Game Description: Sandcastle tosses you in the position of controlling your own fort on the beach, whereas you have to protect your castle from swarms of enemy ships. Your castle can fire such projectiles like bars of soap and tennis balls, even neater things, such as Banana Rockets that split into multiple fragments upon impact causing devastating damage all around the initial blow! Sandcastle will take you through seven exciting, pirate-tastic, levels; you must sink all of the ships per level to win! With every different weapon that you choose to utilize your tower/castle will transform!

Sandcastle

This was a fairly easy game – in actuality, I don’t think that you could of died in this game. Simply said, you were invincible, the enemy ships, after I had realized that became more of a “just for show” kind of thing, whereas I felt no immediate threat from the pirates and other groups, as opposed to if they were dangerous and if my castle was destroyable, instead of how it is currently, practically, invincible, then I would be more frantic and the game would hold a more appealing feel to it as I could have felt as though I had to actually fight. As of right now, the ships apparently did no damage at all to your castle. Throughout the game I was searching for my castle’s health bar, but failed to find one. So here is this magnificent, superb game and idea, but no way that you could possibly die. That kind of killed the appeal for the game. Now you can “chilax” while the cannonballs are being fired at you. Are you serious? I would have loved for the developer to incorporate a health system. Just because the general public loves easy games, doesn’t mean that you have to give them a game that they cannot simply lose at. Add in ways for your castle to crumble apart – have larger cannonballs do more damage then smaller ones. Any sort of health system for your castle would be a huge plus for this game. Moving on, what I also found shocking, was that the pirates, or other group’s aim sucked, literally. If the castle did have some sort of health system and hit detection, the castle, unprotected would only be hit a couple of times every five minutes, even if the enemy had fired of 100 shots. A majority of those shots are going to be misfires. Even more entertaining than watching a bunch of pirates hit a hundred yards off from your tower is watching them kill off themselves. This just goes to show how bad their aim is – when you can watch your enemies obliterate themselves into pieces until they sink one another, you know that the AI is a bit off, no, not a bit, a lot!

It also seemed to me that the weapons were a bit hypocritical of themselves. You can buy a bar of soap for 20 gold pieces, not too bad, but the the Banana Rockets could kill off a swarm of those ships in half the time it would take a bar of soap to take car of them and better yet the Banana Rockets were a shocking eight gold pieces! Besides, the larger your weaponry, not only do you have a better chance to hit your enemy, the enemy has a better change of knocking your projectiles away. Therefore, the Banana Rockets are the most logical choice, as they were a decent size and frankly did a ton a damage if you hit a swarm of boats. Overall, the Banana Rockets definitely won my vote for the best projectile if you really want to get rid of those nasty ships fast! What I would have liked to see in a game such as this, is that this game is already in such a high caliber, it is amazing, sure it has its flaws, but I would have liked for there to be more variety as you continue through the game. It felt as though I was replaying the same levels over and over and over again. I was hoping for level seven to hold something in store for me. Maybe some giant ship firing simultaneously several or more cannonballs at my direction. Yet this fantasy would not have come true, I knew that for a fact before I even went into the seventh battle because your castle had no health system whatsoever! Since the game lacked this health system it held back the game from a lot of potential and I truly do mean a lot, this game could expand in a million directions and the only thing stopping that from happening is the lack of such a health system. A feature that I would have loved to have seen implemented is that when the ships capsize, you could be able to capitalize on making ships do so, so that when they are capsized that they slowly lose health over time. I often found ships lying underneath the water, practically, thus making it quiet hard to hit them from any angle. Therefore I propose the idea that they lose a small fraction of their health during their time underneath the vicious sea. If there is a new version of the game coming out any time soon, I would definitely love for that feature to be added, but more importantly I would like to see the AI bettered. Like I had previous mentioned I often found the enemies killing one another off on accidental misfires. Enemy ships also had terrible aim as I had just proven. I think the most important feature that I wish for the developer to add is a health system for his or her game. There is so much that can be added to this game, but simply can’t because there is no challenge as of right now, adding a health system for the castle would open so many doors.

