It’s so good to be bad
Labelling Castle Doombad as a tower defense game is simultaneously accurate and erroneous. On one hand, you’re certainly defending a tower. On the other hand, it’s not the well-being of the tower that ultimately matters. The real point of Castle Doombad is to protect its most precious cargo, its princess, from being rescued by meddling heroes.
The awesomely-named Dr. Lord Evilstein has spirited away a generic princess and imprisoned her in his tower. Now he’s being harassed by dozens of generic warriors that want to get her back. Dr. Lord Evilstein is safe in the uppermost floors of his tower, but if the princess is rescued and whisked outside his domain, he’s finished.
Castle Doombad is a tower defense game, but it has a few personality quirks that separate it from the gargantuan herd that already roams the App Store. Playing as a bad guy is just one difference, and it’s admittedly a hoot. Who doesn’t want to command a tower full of devious traps and evil minions?
More importantly, you’re able to mix and match traps, which truly lets you customize your play style. Your choices are auto traps, manual traps, and minions. Auto traps are traditional tower defense fare like spike floors and arrow launchers, though you can also opt for ceiling hazards like acid-drippers and alien tentacles. Manual traps, like a huge weight that drops from the ceiling, pack a powerful punch, but need to be activated manually and come with a long cooldown.
Minions, including an adorable devil-dog, automatically fling themselves at invaders and chomp on their ankles (or blow themselves up). Minions’ main strength is that they can be placed anywhere there’s a solid surface, including on top of other traps.
Typical of a tower defense game, Castle Doombad lets you upgrade and unlock new traps and weapons as you beat back the heroes and earn coins. You also earn a big coin bonus if the princess is never captured, which makes it possible to buy higher-end weapons. You never feel like you’re being strong-armed into buying in-game currency; a little smart playing should supply all the gold you need.
Castle Doombad‘s lively graphics also help make it a tower defense game worth remembering. There’s a huge array of heroes that are out to get you, and each one carries a distinct look and are well-animated. You’ll go up against archers, ninjas (which are adept at dodging your floor traps), knights, commandos, and unicorn-riding “sexy heroes.” The game is slightly ridiculous and very self-aware.
Alas, there is a point when a clean interface is exchanged for the sake of a joke. If you try and put a trap on top of another trap (or put it at the top of a ladder), Dr. Lord Evilstein will berate you in a text box that obstructs your view. It’s a pretty awful occurrence when your tower is crawling with heroes that are seconds away from carrying the princess out the door.
With any luck, a future update will help Dr. Lord Evilstein find some tolerance for your mistakes, and Castle Doombad will go on being a lively and fun tower defense game that contributes some interesting ideas to the genre.