Cardboard Castle is an enjoyable little game in which you’ll need to cleverly dodge obstacles and build bridges to clear your knight’s path as he presses onward to some awesome crusade that one can only hope does not involve violent religious persecution. To clear the brave knight’s path, you’ll need to manipulate the elements of the cardboard world in which each level is set. Chopping down a tree with a pair of scissors makes a log that you can then drag over a gap to make a bridge; spilling water on paper turns it into pulp that the sun can harden.
You’ll need to plan your moves out pretty far in advance, however: if you use your resources in the wrong order, you’ll end up stuck with no choice but to start the level over. You might think it’s a good idea to take that axe and hack the tree down to create a bridge, but what about the guard standing in the way? He’s gonna brain you. Restart, attack him with your axe first to get him out of the way, then take his axe to chop the tree down and make a bridge. As the game goes on and more and more elements are thrown in, you’ll spend just as much time plotting out your progression as you do enacting your plan—which may just involve an inflamed bull. The whole thing makes for a fun chess-style experience set against a LittleBigPlanet-themed backdrop with the Rube Goldberg-ian feel of Scribblenauts.
You’ll have to be clever and persistent, but not perfect. If you get stuck—and you will, as plenty of these levels don’t have obvious solutions and some involve a few touch mechanics you probably won’t even think to try—you can opt to buy clues with the sovereigns you’ve picked up along the way.
The game has three main campaigns, each made up of five stages with the fifth containing the “boss” at the end (scoundrels who kidnapped the princess, etc.). You won’t engage in a boss fight so much as be charged with evading a boss obstacle, but each is a fitting end to a campaign nonetheless.
After completing the third campaign, you can play around with the time trial mode, in which you see how far your knight can get before time runs out (eliminating an obstacle adds precious seconds on to the clock). It’s fun for a bit, but the heart of the game is definitely the campaign mode.
The campaign is short without a doubt, but we’re up for quality over quantity any day when it comes to gaming. It’s a perfect little snack at the perfect price.
May 11, 2011