Zynga’s CastleVille Legends takes you on a magical journey of old school price charming and his fantasy quests. While the overall structure and gameplay is pretty similar to that of other Zynga games, nevertheless CastleVille Legends comes with some unique features of its own. It’s worth mentioning that I managed to get till level 16 of the game while doing this review. Although we requested Zynga for a special access pass but I guess our offer fell on deaf ears. Anyways, all the content of our review will be based on the sole experience of our gameplay till level 16. If you are willing to spend a chunk of cash then you can probably go till level 30+ but I guess the overall concept of progressing is pretty similar after a few stages. Let’s get started with our review of Zynga’s CastleVille Legends for iPad.
You are the king of a region filled with mystic wonders and long lost heroes. It’s up to you to retrieve them, expand your empire and unlock new areas throughout the game. When you start CastleVille Legends for the first time you will get 2 heroes that help you build the foundation of the empire. Each hero is featured with their unique hut that can be used to generate new items of the game. For example, Raphel produces axes for 6 gold coins that can be used to chop down nearby trees and collect wood. As you expand you need to buy buildings, produce new goods, sell goods in the marketplace and earn more gold coins for the empire. With CastleVille Legends Zynga also introduced a new trading feature that allows you to sell produced items on the worldwide marketplace. You can buy goods from the marketplace as well and sometimes it’s just handy when you have loads of coins.
CastleVille Legends is made from ground up with the freemium concept in mind. After playing the game for an hour or so you will soon realize that you need spend real money and buy “crowns” in order to progress faster. I will talk a lot more about crowns in the in-game economy section. The only thing that separates To be honest CastleVille Legends is not a revolutionary new game from Zynga, a company that’s struggling to keep up with their initial hype after the IPO. Sometimes the game simply feels exactly like Farmville nested with a new theme.
Wonders, Buildings & Crafting
I really liked the new crafting structure inside CastleVille Legends. It reminded me of a PC game called Anno 2070 that I played a few months back. When you start expanding the empire to new regions you will gain XP through blue stars. These XP points are used to upgrade your in-game level. Once you upgrade to a new level you will unlock new buildings, cultivation and other decoration items for your empire. These buildings are brilliantly interconnected to each other and you need to manage your produce wisely in order to craft the high quality rare items. For example, you need to tap on a flowing steam of river to collect a bunch of water droplets and place them on your Oat fields in order to produce Oats. Producing each item takes time and the rarer ones can take hours to complete. If you are serious about progressing in CastleVille Legends then you need to develop some patience and a regular schedule.
When you reach higher levels you will see find yourself tacking with 3-4 crop types and several buildings in order to produce that blueberry bar or Cheese Omlet. Rarer items can be traded for hundreds to thousands of dollars in your market. You can then use your ship to trade those extra items for more gold coins. I mean, if you play your cards right then making money inside CastleVille Legends is a lot easier that most of the other Zynga games out there. Ships take 2 hours to complete each journey but you can use your precious crowns to fast forward this action. Collecting huge piles of gold from goods bought by other players feel increasingly satisfying. Once you have enough gold you can expand your region by purchasing nearby land blocks and unlock new characters for more items.
Wonders, Heroes & Quests in CastleVille Legends
The most interesting part about CastleVille Legends is the ability to send your heroes to special location. Sending these characters require a specific set of products like torches, ladders etc. which needs to be created from several buildings. Once they complete each exploration you will be rewarded with a huge chunk of XP as well as rare items for the empire. When you are selecting any hero for his/her exploration quest you can take a look at the time required to complete the adventure, the chances for finding each of these rare products.
Often you will see that the only thing the hero returns with is XP and nothing else. This is very frustrating especially when you waste 4-8 hours sending 2 heroes to find these treasures apart from just XP count. Please keep in mind that you need to buy additional land and unlock all the wonders throughout CastleVille Legends by progressing through your levels. This means even if you own a nearby land you can only get access to these special areas at certain levels unless you are ready to spend hundreds of crowns and skip the whole process.
Apart from exploration of different wonders your heroes will serve you with a series of quests that you need to complete in order to gain XP in CastleVille Legends. These quests provide you a purpose and a vision for expanding the empire. Think of them as missions which can be as simple as setting up a cow pasture to producing 2 plates of blueberry tarts.
CastleVille Legends in-game economy
If there is one thing that Zynga excels in the world of online gaming it has to be the way they fuse the in-game economy with the urge of the gamer to buy more stuff using real cash. CastleVille Legends is no different and it’s powered with a solid 3 step in-game economy. Firstly, you have gold coins that are fairly easy to earn. Coins can be earned by trading goods in your marketplace, selling bulk goods through ships (to other players) as well as by finding hidden treasure chests throughout the region.
Secondly, you have crowns that really define the pace of your game. Crowns are used to fast forward each and every action throughout CastleVille Legends. Whether you are constructing a new building, making a cheese, waiting for an exploration to complete and even refreshing the items in the market, Crowns come to your rescue. As a matter of fact I think that the 50 crowns that you start with will be finished in no time just because you want to find out what’s next inside the game. Last but not the least we have another in-game currency called marbles which I couldn’t figure out much. Maybe it’s because I am in level 16 and they are stored for later stuff. Whatever the case may be, you need real cash to enjoy the game to its full potential.
Graphics & Sound
Nothing much can be said about the graphics of CastleVille Legends. It’s typical 3Dish 2D strategy camera where you need to compete all your actions including interactive gestures. I love how they did the animations of chopping a tress as well as those butterflies flying throughout your kingdom. The heroes and special regions really stand out from the rest of the map giving you a feel that something special is waiting for you once you unlock the tile. The sound is perfect where you have a melodious monarch siren like audio playing in the background with loads of sound effects for every little interaction you make in the game.
CastleVille Legends is a great game for someone looking to devote few minutes of their life every single day and expand their empire to something spectacular. It’s not a game where you can finish things from point A to B and move to C to finally complete the journey. It’s an ongoing social strategy adventure that needs time and patience. Unless you are ready to invest at least 50-100 dollars of real world money I highly doubt whether you will enjoy waiting for things to get over for every little action that you perform. I feel that they should have been a little liberal with the timings. You can’t always open your iPad every 3 minutes to stock up on cheese or butter you know. Give this a try if you got time to build things for months.
Price – Free
Gameplay – (7/10)
Concept – (6/10)
Graphics & Sound – (8/10)
Final Score – (7/10)