Sandcastle

One of the best factors of Sandcastle has to be its art, it’s superb and has a nice style to it. I love the bold colors that the artist has used in the sand/ground of the piece as well as in the surrounding elements, such as the ships, the very water that they bop up and down in, the seaweed, as well as other shrubs and the mountainous terrain in the background. As cartoony looking as the game was, the artist used a lot of small details to make a wondrous environment for the game. Take for example the seaweed and shrubs, how dull would the ocean floor look without them right? The fist were also a nice touch to the game. It made the whole scene fifty times more realistic when you can associate something that people would think of when they hear the word “ocean.” The fish also gave the game the lively, active feel to whole scene – there was always something going on and the school of fish boosted that feeling as they darted around the ocean. One of my favorites part about the art is how the artist payed close attention to detail. What I really liked about what the artist did, was that he or she incorporated a kind of water splash whenever the projectile hit the water. It was beautiful seeing that and it really gave you the feeling that you were actually shooting into the water. Although, what was even more convincing to the mind that it was water than the splashes, was the wavy animation. It looked as close to real water as you can get when doing a cartoon styled game and not breaking away from the look of everything around it. To me it looked like the water was built upon three layers, one dark blue, another medium blue and a third, in the back, a lighter blue that almost blended in with the mountains in the background. All three layers would wave up and down at almost random times crating the perfect wave effect. It was magnificent. What I would have loved for the water to do, is to make the ships bob up and down, such as you’d see in real life. The ship design was well done, they were simple and clean, perfect for the style of the game. The mountainous background was impressive. I loved the overlapping look of it and how it was colored a bluish color, which worked well with the water. I also adored the animation of the castle as you swapped weapons. Overall, the art was fantastic.

The music was well done, it was really high-sea/”actiony” kind of style, which was perfect for this type of game as you were literally fighting right off the coast (it reminds me of the first Pirates of the Caribbean, where the city is attack an they fire cannons from high atop the walls, attacking the intruders, it’s towards the beginning of the movie I believe.). I liked the flute solo (flute, right?) as well as the rest of the song, it was beautiful! The music piece is actually by MashedByMachines, which you can find on Newgrounds. Be sure to check him/her music out! Sound effects were also used wisely. There was a sound effect or just about everything the game necessarily needed a sound effect for. The sound effects covered such things as the cannons being fired from your tower, which, there were actually several sound effects for, depending on which projectile you were firing. The cannonball, as I like to call, it was generally referred to as “Stone” in the game produced a softer, lighter sound while other heavier projectiles, such as the bar of soap, or the pencils made a louder sound when fired. In addition, there was another sound effect for when the projectile made contact with the enemy ships, as expected. Overall, the sounds were magnificent, especially the music!

The difficulty ramp was pretty non-existent if you ask me. Like I had previously mentioned, earlier in this post, it felt as though you were playing the same levels or level over and over and over again, you only get that feeling when you are not be challenged enough, thus making you feel though no progress is being made. i would have liked for the levels to continuously become harder and harder, but there was always one, small, little problem in the way. What is that problem you ask? I’ll tell you, there was no health system for your castle. “I went through the entire game without taking any damage!” is what I was going to boast! :D; but seriously, since there was no health system, it indefinitely made the game dull and boring in the long-run as there was no challenge. This is what I was talking about when  said, that since there was no health system for this game that it closed a lot of doors, bursting with opportunity and potential for this game. Sandcastle could actually have been a fairly decent game if there was a little challenge every once in a while.

The replay value was also lying low. After you’ve beaten the game, there is a very small chance that you’ll actually want to come back to the game. I’m not saying that because the game is boring, but instead, the game just loses its charm over time. This is mainly due to the difficulty staying the same throughout the entire game in my mind. When you aren’t challenged than there is no reason to continue – it’s too easy to bother yourself with another run through the game. There was also no real reason to continue/finish the game simply because there was nothing there to push you. For one the last level kind of bummed me out, I was hoping for some huge boss battle, but atlas that didn’t come simply because there was no real health system for your castle. I would have liked for a health system to be implemented, then there would be some level or replay value as the game would appear more appealing. I would have liked some sort of system to be established, such as an actual high-scores board and not just one for time, which was obviously hacked by a couple of people (most of the scores look legit to me).

In conclusion, Sandcastle, was an excellent game that had a couple of major flaws, but still held an addictive action-packed feel to it. The game was really, extremely short, was it was a fun 20 minutes. In review, the difficulty was kind of messed up, literally. There was no health system for your castle, this making you invincible towards any threat that comes your way. In addition, the difficulty ramp also suffered from the lack of this health system as each level played almost identical to the last one. The art was superb, I loved the look of everything in the game and how the artist used simple, bold colors to illustrate such an amazing world. In addition, the music was wondrous and it fit right in with the setting of the game. Finally, the replay value was a bit low, there was really nothing to bring a user back to the game. All in all, Sandcastle, had a lot of flaws, but it was fun whirl it lasted.

Play Sandcastle on Armor Games