Castle Empire is Zombie Cafe without the personality
Castle Empire on iOS (not to be confused with Ubisoft’s upcoming online strategy game, also called Castle Empire) is essentially Zombie Cafe with less personality. You build a restaurant and attack your rivals and that’s about all there is to it. It’s not as engaging as its inspiration, either in terms of gameplay or presentation, and it doesn’t offer anything significantly unique, either. Castle Empire is just yet another restaurant game with a half-hearted attempt at being kooky and strange.
So the game takes place in a castle, which is also a restaurant for some reason. There isn’t any explanation as to why, nor is it ever explained why both your employees and your customers consist of horror movie creatures like skeletons and mummies. It’s just the way it is. Despite the lack of a set-up it’s still pretty easy to get into Castle Empire. But that’s only because the game is entirely unoriginal.
To make a meal you simply tap on a stove, pick a recipe, pay some money, and then wait. Once it’s ready you’ll have a number of servings to deliver to paying customers, which earns you more money to further imrpove your castle cafe. Customers will come in and you’ll need employees to serve them (you can inexplicably hire any customer who comes in to the restaurant) and as you earn experience and gold more recipes, items, and employees will be available. There’s a quest system to guide you along, though even early on we found ourselves without any quests at all quite regularly.
The only slightly unique feature to the restaurant management is the inclusion of entertainment items like TVs or arcade machines. But these work just like cooking. You can purchase a certain game or show, which is then good for a certain number of “servings.” It’s kind of a neat twist, but it would’ve been much better if it actually switched up the gameplay.
The combat, meanwhile, is entirely without challenge or strategy. Basically, you’re able to send out your employees to do battle with nearby restaurants. But all you do is select who you want to go into battle and then tell them to fight. They then duke it out with your enemies until one team has been defeated. But there’s nothing to make it even feel remotely tactical. So long as you’re attacking someone of the same or lesser experience level and all of your monsters are healed up prior to battle, you’re pretty much guaranteed to win. There are weapons and spells later on, but they don’t add much. This makes the combat more of a boring way to make extra cash than a cool added feature.
If you haven’t played Zombie Cafe then Castle Empire might feel slightly original. But if that’s the case you should probably just go ahead and start playing Zombie Cafe. Though not deep by any stretch, it still offers more engaging gameplay than Castle Empire and a much improved presentation. At first you may wonder just why your restuarant is in a castle filled with monsters, but eventually you’ll just wonder why Castle Empire even exists at all.