Cardboard Castle is an adventure puzzle game from Mando Productions and Advanced Mobile Applications Ltd that is available for the PS Vita through the mobile section of the PSN store.
The game sees you play the reluctant hero on horseback in a cardboard cutout medievil world. The game’s campaign mode see’s you embark upon quests that will bring you fame and fortune… and the girl, of course. These quests themselves are broken down into scenarios that you will need to navigate in order to reach your prize. Each scenario has you starting at point A and you have to reach point B intact. In order to do this you will have to navigate the various obstacles in your path while using the environment around our hero, and some tools that are at your disposal.
As this is a cardboard world you are given various tools such as scissors, matches and water that can help change the world to our hero’s advantage, and allow him to progress. Need a bridge? Then use the scissors to cut down a tree to make some wood. I don’t want to give the game away but that is just one example of how you can interact with this cardboard world in a real sense, of course an easy comparison could be made with Media Molecule’s Tearaway in the sense that you are interacting with our hero’s environment from the outside almost like a God. Each of the game’s 9 quests are broken up into 5 scenarios, so that’s 45 levels in old money, and these are all bitesize chunks that can challenge, stump and frustrate you. However it is possible to complete them in a short time once you find the answer. A level that can take 10-15 mins for you to work out, can actually take barely 1 minute to complete start to finish, but it is not what lies at the end of your journey, it is what happened along the way, and so most of your time will be spent working out how to complete each scenario.
To aid you in your quest you will have access to hints. You get 2 per level, but these are dependent on you finding small coins in each level. Again there are 2 per level but they are hidden amongst the environment, and can sometimes be missed entirely even if you get to the end of the scenario. Fortunately you can build your coins up to use the hints when you desperately need them. The hints themselves can be slightly cryptic and relate to specific parts of the scenario, so you may need to get to a certain point before the hint makes any sense. Along with the hints you get a rewind and restart function. These are a real help when you reach a dead end and cannot continue. These functions also allow a little exploration when it comes to figuring out the correct method of proceeding. If you are genuinely unsure of how to proceed, you can experiment and see if something works without any real punishment.
Controls are all touch based and require you to drag and drop items onto the relevant enemies or obstacles. It is a simple and easy system to use that suits the games slow pace and allows you to think your plan through.
Graphics are 2D side-on style and the creators have mentioned design influence from feature films Shrek and The Princess Bride. As the name of the title would suggest, all the backgrounds, enemies and characters are made out of cardboard, and it is this fundamental design that allows for the creative use of items to help in the adventure. The characters and environments look like they have been crayoned onto cardboard or paper, and then cut out to use as you see fit!
Sound is taken care of with sound effects mostly with no real background music to speak of but the sound of your environment as background noise, so birds tweeting, wind rushing, sea tides etc. The sound of our hero on horseback is enough to remind me of Monty Python’s The Holy Grail and the coconuts used for the horses!
Replayability is, unfortunately, Cardboard Castle’s biggest and in my opinion only real weakness, as there is nothing else bar the in-game trophy list to speak of to keep you playing past the last level of the campaign. This isn’t a massive problem as the campaign is vast and varied and will definitely keep you busy. It’s just a real shame that there just isn’t that much to bring you back when you’re done.
In my time with the game I have been impressed with the level design and the quick and easy control system. Cardboard Castle has quickly become one of my favourite mobile titles. It makes you think, but at a pace that allows you time to do so and allows you to make a mistake along the way. I absolutely loved it and have been left wanting more!
All in all Cardboard Castle is a unique and excellent mobile game for the Vita, It’s unique look, humour, charm and design all ensure that it is a cut (don’t groan!) above the rest!
At A Glance
- Title: Cardboard Castle
- Publisher: Advance Mobile Applications/ Mando Productions
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: N / A
- Cross Play: N / A
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 140Mb