolute, unbridled joy and elation, often expressed solely with caps lock firmly stuck in the ‘on’ position. I’ll go ahead and say that the excitement has even gotten to me a little, and my heart is usually impervious to these kinds of emotions on account of the fact that it is made out of stone so cold that the Necromancer towers that will feature in Kingdom Rush: Frontiers would have a hard time reviving it. Let’s rejoice at the sequel reference, but not until we discuss the possibilities that could feature in this steam-based sequel

What We Know

The words from one of the developers’ mouths are that Kingdom Rush: The Curse of Castle Blackburn is going to feature 50% more content than the original, and more dramatically, that the game isn’t merely a porting of the flash game to another platform, but is a “ground-up” re-working of the original. Exaggeration to stir up excitement? Perhaps, but we can definitely expect an ‘undead’ campaign, as well as new enemies, boss fights, and  improved graphics in the form of fully-fledged HD (the benefits of having the game on Steam). Drawing the line between expectation and reality is difficult with such a highly-anticipated title, and all this expectation is enough to make your mouth water and your brains explode with eagerness for the game’s pending release. Speculation is rife, however, so why not fuel the speculative flame with further conjecture?

Towers and Enemies

We can expect as an absolute minimum the inclusion of new enemies in the game, and even if no new tower types (it seems that Ironhide feel a certain affinity for the 4 basic types) emerge, then we definitely deserve some new tower upgrades to give us some advantages over the enemy. Enemies could include the obligatory skeletons, a Frankenstein-like abomination of nature, ghosts, wolves and their brethren with the ‘were’ prefix, various apparitions, and of course zombies.

I have seen tower ideas floating about the internet on IronHide’s forums including a monastery melee tower that deploys fighting monks. Following on from this excellent idea, perhaps a more comical nunnery tower upgrade that would have the power to counteract magical enemies could be on the cards, or maybe some other religious such as cardinals emerging from a magic tower that can lift the curse from afflicted enemies in order to transform their allegiances.

New Setting, New Terrain

From promotional material to the very title of the game, it is clear that Kingdom Rush: The Curse of Castle Blackburn is going to have a much darker theme than we have become accustomed to in the original. We can probably expect some ghostly and ghoulish surroundings, perhaps some night-time battles, and definitely a Transylvania-esque buildings and surrounding terrain. Haunted forests more ghost-riddled and curse-inducing than before could be one avenue, as could putrid swamps and lively graveyards where the only way that the bodies will stay in the ground is if you put them there.

Of course, the final level could be Castle Blackburn itself, with the game culminating around the titular building. You just know that there is an opportunity to incorporate the full moon into the mechanics of the gameplay, perhaps making some enemies more powerful (ahem, Werewolves) when the moon is full, as well as perhaps certain types of magic being more powerful when the big block of cheese in the sky is shining brightly.

Greatness; Inevitable

Whatever the nature of the speculation, we can be sure that Ironhide Studios are going to deliver an incredible reimagining and rebirth of the flash-based game that has captivated millions of people worldwide and deprived them of every single second of their spare time. So far, I think IronHide owe me roughly 30 lost hours of my life, though this figure grows on a daily basis. I regret nothing.