Sunday, January 7, 2018

Review: Moorhuhn Knights & Castles [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Slowly but surely as the Switch is catching on with everyone we’re seeing a migration of ports from the mobile space. These range in quality and appropriateness for a dedicated gaming console but they do offer variety to the system and address casual gamers who may otherwise feel left out. Moorhuhn Knights & Castles is very much in this vein, offering a pretty straight-forward port of a game already available on mobile platforms that’s of reasonable quality.

There are two essential elements to the game, and the first is building up your castle and defenses. As you level up you’ll be able to continue to add more elements to it, as well as strengthen them, but in general you’ll be looking to create a defensive shell for your throne room and perhaps for your weapon emplacements to make them more difficult to take out. The other element has to do with combat and making use of your cannons, catapults, and eventually more sophisticated options. Very reminiscent of games like Angry Birds you’ll be choosing the angle and velocity of your shots and the goal is to try to either take out the enemy throne room or render them defenseless by taking out each of their offensive weapons.

In general, as you progress through levels and try to gain stars for completing them quickly, none of this is terribly difficult and roughly plays out to a formula. You’ll play through a group of levels, not really concerning yourself with your “score”, trying to hit bonus money that is often around the level and survive. Once you level up a bit you can then upgrade your weapons and defenses and then go back to previous levels to often wreck them completely and get your 3 stars since your weapons now punch a lot harder. Certainly as you get further into the game you may need to change the configuration of your castle to reinforce for bombardment coming more from above or below but in general the above formula is a reasonable guarantee of success, you just may need to grind a bit to get more gold and experience to accomplish your goals.

Getting into the flaws I’d say the main one is that though I may not have played a game to this point with this specific combination of elements it all feels extremely familiar and even a bit dull to a degree. There is certainly an element of strategy to how you lay out your defenses and weapons and to be efficient in knocking out the other castle you’ll need a degree of skill but in general there’s nothing that absolutely stands out here as revolutionary. Though the controller is supported for docked mode I wouldn’t recommend it, the buttons you’ll need to use are a bit on the confusing side for navigating the menus and making choices, handheld mode and use of the touchscreen are obviously a far better and more intuitive choice. With all of this in mind the real crippler for this game on the Switch is its initial asking price. Even removing the fact that roughly the same game is available on mobile platforms for a far lower price just in general for the game you’re getting on Switch it’s simply too high. That makes recommending it more complicated on launch.

All said Moorhuhn Knights & Castles isn’t so much bad as it is a bit vanilla and it further hurts itself with its initial price of $30 on the eShop. If you enjoy casual games like Angry Birds there’s an added dimension it brings to the table which is worthwhile and it is certainly unique on the Switch. There is a promise of multiplayer support being added, and perhaps that will help further justify a purchase, but I think that would better address its cost than suddenly make it a more compelling buy for the average Switch fan. It does a fine job of executing what it is, how interesting that may be to you will be your own call.

Score: 5.5

  • A mix of strategy and physics-based shooting
  • A campaign of 36 progressively more challenging scenarios to fight and survive in
  • Promised multiplayer support sounds promising, and could further justify the asking price

  • For now only single-player
  • Considering the game in its current state the asking price is high
  • Though it does add some variations in general the gameplay is a bit bland, though multiplayer could certainly help address that